Brian Lee Crowley

A primer on Canada’s pipeline mess for Canadians and others

On the topic of pipelines in general and Trans Mountain in particular, there has of course been much action in recent weeks, including most notably Ottawa’s acquisition of the TM project from Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion. Here are two examples of my commentary on the issue:

30 May 2018 I published an op-ed in the Financial Post arguing that the Liberals are chiefly the authors of their own misfortune on TM, through their ill-advised political alliance with the hard-line environmental movement. I predict that they will reap the social licence whirlwind when their erstwhile allies really get serious about civil disobedience.

Then on June 12th I sought to explain to an international audience the issues surrounding TM and pipelines in general in the context of Ottawa’s sudden ownership of TM. The Washington Examiner was kind enough to publish my piece. I also did a video version of the op-ed which is available at the top of the MLI page.

Speaking in Calgary on October 8th on the concept of “social licence”

Regular visitors to this site will know I am a vociferous critic of the concept of social licence. I’ll be in Calgary on Wednesday, October 8th to speak on a panel at a conference  sponsored by the Energy and Environment Programme of the Calgary School of Public Policy. The conference is  titled “Social License in the Regulatory Arena: A Useful Concept?”. I’ll be one of the panellists in the 3rd panel session titled “Who “Owns” or “Issues” Social License? Contact the School for more information.

Social licence: 007 never had such a powerful licence to kill!

“Social licence” is a concept on everyone’s lips these days as we debate pipelines, dangerous rail cargoes, appropriate forestry policies, etc. But this benign sounding term conceals a multitude  of dangerous and arbitrary features. In the end, as I argue in my column for today’s ROB, it masks a unilateral requirement for a project’s opponents to give their blessing before a project can proceed, making it a licence for NIMBYists to kill things they don’t like, regardless of their net benefit to Canadians. This is unacceptable in a world where change always creates winners and losers and in a society governed by the rule of law.

Brian Lee Crowley
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