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PIPELINE

WINTER 2021

CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF ENERGY AND PIPELINE LANDOWNER ASSOCIATIONS

CONTINENTAL ASSOCIATION OF ENERGY AND PIPELINE LANDOWNER ASSOCIATIONS

OBSERVER

PIPELINES vs PONIES CAEPLA helps a rancher save his wild horses

Post-COVID Oil and Gas

Why petroleum is poised for post-pandemic growth and what it means for landowners

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Yellowstone

Kevin Costner portrays property rights in this modern TV western

The Option Agreement Trap Proceed with caution before signing

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Only a few provinces benefit from pipelines

COVER: iStock/ mari_art

move billions of dollars into Canada’s economy nationwide.

Pipelines drive prosperity across Canada through employment and billions for vital government programs like education and health care. To see how, visit: SHAREDFUTURE.CA/ECONOMY

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CONTENTS

WINTER 2021

CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF ENERGY AND PIPELINE LANDOWNER ASSOCIATIONS

Paramount Network

John Dutton (Kevin Costner) fights for his family’s ranch and legacy in Yellowstone.

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It Was a Weird Year

CAEPLA continued to take care of business despite 2020’s challenges

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The Value of CAEPLA Construction Monitors

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The Option Agreement Trap

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Good Work and Good Deeds

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The Death of Oil

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Lessons from Yellowstone

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Integrity digs shouldn’t be exempt from monitoring

Signing could mean you’re all out of options

Friendships forged along the Line 3 replacement pipeline

Has the sector’s downfall been greatly exaggerated?

How the TV drama reflects property rights realities

Wild Horses Couldn’t Keep the Pipeline Company Away  AEPLA defends a rancher’s land and horse rescue C breeding program

A World Without Property Rights A possible reality in 2030, according to the World Economic Forum

Agricultural Land and Commodity Prices 28 Are About to Soar?

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It looks like it. But inflation can be confusing — and dangerous…

30 Oil & Gas in the Post-COVID Economy

What growth in the sector could mean for landowners

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Property Rights and Contracts Necessary measures to safeguard your soil and your farm

34 Pipeline Bullies

The dark side of living with the TMX project in your backyard

COVER: iStock/ mari_art

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Best of Pipeline Observer

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Picturing the Impacts

A look back at 2015’s feature on the problem of expropriation

Government mismanagement in Laidlaw, B.C.

Pipeline Observer is a publication of the Canadian Association of Energy and Pipeline Landowner Associations and the Continental Association of Energy and Pipeline Landowner Associations 257, 918 Albert St., Regina, SK S4R 2P7; 306-522-5000. All contents copyright ©2021 CAEPLA. Advertising information: advertising@caepla.org | Editorial: editor@caepla.org Administration: admin@caepla.org | caepla.org | Twitter: @CAEPLA

Media & Marketing Solutions

Published on behalf of CAEPLA by RedPoint Media Group Inc., 100, 1900 11 St. S.E., Calgary, AB T2G 3G2, 403-240-9055, Toll Free 1-877-963-9333, info@redpointmedia.ca, redpointmedia.ca | Printed in Canada by Transcontinental LGM | Statements and viewpoints expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher. | PM 40030911 CAEPL A .ORG

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BY ANNETTE SCHINBORN

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Well, That Was a Weird Year 4

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Take a quick tour with us to see how CAEPLA took care of business as usual for you

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“The more CAEPLA delved into how decommissioned and abandoned pipelines age and corrode, the more we realized that we were on the cutting edge.”

he year 2020 affected us all in many different ways. For example, Zoom — little-known before the pandemic — became the default way of having meetings. At CAEPLA, we continued to be busy protecting landowner property rights. So, in the spirit of new technology, allow me to take you on a “virtual” tour of the issues that CAEPLA has been working on.

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Research One area of our research has been the decommissioning of pipelines. Decommissioning is really pre-abandonment. Pipes are left “in place.” Some of the concerns landowners have about old pipe include its corrosion rate — the number of years before a pipe will corrode and collapse under the weight of farming equipment. Other worries include the pipe acting as a water conduit, as well as the loss of topsoil, which can begin to seep into the abandoned pipe once it has begun to perforate. As part of the win-win agreement on the Line 3 replacement project, CAEPLA and Enbridge worked together with the University of Calgary to research timelines for how fast the corrosion can be expected to occur — so that landowners can have peace of mind. Landowners farming over the pipe cross over it many times in

a growing season, and safety is of utmost importance. The more CAEPLA delved into how decommissioned and abandoned pipelines age and corrode, the more we realized that we were on the cutting edge. There really hasn’t been any focused research done on decommissioned or abandoned pipelines anywhere in the world. CAEPLA continues to pursue further research into this topic. Beyond the modeling of pipe corrosion in a university lab setting, we will be working further with Enbridge on “real time” research on the company’s decommissioned pipe. This, of course, will be a long-term research commitment. Pipe will be taken from the corridor and examined, looking at rates of corrosion, the soil type the pipe is in, and much more.

More research Another research project on which CAEPLA continues to work is soil capability. The question the research will attempt to answer is this: “Have the soils on pipeline rights-of-way suffered damage that will diminish their productive capacity, especially over the long term?” Dr. Ivan Whitson described the research he is conducting on soil capability in the Fall 2019 Pipeline Observer, in the article “CAEPLA Studies Agricultural Land Capability on Pipeline Rights-of-Way.”

