Pipe-dreams and the Rainmaker Rodeo

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It’s Rainmaker Rodeo weekend! I’ve got my cowboy hat on and I am rearing to mosey on over to the Kinsmen grounds for this annual fun-filled, family-oriented event. I love the sights and sounds of the Rainmaker festivities from the midway to the bull rides. Last evening’s kick-off concert had me going for a soda and today’s pancake breakfast will fuel me up for my favourite: the rodeo parade! The enthusiasm of the parade participants and excitement of the crowd are all part of this energizing experience. Energizing? I use this word for a reason.

It is events such as the Rainmaker, now in its 50th year, that form part of our local culture and traditions. We get to celebrate Canada’s western roots and, for me, I am particularly mindful of and thankful for our farmers, ranchers, and all those who help bring food to our tables. We are a society that relies heavily upon the agricultural sector of our economy. We know that conditions are rarely, if ever, favourable for those who livelihood depends on working the land. It takes much energy on their part. We in kind, must support them.

In times of drought or excess rain, we rely on other sectors of the economy to help offset challenges. Therefore, it is not only Alberta, but Canada as a whole, that needs to invest in infrastructure that supports multiple interests. Pipelines are one such investment that can leverage the flexibility needed to get resources to the world market. Why then has the Kinder Morgen project been so difficult to rope? We need someone to steer this bucking bronco into the corral. OK, so who? Rodeo clowns? Not to be disparaging to these colourful rodeo characters, we’ll assume that the grownups, e.g. elected politicians, can actually square this political dance maturely.

The irony of two NDP provincial governments ‘bullying’ each other, one threatening to turn off the gas taps and the other threatening court action if the unwanted but necessary oil is in fact cut off, is not lost on me. Thankfully, Notley’s intention of riding this bull for the full duration is getting more attention despite the fact that Horgan, who is channelling his inner Tom Petty, won’t back down from this long drawn out and protracted bun fight.

I propose that B.C. allow Alberta bitumen to flow freely via Kinder Morgan to tidewater. Collectively we will do our best to ensure that the environment is protected. In exchange, and as a sign of reciprocal goodwill, Alberta will support a B.C. pipeline that allows the finest wines (or perhaps live salmon) to flow into the prairies. B.C., I know it doesn’t quite get to forty below … but trust me, all kidding aside, the pipeline is a good thing. It is a good thing for all Canadians! The dreams of future prosperity rest with this vital infrastructure going forward.

It’s Rainmaker weekend! Let’s hope that with all the additional political hot air in the stratosphere we get generous amounts of precipitation once all the revelry and events are completed. Then we’ll tackle NAFTA!

Tim Cusack is an educator, writer, and member of the naval reserve.

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Tim Cusack