Penticton Western News letters to the editor.

Penticton Western News letters to the editor.

Letter: Refine it where you mine it

Let’s invest in Canada’s oil sector refining technology

Our federal government is paying $4.5 billion for the 70 year old Trans Mountain Pipeline (valued in 2007 at $650 million) and has committed an additional $10 billion for its expansion.

Goal No. 1 — ship unrefined bitumen to the US and offshore countries for refining.

Goal No. 2 — export well-paying job opportunities from Western Canada to the U.S. and off shore countries.

Does Canada have an inferiority complex? We can’t refine our own resources while others are happy to do it for us?

Building bitumen refineries to meet tougher environmental standards will require a lot of high quality steel, brass and aluminum alloys — and lots of brain power. Canada has an abundance of all these crucial ingredients. Let’s put this to good use. Given recent U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, maybe we should look to another market called Canada.

Let’s invest in Canada’s oil sector refining technology. Let’s invest in our high-end technical capabilities and training. Let’s build Canadian manufacturing capacity. We do that in other sectors such as ship building and aircraft manufacturing. Why not the oil sector? Constructing and running these refineries will create more immediate and long term job opportunities than expanding capabilities to export bitumen.

Let’s consider the many other side benefits. We reduce the environmental hazard, cost and pollution of shipping toxic, unrefined bitumen from Alberta. We refine bitumen in Canadian regulated, “state of the art” refineries. Will offshore refineries meet that high standard? We assert ourselves and remind other countries that we operate in the best interests of Canadians, not those that seek to exploit us. We’re past that.

Steve Burke

West Kelowna