Samples have been taken from about a half dozen different soil types along Enbridge’s Line 3 corridor. Whitson will be testing the soils from both on and off the right-of-way to determine the degree of chemical and physical change in soil quality. As Whitson wrote in 2019, the findings from this research “may provide insight toward the effectiveness of construction practices and mitigations used by industry over the last six decades…. This research will also provide a monitoring model that holds both industry and regulators to their promises.” Soil remediation after pipeline construction is extremely important, and Enbridge finished the Line 3 construction remediation work last summer. Repairs will be made this spring and summer after the soil has settled over winter for any areas requiring further attention. As was the case throughout the construction of the L3RP, CAEPLA’s independent construction monitors, provided through Infocus Management Consulting, were on scene to ensure that the remediation work was done according to the Settlement Agreement.

Horse power Farther west in southern Alberta, CAEPLA was asked for help by a landowner on the Keystone XL pipeline. Arnold McKee has the

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“As a pipeline company CEO once told us: an easement agreement is like a marriage where you’re in it for the long haul.”

Stress, conflict and turmoil These are words to describe the experience of the small community of Laidlaw, B.C., which is being overrun by the Trans Mountain pipeline (TMX) owned by the Canadian government. The community has a pipe yard on one end of its road, a worker camp on the

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other end and a proposed storage yard in the middle. TMX has not consulted with the community. As one landowner described it, “TMX is telling us what our concerns are, rather than actually consulting and listening to what our concerns are.” The Canadian Energy Regulator (CER) has granted Trans Mountain exemptions from conditions placed on it by its predecessor, the National Energy Board (NEB). It has also granted numerous rights of entry — in other words expropriation of property — from landowners unwilling to sign the bad easement agreement the company is offering. CAEPLA received calls from landowners saying they have been bullied by TMX land agents, are being expropriated and don’t know what to do. If you are a landowner unsure of where to turn, give CAEPLA a call.

monitors onto private property (see the special feature “Another Quiet Revolution” in the Summer 2020 Pipeline Observer). As I conclude this tour, I’ll touch on the CAEPLA workshop series — an event that has been delayed by the demands for isolation. Everyone who’s attended these events knows that they’re all about meeting other pipeline landowners face-to-face over a hot meal to discuss pertinent pipeline issues that affect your property. And they’re about having both CAEPLA, your landowner association, and Enbridge experts in the room at the same time to answer your questions so that real learning and trust can take place. It’s about community. We look forward to seeing you again — so check your inboxes for our newsletter that’ll let you know when we’ll all be getting back together! 

Just a short tour This is just a short tour of the issues CAEPLA is working on. We are also working on updating integrity dig agreements and working with landowners who have contamination issues on their properties. Of great concern regarding property rights is the CER bringing Indigenous

Annette Schinborn is chief executive officer at CAEPLA, having served previously as COO and director of landowner relations. Before joining the team at CAEPLA, Annette worked with grassroots non-profits including the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the Prairie Centre and the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association. She has worked closely with farmers, ranchers and other landowners on issues such as tax and agricultural policy, energy transport and property rights.

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pipeline on his property. He was part of the group of landowners for whom CAEPLA negotiated a win-win agreement with TransCanada Pipelines (now TC Energy) about 12 years ago. The Keystone XL agreement was negotiated at the same time, and after numerous delays, the expansion project was being built in Alberta last summer. Arnold was not opposed to having the pipeline, he simply wanted it built in the winter so it wouldn’t harm his horse-breeding operation. His very real concern was for the horses, a special breed that is irreplaceable. The company insisted it could not build the pipe on his property in the winter and, after a number of stressful meetings for Arnold, CAEPLA was able to help find a solution that worked for the company, for Arnold and for the safety of his horses. Respecting the property rights of landowners always makes for a better project. As a pipeline company CEO once told us: an easement agreement is like a marriage where you’re in it for the long haul. It is much better to have a respectful, beneficial agreement rather than one born out of conflict.


B Y D AV E B A S PA LY

The Value of CAEPLA Construction Monitors They’ve proven indispensable for pipeline construction — shouldn’t they be a given on more sensitive work?

iStock/ piyast

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very time land is opened — for any purpose, and no matter how carefully — some topsoil/subsoil is lost and the deeper soil structure is altered in a way that takes years to restore. Soil preservation is a major reason farmers — especially in Western Canada — have been turning steadily to no-till practices. So, while many landowners support pipelines in the interest of public

benefit — a clean, safe, economical method of delivering necessary energy — they do so at some risk to their own interests. Land is cut open and put at risk in order to install pipelines. CAEPLA exists to protect land and landowner interests, so good-hearted, hard-working people can continue to cooperate in the interests of economic development. For some years now, CAEPLA has advocated that the watchful eyes of independent third-party monitors are key to protecting landowner interests

during pipeline construction. These trained observers verify that, from the moment the first surveyor’s boots touch the soil till the last shovelful of soil is replaced and re-vegetated, operators follow practices that safeguard the land and landowners. If construction monitors have proven vital during major pipeline construction, what about integrity digs? These digs generally attract no public attention, no environmental activism and no Indigenous community protests. Yet, every year, thousands

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of acres are re-opened to risks which may be even greater than during initial construction.

“In contrast, integrity digs are conducted during all seasons and conditions with no provision for cleaning stations, placing greater stress on soils and opening lands to greater threat of erosion and contamination.”

What are integrity digs?

Here are some of the many reasons integrity digs deserve greater oversight and protections

Major pipeline construction projects draw public attention. More at stake=More eyes =More careful work

Major pipeline construction is backed by big budgets. This money affects everything down the line: planning, personnel, resources and access. In contrast, integrity digs are conducted under operations budgets where staff are tasked with protecting more pipe with less money every year. Pressure builds on operators to cut corners.

Planning and scheduling for major pipelines must: 1) fit into seasonal windows prescribed by government regulators

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in order to protect rare plants and wildlife, and, 2) comply with (CAEPLA-negotiated) landowner agreements to protect topsoil from being stripped in frozen conditions and soils from being contaminated by unwashed equipment.

