Right in the centre - Christmas is a good time to call out to God


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

Idon’t know if I have ever been so upset about a topic in all my years of writing a column. Canada, and especially western Canada, is getting a very raw deal. The federal government’s ill-planned treatment of our oil industry is scandalous.

The Trudeau Liberals have done every thing they can to kill off the oil industry, especially the western Canadian oil industry. They have made pipelines difficult, if not impossible, to build. They, and possibly previous governments as well, did not step up and make the pipelines happen.

Now, we are still dependent on Saudi Arabian oil when it is becoming increasingly obvious that relations with that country aren’t a very pleasant experience.

The cruel irony about Saudi Arabia is that it’s opposed to almost everything our Trudeau Liberal government would pledge to support. Abuse of women’s rights and rule of law, corporal and capital punishment are reported to be rampant in Saudi Arabia. Don’t forget that the 9/11 suicide bombers were reported to be from that country as well.

The opposition to our oil is supposedly based on the idea that Canadian oil is dirty. Have you noticed that oil sands are now called tar sands, a much less appealing term? There is no doubt that burning oil causes some air pollution, especially if the motors aren’t properly tuned up. 

But here’s the deal, Canadian oil has been given a bad name, not because it is dirty or of poor quality. It has been given a bad name because there are many U.S. lobby groups that want to protect the American markets and some who want to keep Arabian oil flowing by ship to the eastern side of the continent.

And here’s another deal, there may well be a day when oil becomes out-dated or obsolete. There may come a day when electric cars become practical. The only place electric cars make sense now is where the trips are short. Electric transport trucks and long distance electric cars not only don’t make any economic sense, they don’t exist. There are some electric buses and they were actually in use in Winnipeg decades ago.

How long will it be before oil can be replaced? I don’t know and neither does anybody else. The environmentalists and liberal-minded folks can chat all they want about putting a price on pollution and saving energy and a whole lot of other things. The truth is oil is still the backbone of our energy economy, of our agricultural (food), mining, manufacturing and our transportation economies. Electric vehicles, solar energy, wind energy are all wonderful concepts and may be the way of the future. If they become economically feasible, I am all for it. Economically feasible means operating without huge subsidies, like the money that has been poured into wind and solar energy.

Just as a side note, can you imagine anything as dumb as Manitoba Hydro spending many millions of dollars to convince people to use less Hydro? Should it not be self-evident that if people want to save on their electric bills, they can turn down the thermostat, install more insulation or  upgrade doors and windows? If the government needs to help people to do those things when they can’t afford it on their own, then it needs to be done under a separate program geared to low income people. Manitoba Hydro is not the correct place to implement those initiatives.

Until the alternatives to oil become viable, we need to encourage our oil industry, not choke it. Canadians are being led down a very divisive path right now and it should be no surprise that there are rumblings about western alienation and possible separation. May God help us and preserve our country.

Disclaimer: The writer serves as a volunteer president of the Manitoba Community Newspaper Association. The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being  the view of the MCNA board or Banner & Press staff.