Sutherland: We need less hypocrisy and more pipelines

There was a time when a pipeline was cause for celebration not demonization. A pipeline is an efficient way to transfer oil and gas to a modern market that has grown very fond of central heating for their homes, and fuel for their cars.

The 21st century has thrown many curveballs at pipelines in Canada because of well-funded anti-oil movements likes Tides Canada; an organization with ultra-wealthy and meddlesome foreign funders based in the United States.

Presumably the professional protesters arrive at a protest on wooden oxcarts pulled by large team animals so they do not infringe on the natural world, but the reality is, most of these hypocrites enjoy the same creature comforts as the rest of us.

In reality, the eco warriors take combustion engine-driven transportation to the protest, and use communication devices made with petroleum-based products to send out selfies at the aforementioned protest.

Baby it’s cold outside, and every Canadian with access to non-renewable energy products should be grateful their winter survival is ensured by the turn of a thermostat in their homes. However, Albertans do not have to be grateful for an impending New Year’s Day carbon tax on essentials like their energy bills during very tough economic times. Anger is a more appropriate response.

Eventually, but most certainly not in the near future, there will be a shift to efficient renewable energy sources through innovation, not expensive green programs, that are simply a parasite-infested money pit with heavy government funding.

The battle for new oil pipelines has begun for Premier Notley and she faces the biggest battle of her leadership on this front. Her socialist party’s national brand of NDP wants to adopt the oil-hating leap manifesto, while her provincial NDP comrades in B.C. want to tap into the left coast voters with an aggressive anti-pipeline platform.

Notley attempted to soften up the B.C. pipeline protesters when she introduced a heavy-handed carbon tax here in Alberta as a sign of good faith. It is an effort in futility on her part because there is zero compromise for these people. Their fundamental goal is to leave oil and gas in the ground.

Notley has enjoyed little support on the B.C .side of the Alberta border, and her game plan also fired up numerous anti-carbon tax protest rallies all over Alberta. Unfortunately, the anti-Notley chants have garnered more press than the vastly more important anti-carbon tax reason for the protests.

Life as a public official is not for the thin-skinned because a politician is a lightning rod for any contentious issue on their watch. The direction of an NDP government in a free-enterprise province like Alberta have produced plenty of fireworks since almost 60 per cent of the voters did not vote NDP.

Premier Notley has been under fire since the earliest days of her unlikely 2015 election victory and must feel like she is on a political island these days. Professional pipeline protesters in B.C., and anti-NDP protesters in Alberta, have common ground because neither group feel she is acting in their best interests.

The major difference is one group of protesters only wants part-time employment at the occasional anti-pipeline rally while the other group simply wants full-time employment in a healthy economy where they would have no time or reason to attend a protest rally.

Jim Sutherland lives in Red Deer.

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