Opinion: Environmentalists spring a leak on pipeline opposition

Environmentalists often show little restraint in pursuit of their self-appointed cause, whether it’s by hanging banners from the Calgary Tower and other iconic structures, or by putting marine traffic at risk with reckless manoeuvres.

Such silliness exposes themselves, and first responders, to risk, of course, but it is a tempting substitute for thoughtful conversation and reason. Why try to advance a compelling argument when you can rappel down a big building in an effort to make your point.

A coalition of 32 environmental and Indigenous groups has moved beyond such questionable theatrics, however. They are lobbying insurers to refuse to underwrite the Trans Mountain pipeline in hopes the federal government will have to carry the risks of a spill itself.

It’s one thing for such groups to accept the money of American foundations dedicated to landlocking Canadian oil, so we have no other customers for our energy, and are forced to sell it at a discount.

It is quite another thing, however, to attempt to prevent a legitimate business from buying the insurance any prudent owner would take out to protect a valuable asset. Most people recognize safeguarding against an unlikely risk is better than the alternative of being caught with no insurance at all.

Yet pipeline opponents apparently believe it’s in Canadians’ best interest that a major piece of national infrastructure should be uninsured.

It wouldn’t be Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who would have to dig into his pocket to make reparations after an improbable spill. The cost would fall on ordinary working Canadians, the type of people who upgrade insulation to make our homes more energy efficient, and health-care workers who help us live fulfilling lives.

How would burdening Canadians with the risk of a spill be a good outcome?

Or do the groups imagine Trudeau is suddenly going to stop making decisions he believes to be in the best national interest?

Do they think the decisions of duly elected officials should be supplanted by well-paid, well-connected troublemakers with nothing better to do than interfere with the functioning of essential facilities?

It’s difficult, of course, to know what gets in these people’s heads.

They would prefer Canadians impacted by an unlikely oil spill have no redress but the public purse; that there be no contingency for an accident.

They might as well appeal to insurers to stop providing coverage to airlines because of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with their industry. If a jet were to crash, well, tough luck to the families of those killed or injured.

If the coalition was ambitious, it could lobby to prevent insurance coverage for automobiles, a leading source of greenhouse gases. Then, if any collisions occurred, it would be up to the drivers to deal with the consequences.

That would teach the passengers of airlines and automobiles a lesson.

The voices of those who care passionately about our planet and offer practical solutions to protect our environment deserve to be heard. They offer important input.

But on this effort, this coalition is not only out to lunch, it shows no appetite for common sense.

David Marsden is managing editor of the Red Deer Advocate.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dashcam captures hair-raising near miss on Highway 2

Paramedic says his emergency driving training kicked in to avoid collision

Updated: Red Deer mourns loss of philanthropist Gary W. Harris

Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre stands as lasting legacy to businessman’s generosity

Skip The Dishes launches alcohol delivery in 3 Alberta cities

Some Alberta residents can now get their beer and wine delivered through… Continue reading

UPDATE: Road clear following three-vehicle collision near Sylvan Lake

Police say there was a “serious collision” near Sylvan Lake Wednesday afternoon.… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Feb. 19 A Liberation of Holland event is being held at the… Continue reading

David Marsden: Hospital unfairness makes me ill

The provincial government clearly isn’t without money. If it was, it wouldn’t… Continue reading

Pastrnak scores overtime winner, Bruins edge Oilers 2-1

Bruins 2 Oilers 1 (OT) EDMONTON — The Boston Bruins have proven… Continue reading

P.E.I.’s Birt through to championship round at Tournament of Hearts

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — Suzanne Birt reached the championship round at the… Continue reading

Teachers focusing on innovations at Red Deer convention

More than 1,750 delegates are attending the Central Alberta Teachers’ Convention. The… Continue reading

Passengers leave ship docked off Japan after quarantine ends

YOKOHAMA, Japan — About 500 passengers left the cruise ship Diamond Princess… Continue reading

Quebec premier calls for federal ultimatum to end rail blockades within days

OTTAWA — Quebec’s premier says he wants Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to… Continue reading

Canada’s laws don’t apply to chiefs who oppose pipeline

Re: “Blame the chaos on Trudeau,” David Marsden, Opinion, Feb. 15. I… Continue reading

Most Read