Personnel: Major pipelines often attract the most experienced and skilled crews, which are drawn to higher pay, greater support and greater employment stability. This doesn’t mean that an integrity dig will be performed by incompetent workers, but crew members may be less skilled and experienced, while being asked to perform even more challenging work.

Resources devoted to construct major pipelines are much greater than those directed to individual digs scattered across many — often remote — properties. Major pipeline projects can afford, and have access to, a number of specified pieces of equipment which perform a particular function better than any other. Integrity digs are usually performed by an excavator or backhoe, the Swiss Army knife of construction. It can perform most tasks well enough, but may not be the ideal tool for some. Further, the successful handling of soils on any integrity dig is almost completely dependent on the skill of the hoe operator.

Access to work on your land during major pipeline construction is usually established at road crossings. From there, crews move up and down the pipeline right-of-way (already disturbed and stripped of topsoil and less susceptible to soil contamination) to access your land. Often crews are bused to the work site

each day, limiting the number of vehicles which travel on and off the right-of-way each day, further limiting the risk of soil contamination and disturbance. “Temporary Access” to an integrity dig site usually involves making a new traffic path across your land. This increases the amount of land that is disturbed (risking rutting and soil compaction) and susceptible to imported pathogens (e.g. on the wheels of as many as a dozen welding trucks per day).

Finally, integrity digs are the “exploratory surgery” of pipeline work. No one can predict the extent of damage until the ground is opened and pipe is exposed. Crews may have to expose many more metres of pipe than expected in order to find a segment free of corrosion/cracking upon which to anchor a protective sleeve that’s welded around the entire length of the treated area. This means that the trench might be left open for many more months than expected — even over a winter season. This subjects the land to more wind and water erosion.

What’s the bottom line? If independent monitors are crucial to protecting land and landowner interests during initial pipeline construction, they are even more vital to oversee the more complex, unpredictable and under-resourced activity of integrity digs.  Dr. Dave Baspaly is an experienced corporate leader and a certified management consultant with a remarkable ability to help people increase performance and achieve strategic goals.

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iStock/ FedotovAnatoly; mevans

Your area pipeline operator considers the integrity dig a maintenance activity essential to safe operation. Periodically, the ground is opened to expose “live” pipelines to human scrutiny. Locations are chosen where in-line instruments (smart pigs) indicate there may be some developing corrosion or cracking, which if not repaired could lead to an environmental spill or explosion. What responsible landowner wouldn’t sacrifice a measure of self-interest for the general safety and well-being of the public and our shared environment? Yet, should we continue to permit this activity without safeguards that apply to initial construction?


BY JOHN GOUDY

The Option Agreement Trap

iStock/ FedotovAnatoly; mevans

Signing could mean you’re all out of options

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f you’re familiar with professional team sports, you may have heard the terms “team option,” “player option” and “mutual option.” When a player’s contract includes a team option, the team gets to choose whether to exercise the option to keep the player for another season beyond the guaranteed years of the contract. With a player option, it’s the player who decides whether to exercise the

option and stay for another year or whether to become a free agent (in which case the player can choose to resign with the same team or sign with another team). With a mutual option, both the team and the player must exercise the option in order to extend the stay of the player under the existing contract.

Option agreements are common in pro sports. They’re also common when it comes to land deals and they work in much the same way. Think of the land as a team and the landowner as the team ownership. The player in this scenario is the person or company looking to use the land, whether by way of leasing or purchasing it.

“By signing the option, you have effectively signed the agreement and accepted the project.”

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Locked in The player approaches the owner and offers to enter into an option agreement. If the option is exercised, then the player will get the right to join the team (i.e. use the land). Many landowners are asked to enter into option agreements with pipeline companies, solar and wind energy companies and other project developers. What is vitally important to remember is that the option agreements proposed to landowners are “player options,” not “team options.” If you, as the landowner, think you can sign the option and then decide later on down the road whether you want to go through with a project on your land, think again. It’s the project proponent who has the “option” to follow through with the project. As soon as you sign, you are locked into the agreement that has been proposed (a lease, an easement, etc.), subject only to the project proponent exercising its option. By signing the option, you have effectively signed the agreement and accepted the project. And what does the landowner get in return for granting the option? Sometimes there is a (relatively small) monetary payment. That’s nice. But the project proponent usually gets not only the right to enter into the lease, easement or other agreement at its option down the road, it often also obtains a right of entry to your property even before it exercises its option. The project proponent may be getting rights to explore, carry out testing or conduct other investigations and activities on your property. Is the payment still worth it? Should landowners sign option agreements? Not without getting

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good legal advice on the nature of the option and the eventual agreement to be made. And not without knowing exactly what project is being proposed for your property.

Keeping their options open All too often, landowners think they are getting a certain type of project and end up with something different. A land agent tells the landowner that the leased area will be in X location, but the project is eventually constructed in Y location. Project proponents want to keep their options open (no pun intended), so they will include clauses that state that the specifications of the project facilities on your land will be determined by the company (at its sole discretion) later. Classic bait and switch. So, should landowners sign option agreements? Maybe. Maybe if the upfront option payment is large enough to warrant tying up your property with a project that may not ever come to fruition — some options stay open for years. And only if you have the firm written agreement of the project proponent as to what the project is going to entail. Remember that you cannot rely on the representations made by company representatives and land agents unless those representations are in writing and form part of your agreement with the proponent. “Entire Agreement” clauses are included by companies so that they don’t have to honour what representatives and land agents have told you at the kitchen table. The written agreement you sign is what governs.

