If you had to move some oats from your farm near Tuffnell, would you drive it by direct route, then put it through a pipe (an auger) to deliver it? Or would you haul it in the exact opposite direction, take a five-gallon pail of those oats, put it on a canoe, and row it through Fishing Lake, a flood canal, to Stoney Lake, through a culvert, and Pelican Lake before getting to the same community pasture?
If it sounds like the long way around, that’s because it is, and Saskatchewan YouTube commentator Quick Dick McDick wants to know why we’re doing that with Western Canadian oil.
That’s the question Quick Dick McDick asked in his weekly video, released on July 13, which referred to the defunct Energy East Pipeline.
Recently Alberta oil shipments started flowing through the Trans Mountain Pipeline, to Burnaby, B.C., where they were loaded on a tanker, and sent via the Panama Canal to the Irving refinery at Saint John, N.B. If the Energy East Pipeline had been built, it would be a straight shot to Saint John.
McDick spent 19 years working in the oilpatch before returning home to Tuffnell, where he now works as a farmhand. His weekly diatribes since the beginning of the year have taken on everything from the carbon tax to fencelines.
This week’s video is called, Energy East … Kind Of.
Reached by phone on July 13, Quick Dick McDick, who prefers to keep his real name anonymous, said, “Energy affects all of us, right? And we try and do what we can here on the farm to use Canadian petroleum products, right?”
He noted the problems in the Alberta and Saskatchewan oilpatch, saying, “You hear about these problems that you're about people, you know, saying, ‘Oh, well, the reason that we bring in oil from Saudi and all these other places is it's cheaper.’”
McDick said Irving Oil, operator of the Saint John refinery, is trying to use Western Canadian oil. “They had to apply for a special permit to get this ship to come around the Panama Canal, to bring up a load of Alberta crude. How backwards are we making our world here?”
“It's just baffling to me.”
He noted that people were put to work, building fencelines in community pastures during the 1930s Depression. He wonders why that couldn’t that happen with a pipeline to the East Coast?
“How is it any different if we put people to work building the 1,600 kilometres of pipeline that are needed to complete this, right?” he asked. “We’re all sitting on Trudeau bucks.
“There’s still people that are sitting around that don't have any work because Trudeau completely bastardized our oil and gas industry. And we're just gonna continue to pay people on CERB and unemployment, and a bunch of these other programs instead of actually getting something out of our federal tax dollars, like leaving that 1,600 kilometers of pipeline?
“And how convenient was it last fall, when everybody in the our favorite province there that was having a hard time drying their grain and was begging for oil and gas products from Alberta to come to them by train and truck, the same people that had their hands in the cookie jar trying to get this pipeline shut down?
“How backwards are we running our country right now? I'd say about as far bass backwards in the wrong direction you could possibly get, in my personal opinion. And I asked a few people about this and what their opinion was, and over 90 per cent of the people that I asked in my local neck of the woods here, had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. And I was like, okay, I'm gonna make a video on this, right?”
Minister of Energy and Resources Bronwyn Eyre commented on the current use of tankers through the Panama Canal to get Alberta oil from the West Coast to the East Coast. Eyre said at the time, “You can’t make this up. It sounds like good satire, except it actually isn't satire, which is the tragic thing about it.”
Eyre noted there would have to be a decision by the proponent, TC Energy, to undertake it again, but she gets the sense there isn’t a great deal of appetite to do so. Opposition to pipelines, particularly in Quebec, “is a huge factor.”
“The political view there is, as we know, pretty anti-pipeline, and pretty anti-Western Canadian energy. And that is such an enormous hurdle, with Energy East, because of their obvious placement in the middle of the pipeline route.”