Oil is overrated


Open letter to Yukon Senator Daniel Lang:

I read your piece in Wednesday’s Yukon News, and I still cannot get over how you only refer to the environment once and in such a way as if it is merely an impediment to building those delightful, safe pipelines.

You know something? They can leak. (You only refer to Enbridge as the supplier of a much needed Line 9 travelling through prime agricultural land in Ontario – despite the fact that the Kalamazoo River is not yet clear of oil despite hundreds of millions of dollars of cleanup.)

So the benefit of all this, is transforming Canada into the oil superpower that will give us all access to a higher standard of living – based on what measure? Greater access to bigger wide-screen TVs?

In my world, a good standard of living relates to having clean air, fresh water and the hope of a good future for my children even unto seven generations, as the Bible says, as well as being able to drive my car into town, and occasional treats such as trips. I admit that I am no survivalist.

You accompany your remarks with threats of withdrawing social services if our oil and gas resources are not developed. That is false dichotomy, as there is lots of information out there that indicates that there will be plenty of jobs if we invest in renewable resources and keep the economy diversified rather than running after developing oil and gas where the jobs are likely to be short term and with tremendous environmental consequences.

You also speak of the need for labour mobility. With the Conservative government allowing in all these temporary foreign workers and foreign, especially Chinese, oil companies with appalling human rights and environmental records, with crappy revenue arrangements for our governments, on what basis do you feel able to promise well-paying jobs and significant revenue to local people anyway? We sure ain’t Norway in terms of royalty regimes or protection.

It would have been nice to believe that our representatives could be on the side of safeguarding Canada’s environment, as it seems obvious that is more important in the long-term than some short-lived extra money for the few, with a huge long-term consequences for our already beleaguered planet.

Pitting the environment against the economy is actually bad business. Since I assume that you are among the few who actually benefit from the bad business, I look forward to the day when it becomes bad enough politics that even people like you do something different.

I too hope for a secure future for Canada. So I send my prayers that you can take on board the reality of the situation we are dealing with, rather than fall for your own party or industry spins that leave out many very important facts. We need evidence-based decision making for Canadians, not narratives of the Conservative party’s desire to manifest wealth for its buddies.

Susan Gwynne-Timothy

Marsh Lake

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

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate members Bill Bennett, community engagement coordinator and Mobile Therapeutic Unit team lead, left, and Katherine Alexander, director of policy and analytics, speak to the News about the Mobile Therapeutic Unit that will provide education and health support to students in the communities. (yfned.ca)
Mobile Therapeutic Unit will bring education, health support to Indigenous rural students

The mobile unit will begin travelling to communities in the coming weeks

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, speak during a live stream in Whitehorse on January 20, about the new swish and gargle COVID-19 tests. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Swish and spit COVID-19 test now available in Yukon

Vaccination efforts continue in Whitehorse and smaller communities in the territory

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Most Read