Approach with caution Do your homework — your due diligence. If a company approaches you with an option agreement, ask questions and insist on having a full understanding of the project and how it will affect your property. Insist on getting a legal opinion on both the option agreement and the project agreement (lease, easement, etc.). If the company won’t agree to pay for an independent legal review, or won’t agree to pay for the review unless you sign, this may be an indication that you’re best to pass on the project. And another thing about options: the company you sign with initially is often not the company that will carry out the project. You may hear all the right things from the land agent who signs you up to the option agreement, but then the option is assigned to another company you’ve never heard of, and it’s that company that carries out the project. Unsurprisingly, the new company claims never to have heard of the various promises made to you by the land agent. It’s not fair to say that no option agreement can be a fair option for the landowner, but landowners need to be very careful in dealing with options. Approach them with extreme caution and a healthy dose of skepticism. 

John is a litigator whose practice is focused in the areas of commercial and environmental litigation, expropriation law, energy regulation, and regulatory offences. He is particularly interested in agricultural issues and the regulation of agricultural land use. He lives and works on his family’s cash crop farm north of London, Ontario with his wife and three kids.

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Images supplied by Enbridge

“Clauses are included by companies so that they don’t have to honour what land agents told you at the kitchen table.”


B Y D AV I D C O L L

Good Work and Good Deeds Along Line 3 Pipeliners forged lasting friendships across the Prairies

Images supplied by Enbridge

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ur best work is buried in the ground.” That’s a phrase you’re likely to hear from Enbridge construction manager Allen Sawatzky — if the topic is the quality and workmanship of the recently completed Line 3 replacement pipeline (L3RP). But Sawatzky is equally passionate about the legacy the company is leaving above the ground in communities spanning almost 1,100 kilometres from Hardisty, Alta. to the Manitoba-U.S. border near Gretna, Man. “Enbridge took the approach that we are guests on the landowners’ property in the communities we called home during four seasons of pipeline construction,” Sawatzky says. “We worked hard to ensure this mindset was well-communicated and implemented among our entire workforce, whether they were on the job or after hours in the community.” With an armada of yellow iron (heavy equipment) moving along the highways and backroads, and crews of 800 to 1,000 workers for roughly every 100 km of sparsely populated right-of-way during peak construction, some landowners expressed concern at the outset of the project about safety and potential risk of fire.

Such concerns are anticipated and addressed in any project Enbridge or its contractors undertake as components of a comprehensive construction safety strategy, Sawatzky says. For the L3RP, this included equipping every truck and piece of heavy equipment with a fire extinguisher, water cans and a Pulaski (an axe-like tool for wildland firefighting than can dig and chop wood).

Going above and beyond Each construction “spread” had three or four water trucks ready to be deployed as necessary. Every crew had several first-aid trained and equipped personnel, and medics were positioned within a 20-minute response time all along the right-of-way. “These emergency response and preparedness measures aren’t in place just for pipeline incidents,” Sawatzky says. “They’re for any safety issue that might arise. During the Line 3 project, our people went the extra mile by helping out community members off the right-of-way on several occasions.”

A landowner and Allen Sawatzky catch up at a CAEPLA workshop in Rosetown

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Bottom left: Provost, Alta. CAO Tyler Lawrason says Enbridge wildfire response was "above and beyond." Left: Shaun Christenson's quick action helped an injured driver. Below: Overturned gravel truck near Craik, Sask. Right: Within minutes, fire engulfed the Nostadt home. Far Right: Delbert and Lisa Nostadt experienced tragic loss, but are grateful for the community response.

lutely above and beyond,” says Tyler Lawrason, chief administrative officer of the sprawling M.D. of Provost in east-central Alberta. He’s referring to an August 2017 wildfire that Enbridge contractor O.J. Pipelines Canada helped the local fire department contain. In a letter to Enbridge expressing his appreciation, Lawrason wrote: “Wildland fires in these conditions can be dangerous and unpredictable, and it’s nice to know our industry partners are ready and willing to drop work like they did and help out our first responders and my staff. Last evening’s events were an absolute credit to your contractor and your company.”

“It’s nice to know our industry partners are ready and willing to drop work like they did and help out our first responders.” —Tyler Lawrason, CAO, Provost, Alta.

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Helping motorists With such a strong presence in the field during construction season, it was inevitable that Line 3 crew members were often among the first on the scene of an incident. Such was the case on a Wednesday morning in December 2017 near Craik, Sask. Shaun Christenson, an assistant welding inspector with Resdin Industries Ltd., was heading west on a gravel road toward the pipeline right-of-way to check on one of the crews in the area. “I came over the hill and saw a [Super B] gravel truck, heading east, overturned in the ditch,” he recalls. “A man, apparently the driver, was walking in circles in the field. You could tell the accident had just happened. “I put my four-ways on, pulled over, and ran out to get him. He was obviously in shock, bleeding everywhere. The skin on the right side of his face

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Urgent support provided by Enbridge crews included equipment to extinguish grass, baler and wildland fires, assisting at the scene of vehicle incidents, helping motorists change flat tires, freeing farm equipment mired in the mud and, in one instance, even extricating a truck stuck in a snow bank on the railroad tracks at 6 a.m. in downtown Moosomin, Sask. “The level of response we experienced from Enbridge in dealing with a local emergency situation was abso-


was peeled back, from two inches above to two inches below his ear.” Christenson was able to calm him down and call 9-1-1 as well as his designated project emergency contacts. He then dashed to his truck to grab his first-aid kit, bandaged the man with gauze and made a pillow for him to rest with some spare jackets and sweaters until the local fire department arrived on-site and took charge. Travis Aramenko, a project medic from Haztech, was also on the scene in less than eight minutes, providing a trauma assessment and monitoring the patient until the STARS air ambulance arrived. The injured man was transported to Regina General Hospital, where he was treated and later released. “It was fortunate to come upon him so soon after the accident along that deserted gravel road,” Christenson says. “Who knows how long he’d have been out there or where he’d have got to wandering in that field without help?”

