Vancouver Sun series “How the Conservatives’ brief love affair with environmentalism came to an ugly end” describes the reversal in Canadian Government’s support for environmental protection over the past five years and how they now support the loosening of regulations that protect water quality, fisheries and the environment from projects such as Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project across the Rockies to bring Alberta Tar Sands oil to ports in British Columbia for export. The US decision to require further review of the environmental impacts of the TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL oilsands pipeline to the U.S. Gulf Coast is said to have given impetus to Canadian government and business efforts to facilitate a pipeline west to the Pacific.
“Government and energy industry leaders recognized the downside of oil producers being tied to a single U.S. market and saw opportunity for higher profits if China could became a major buyer and bid up the price for oilsands production that was selling at a discount.
After Obama’s decision, many in Harper’s cabinet started to view pipeline projects as the 21st Century equivalent of building the Canadian Pacific Railway to the West Coast in the 1880s.
“It had a very profound impact,” Environment Minister Peter Kent said in an interview. “It drove home the fact we have stranded resources with great potential for jobs and a contribution to GDP that require alternate routes to a more diverse marketplace.