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My dinner with Wayne

We started out in the waning sunshine of the Cordova Bay golf course – the Bill Matticks restaurant to be precise.  It’s one of those glorious sunset evenings of perfection that only Victoria can dish up.
Wayne is my brother in law.  He was also principle in Westland Resource Consultants – advisors on many of the key right of way pipeline and highway routes that have been built in western Canada over the last say 30 years.  So he has some knowledge about how projects get done and a lived experience of balancing the requirements of moving forward with acute respect for the natural world.
We’re just talking about the near-election of the NDP, the alignment with the greens and the pledge not to build Kinder Morgan.
“You have to wonder where these people get their gasoline!”
We have moved in Wayne’s time from an era in which Initially BCHydro had to pay attention to fish mitigation in dam location.  That slowly spread to other natural concerns.  We speculated that the real jumping off point in considering many of the perspectives that now have to factor in was the MacKenzie Pipeline debate.  Back in that day the concerns about natural impacts, native rights and other aspects, long overdue for mitigation consideration, surfaced and were the subject of study before development. Before that, no one cared.
Now we’re facing near paralysis. So much due process seems rooted on a fantasy that there should be no impact of development. Stasis – maybe rigor mortis- has set in as particularly pipeline can’t seem to get over the hurdle.
Oil will move regardless.  The gasoline comment issues from the alternative mode of transport – primarily rail.  Rail cars move down river courses.  A spill from a derailment is far more likely that a pipeline rupture – and the damage is immediately proximate to water.  The risk experience with pipe is many factors better.  And, last we looked, everyone is still driving gas vehicles.  So the transport is happening.
We’ve come a long way since we started looking to environmental questions arising on development But now, due to the painful and inordinate trials imposed, we have the inevitable swing of the pendulum.  The right in the USA has intemperate climate change deniers in the seat of power.  Maybe they’ve just gone there in order to get the right answers to the need for development.  I’m not in favor of an unreasoning stance but I can understand how frustration has built to the point of intolerance.
Meanwhile, it is possible that the whole carbon extraction and transportation issue [along with attendant atmospheric impacts will shortly be moot.  Electrification of transport is about to hit an inflection point as cars cross some criticial performance markers.  Range over 400 kms?  Bingo.  This Financial Post article has gone viral in its claim that we are only 8 years away from a complete set change in favor of electric.
I won’t recite the article – you can, and should, read it. The world on the other side of that divide will be so altered as to be practically unrecognizable.  One fact from the protagonists – internal combustion car – 2000 moving parts.  Electric?  8.  Since i read that, I’ve been looking at these familiar beasts we herd around very differently.
So maybe the situation we’re chatting about as the shadows lengthen solves itself.  But if it does, that way, most of drive that has brought us prosperity will be gone with it.
Time for coffee….

Doug Bouey
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

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Bringing out the best in you, your company and your people.

Doug Bouey, President
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

Calgary, AB // Phone: 403.777.1144


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