Images supplied by Enbridge

Local lookouts and volunteer firefighters To manage a heavier workload, Enbridge brought on additional land agents during project construction. Given their training and the nature of the role, they are vigilant observers of their surroundings and the local

landscape, spending a good part of their days visiting with farmers and landowners and logging countless kilometres traversing the backroads and highways. Their increased presence proved beneficial to the community during the busy construction seasons. On a windy afternoon in late October 2018, Troy Seritt, an Enbridge contract land agent with Evolve Surface Strategies Inc., was engaged in planting stakes along the pipeline right-of-way to mark locations where topsoil wouldn’t initially be stripped, allowing farmers continued access to their fields. As he drove along Highway 48 some 80 km southeast of Regina, a curl of dark smoke to the south caught his attention. “I thought it was a piece of equipment on the right-of-way,” he says, “but as soon as I drove up over the hill, I saw a house engulfed in flames and throwing sparks high into the air.” The land agent was one of the first to arrive on the scene. The landowners, Delbert and Lisa Nostadt, were already there and with their bungalow and attached garage clearly beyond saving, a frantic battle was just beginning to save nearby corrals, farm equipment, sileage and hundreds of hay bales. Although all their livestock were out to pasture, winds estimated at 70 km/h threatened to spread

the blaze quickly to the yard and surrounding fields. Seritt immediately reached for his cellphone to call Enbridge assistant construction manager Denny Hay and the Banister foreman. “Without hesitation, they told me, ‘Whatever the landowner needs, let us know and we’ll send it over right away.’” Pipeline crew members and equipment began arriving in force in what became an all-hands-on-deck effort involving the Montmartre, Odessa and Francis fire departments, some of the Nostadts’ neighbours and other community members. A utility crew arrived with pumps, hoses and shovels. Local fire departments’ pumping capacity was supplemented by two Banister trucks, including a large tri-axle unit that proved invaluable in keeping up a steady supply of water to battle the blaze. As afternoon turned to evening, two diesel light packs ensured workers could battle the fire safely into the night. “It was a real coming together of pipeliners and community,” Seritt says. “Everybody showed up to help as would be expected, but I think there was a real appreciation that the Enbridge project folks responded the way we did — that we didn’t just ignore the scene and keep on with our own work.” “They were a big help to us, for sure,” Delbert Nostadt says. “Without the pipeliners, it could have been a lot worse. They came back the next day and said if you need any more equipment, we’ll get it here fast.” He borrowed a trackhoe and used it to begin a difficult cleanup in the

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aftermath of the fire, which took more than 12 hours to extinguish and is believed to have been caused by an electrical short.

A promising note With the tragic loss of their home and its contents, about 400 bales of hay and nearly 400 tons of sileage, the Nostadts were left with little more than the clothes on their backs, Delbert says. While their personal possessions can never be replaced, thankfully the Nostadts were insured. With the support of friends and neighbours, who helped them in various ways including a community fundraising event, they were able to rebuild their home and mixed farming operation. And so, this story ends on a promising note. “We moved into the new house on October 30 last year, one year to the day of the fire,” Delbert says. “Someone asked me, ‘Is that a good thing?’ and I said, ‘I guess we’ll find out.’” As the quotation often attributed to author C.S. Lewis says: “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” Surely that applies to a number of small acts of kindness during the Enbridge L3R project, including caring for and ensuring the adoption of a homeless kitten found seeking shelter in some construction equipment; arranging for Scouts to pick up and earn the proceeds from recycling cans and bottles at a construction field office; and even transporting and setting up lighting equipment to allow the local high school football team to play at night. “From the very first kickoff

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construction meetings to the end of the project, Enbridge stressed that our off-right-of-way performance, our conduct in the community, was as important as the construction itself,” says Guy Krepps, project director with Enbridge. “We were made to feel so welcome in communities all across the Prairies and I think that really inspired our workers to want to show their appreciation and give back.”

Heartwarming example A heartwarming example of giving back to the community began with a letter posted in September 2017 to an online construction bulletin board by Karen Griffith, who was working as a housekeeper at a motel in Outlook, Sask. “I am not sure who to address this to,” her post began, “but I just want to tell you how Enbridge is helping me. “I am a single mom. I have always struggled to raise my five kids. They have all left home, the last two this year. I am a gramma that helps raise my grandson that my son raises alone.” With the motel full of pipeline workers, Griffith quickly went to fulltime hours and earned a little extra by doing their laundry in the evenings and delivering it the next morning. “Any of the workers I came into contact with were very kind and gracious, they all overpaid me,” she says. In her post, Griffith explained that the extra work had almost enabled her to buy her grandson the Nintendo Switch he wanted for Christmas and was also helping to pay for some of her daughter’s wedding. “The friendships I am forming with your awesome employees is heartwarming,” her post concluded,

“You don’t know how much your company does for people like me.” Meanwhile, at the end of another hectic week, in another part of cyberspace, a couple of Enbridge contractors read Griffith’s post and were instantly moved. “It was a real tear-jerker,” one of them says. “It really hits home to hear how much of an impact we do have in these communities, someone working hard on minimum wage trying to make ends meet. “We talked about it and thought we should do something special for her,” the contractor recalls. “It was a Friday, I went home for the weekend, picked up a Nintendo and some games and had it gift wrapped. On Monday morning, a ‘Secret Santa’ dropped it off at the motel with a note to thank her for her kind words.” After Griffith posted a reply on the portal expressing her surprise and appreciation for the unexpected and thoughtful gift, the matter was a hot topic of “whodunnit” speculation at the next Enbridge construction team meeting. “Nobody knew who it was, and some of the guys were really curious,” says one of the Santas. “We just smiled and kept it quiet.” “I was absolutely shocked when I got the package at the motel,” Griffith says. “I wasn’t expecting anything, not even a reply to my letter. My grandson was nine years old at the time and when he heard the story on Christmas morning, he just couldn’t believe that complete strangers would do something like that. “I’ll never forget the look on his face when he opened that package.” 

iStock/ CSA Images

“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” — C.S. Lewis

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BY CK REEDER

The Death of Oil—and of Pipelines—Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

iStock/ CSA Images

Markets know what consumers need better than government regulators and activists do

N

ormally, it doesn’t get much more boring than a long report from a federal agency. Yet in November 2020, the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER) re-

leased a curious analysis about “Canada’s Energy Future” and provoked a lot of commentary. The report spawned a lot of provocative headlines, which can be summed up as follows: “CER says there’s no need for more pipelines!” Reaction to this report has gener-

ally revealed more about the reporter than the document itself. It appears that most people focused on a single chart and interpreted it to validate their own ideological agendas. Various media outlets, environmentalists and politicians, recognizing no limits to their own wisdom

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and foresight in shaping our economic future, declared that this report “proves” no more pipelines are needed in Canada. To wit, the TMX and Keystone XL projects are not “needed” at all. If true, this would make Ottawa’s nationalization of Trans Mountain and its expansion project (TMX) and Alberta’s partial nationalization of Keystone XL even more foolish. But the report doesn’t really say this. And even if it did, so what? It appears completely unrelated to what markets themselves think we need.

Forecasts by regulators are irrelevant Remember, the CER is just the National Energy Board (NEB). Literally — it’s the same regulator with a new name. These are bureaucrats, cronies and political pals. Their purpose is to preserve and manage special “natural monopolies” (in simpler times we’d have simply called them “cartels”), not make investment decisions. Forecasting and scenario analysis is not their forte. Regulators have no skin in the game. They have no capital at risk. They are not rewarded or punished by their ability to predict future consumer choices the way entrepreneurs are. Their projections tend to be irrelevant at best. Let’s look at the part of this report on which everyone’s been focusing. Under one contemplated scenario in the report, which assumes increasing interventions in carbon fuel production and use, crude oil available for export will be less than maximum pipeline capacity (see Figure R12 from the report, shown on page 17). But even this scenario sees oil pro-

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duction peak not today or tomorrow, but 15 years from now. The baseline scenario sees production peak 30 years from now. Even taking the report at face value, the “no more pipelines needed” argument assumes that having extra capacity available to serve different markets is somehow inherently bad. But why? We’ve seen the problems of constrained capacity in recent years: lower prices and greater volatility, centrally planned production “curtailments” and crowding out other customers on rail transport. More flexible capacity to pump oil to more diverse markets — to reach the most urgent consumers over time — is a good thing. Have people forgotten why lack of pipeline capacity has been a problem in the first place?

Self-reinforcing nonsense The report also acknowledges that it cannot account for unforeseen technological innovations (surely an important factor over the next 30 years!), but there is actually a much more fundamental issue here. The assumptions underlying the lower production peak scenario include the idea that government is going to increasingly restrict fossil fuels. The anti-pipeline crowd takes this assumption as proof that pipelines are not needed. This is fallacious thinking that creates a perverse loop of self-reinforcing nonsense. Think about it: politicians make outlandish proclamations about centrally planning the climate, plans they may or may not be willing (or able) to follow through on. Then a regulator makes some economic models trying to predict what those plans

might entail. This doesn’t actually tell you what you do or do not “need,” but some people like to think it does. Assumptions about what will happen 30 years from now are always very dubious, especially when you’re looking into the government’s own crystal ball.

What does the market think? So what does the market think about the need for Canadian oil exports? Global oil consumption is going to continue growing for several decades. This is undeniable. To meet these needs, many companies wanted to build pipelines until forced into cancellation by overt or passive-aggressive political threats. Trans Mountain has long-term contracts that will use 80 per cent of the pipeline’s capacity for decades. Keystone XL isn’t just to make Alberta oil producers happy, it’s to provide better value to refiners in the Gulf of Mexico. The Americans want it. Meanwhile, the Capline reversal will be able to pump hundreds of thousands of barrels of Canadian heavy crude to Louisiana refiners by 2022. Line 3 received its final permits and is still going ahead. Does this sound like the people actually making investment decisions think new pipelines are pointless? Far too many people vastly overestimate the speed of an energy transition on the scale envisioned. Historically, these transitions take a very long time. Even though the first commercial well was drilled over 150 years ago, oil did not become the world’s main energy source until the 1970s. Until then, coal and biomass made up the biggest piece of the energy-consumption pie. We are one of the richest countries in the world and live in astonishing comfort by historical standards. Many

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Canada’s Energy Future 2020 — Canada Energy Regulator

“Regulators have no skin in the game.”


“Many companies wanted to build pipelines until forced into cancellation by overt or passive-aggressive political threats.” Canadians have no idea how unrepresentative we are of the rest of the world. Canada is a massive country, but hardly anyone actually lives here. We have less than half a per cent of the world’s population. We Canadians might not need to increase consumption of oil much, or at all, to maintain our lifestyles. But in recognizing this it’s easy for us to forget just how much economic growth

is needed to raise standards of living in the world’s poorer places. For goodness’ sake, there are still almost a billion people on Earth who lack reliable electricity, something we decadent Canadians take for granted.

It’s hard to anticipate what we will need in the future, which is why the market works well to coordinate diverse wants and needs and priorities. What we don’t need are politicians and activists telling us what we need. 

Clayton Reeder is a Calgary-based financial analyst who provides mergers and acquisitions advisory services for mid-sized, privately held companies in Western Canada. He works with many clients in the oilfield services sector. He is also the editor of canadianmarketreview.com.

Crude Oil Pipeline Capacity vs. Total Supply Available for Export in the Evolving and Reference Scenarios MMb/d

10 3m3/d

7 6

1000

5

800

4

600

Canada’s Energy Future 2020 — Canada Energy Regulator

3 2

400

1

200

0

2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 2040 2045 2050

EXISTING PIPELINE CAPACITY

• Enbridge Mainline • Keystone • TransMountain

• Aurora/Rangeland • Milk River • Express

CAPACITY ADDITIONS

• Keyston XL (2023) • TMX (2022) • Enbridge Line 3 (2019) • Rail

Total Supply Available for

Total Supply Available for

Export - Evolving Scenario

Export - Reference Scenario

Figure R12

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B Y C A E P L A S TA F F

YELLOWSTONE

Kevin Costner stars in a Scorsese-style western soap with property rights and other themes every landowner will relate to…

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Y Paramount Network’s Yellowstone cast members. Pictured left to right on porch: Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly), John Dutton (Kevin Costner), Monica Long (Kelsey Asbille) and Jamie Dutton (Wes Bentley). Front row: Kayce Dutton (Luke Grimes) and Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser).

ellowstone might be one of the best westerns you’ve ever seen. A modern-day cowboy plot serialized for streaming services and cable, the series is currently three seasons in, just in time for this COVID-lockdown, binge-watching era. Yellowstone is a Kevin Costner-led take on soaps like Dallas, with a Martin Scorsese or Quentin Tarantino twist — in other words, the violence and body count can be a little over the top at times. That said, the series has been a ratings smash. The plot revolves around a landowner and patriarch confronted by almost every imaginable threat to his ranch and family legacy. The Yellowstone Dutton Ranch is a large ranch in Montana, U.S. — one of the largest contiguous properties of its kind in all of America. It is a seventh-generation family-owned operation and John Dutton (played by Costner doing his best Clint Eastwood), the patriarch, intends to keep it that way. John fiercely protects his property for his family, with the goal that his son can take over from him and have something to leave to his grandson in turn. The ranch is his family legacy. The constant conflict and struggle to survive can be explained by the

Paramont Network

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series’ unspoken elephant in the room: inadequate respect and protection for property rights. Viewed through the lens of property rights, Yellowstone dramatizes how a property rights regime really is the key to peace and prosperity. Because government sure isn’t. The show depicts Dutton’s enemies leveraging government interventions like environmental regulations and corrupt cops to dispossess him at every opportunity. Everyone wants the land the Dutton family has worked and protected for generations. As John Dutton says in the second season: “It’s the one con-

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stant in life — if you build something worth having, someone’s going to try and take it.” And to take it, they try! The first episode starts with one of the Dutton sons, Jamie, the family lawyer, in court, defending against eminent domain (expropriation). And it only gets worse from there, with groups from all sides fighting for the property. The leader of the neighbouring Native reservation puts plans into motion to get his people’s traditional lands back, so that it can be returned to be the way it was before settlers set foot on it.

A California land developer wants it to build his own piece of heaven there for many people to enjoy. He believes he has “the right” to be there and if it involves “taking by force or underhanded means,” then so be it. He is not giving up. The parties already involved lead to some local good ol’ boys seeking to protect their own interests from both the developer and the reservation, who are also planning to build a casino off reservation land that will be in direct competition with their operation. As threat after threat gets either thwarted or turned back on them, the

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Images from Paramount Network

“If you build something worth having, someone’s going to try and take it.”


Images from Paramount Network

“Ultimately, [John Dutton] is an antihero. Forced to join the ‘war of each against all’ that an absence of property rights creates.”

assorted landgrabbers are amazed that Dutton won’t give in. Their experience teaches that “nobody ever fights back” — which is what expropriating bullies literally bank on. As the series goes on, some of the attackers become even more formidable, with developers who have state government with powers of eminent domain (expropriation) on their side. The stakes with these bullies grow even greater. An offer for a large part of the Yellowstone ranch comes with the threat that if it’s turned down, they will take it through expropriation. Most CAEPLA landowners will understand the lowball, take-it-or-leaveit offer scenario. But is the money worth giving up your land when it is not for sale? Will Dutton be “bought off” or will he fight for his principles, even if he stands to lose the ranch and his family’s 150-year-old legacy? Not all landowners will identify with the ruthless, “badass” Dutton. Ultimately, he is an antihero. Forced to join the “war of each against all” that an absence of property rights

creates, Dutton gives as good as he gets, and often worse: if you ever find yourself in Montana and on his bad side, never accept a ride to “the train station.” Pipeline landowners will relate to Dutton’s most heartfelt desire — to be left alone to ranch and look after his family. But as CAEPLA has heard from landowners so many times over the decades, that simply isn’t possible without property rights. As so many frustrated farmers and ranchers have told us, dealing with

Facing Page: Brecken Merrill as Tate Dutton and Kevin Costner as John Dutton. This page top left to right: Danny Huston as Dan Jenkins; Kevin Costner as John Dutton and Luke Grimes as Kayce Dutton.

those that want to take your land can be a full-time job, which is a pretty good explanation for why thousands of pipeline landowners rely on CAEPLA to do the heavy lifting for them. This series is an over-the-top drama with lots of violence, nudity and bad language. Like most great fiction, it really does require you to suspend your disbelief, but it’s what makes cinema like this so much fun. Yellowstone is categorically not a show for the whole family — we would rate it R. It nonetheless features great production values, writing, directing and performances by the cast, all with a backdrop of breathtaking scenery even most Albertans and British Columbians would envy. Above all, in the middle of all the great entertainment, it will make you think. Yellowstone stars Kevin Costner, Wes Bentley, Kelly Reilly, Luke Grimes, Cole Hauser and Gil Birmingham. A Paramount Network production, it’s currently streaming on Amazon Prime and the fourth season will air this summer. 

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BY NADIA MOHARIB

Wild Horses Couldn’t Keep the Pipeline Company Away

A

rnold McKee still lives where he always has. “As a teenager, I grew up riding all these hills, training horses,” he says from his ranch about 18 miles south of

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Oyen, AB. “Every hill and coulee and rock and buffalo wallow, I know it.” And it’s the only place he wants to be. But in recent years, the land he loves and feels driven to protect has seen no end of needless horror play out, because of the disruptive Key-

stone pipeline on his property. “It was just a nightmare,” he says. “It still is.” For McKee, the nightmare mostly comes down to the welfare of his horses. In 1994, after many years of struggling to make it happen, McKee man-

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Photos supplied by Arnold McKee

But with the help of CAEPLA, a rancher was able to protect his land and continue his horse rescue breeding program


Photos supplied by Arnold McKee

aged to rescue some horses from the Suffield military base, which had been locked up and abandoned for years after the government took over. Most horses were rounded up and taken to slaughter, but McKee adopted two and later bought more, protecting the incredible, rare and irreplaceable breed. “They are extremely special,” the 76-year-old rancher says. “Their quality is so unbelievable. These horses are so intelligent and so strong. They are a mixture of all breeds.” And, he says, the “only surviving genetics” of those horses are in his yard today. But the precious animals McKee has worked so hard to protect have been threatened by ongoing activities associated with the pipeline operation splitting his property right down the middle. All the disruption of the operation has led to stress and left dry mares incapable of breeding. “The breeding percentages went down because of everything,” he says. It didn’t end there. McKee has lost more than a half dozen horses to dust pneumonia, casualties of the pipeline operation, left unable to breathe as their lungs filled with dirt. Other horses that dodged the deadly respiratory condition ate dust that settled on the grass, wearing their teeth down, which left them to starve to death. A horse hit the fence put up by pipeline crews and broke its neck, and colts caught in the fence lost their lives. “They were screaming and dying, and I had to go get my gun and shoot

“After two intense meetings between TC lands people and Arnold, CAEPLA was able to help find a solution.”

Facing page: Mares and foals at Arnold McKee's ranch near and on the pipeline right-of-way. Above: Two genetically rare stallions act out aggressively after being separated from their mares and put in pens to protect them from pipeline construction.

them,” McKee says. “These things happen when there is construction and stupidity.” When McKee took his concerns to the pipeline officials, it got him nowhere. “Nobody was listening,” he says. “They destroyed the place,” McKee says of his land, which has the pipeline running through his foaling pasture and huge piles of dirt left about the place. “I have great pride in this place, but I feel like I’ve been invaded.” Last summer, the construction crew asked McKee to move his stallions from out in the field and into pens. That was the last straw for McKee.

“A horse hit the fence put up by pipeline crews and broke its neck, and colts caught in the fence lost their lives.”

With the help of Dave Core, CAEPLA’S director of special projects, McKee managed to get the pipeline company to pay to build those extra pens along with compensation for all the issues, he says, but it was a struggle. “Arnold called me asking if I’d deal with TC Energy’s lands people, as he was too stressed. He felt they would not listen to him when he explained his concerns about what had happened to his horses during the construction of the Keystone in 2010, and didn’t want his horses endangered again,” Core says. “The situation kept escalating and I visited his ranch to see and understand his horse-breeding operation. Arnold wasn’t against the pipeline being built — he just wanted it built in the winter when it wouldn’t disrupt and endanger his horses. TC said winter construction wasn’t possible for them on the Keystone XL. After two intense meetings between TC lands people and Arnold, CAEPLA was able to help find a solution that worked for TC’s construction schedule and the safety of Arnold’s horses.” “What Dave and I accomplished was huge and I’m proud of working with him to get what we did. But as he says, it’s not over, we are still in the battle,” McKee says of the bittersweet success that only goes so far. “How do you replace genetics that can’t be replaced?” 

Nadia Moharib is a multimedia news reporter who loves to serve as a voice for the underdog and tell the story behind the story. Always curious, she seeks opportunities to make a difference.

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B Y A N T O N Y P. M U E L L E R

iStock/ amphotora; jangeltun; grebenru; George Peters

What Would a World Without Property Rights Look Like? No Privacy, no property: The world in 2030 according to the WEF

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F

“The use of natural resources will be brought down to a minimum … a global agency would set the price of CO2 emissions at an extremely high level to disincentivize its use.”

ounded 50 years ago, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has gained increasing prominence over the decades. Today, it’s one of the leading platforms of futuristic thinking and planning. As a meeting place of the global elite, the WEF brings together leaders in business and politics, along with a few selected intellectuals. The main thrust of the forum is global control. Free markets and individual choice do not stand as the top values; state interventionism and collectivism do. According to the projections and scenarios coming from the World Economic Forum, individual liberty and private property are to disappear from this planet by 2030.

iStock/ amphotora; jangeltun; grebenru; George Peters

Eight predictions Individual liberty is at risk again. What may lie ahead was projected in November 2016 when the WEF published 8 Predictions for the World in 2030. According to the WEF’s scenario, the world will become quite a different place, because how people work and live will undergo a profound change. The scenario for the world in 2030 is more than just a forecast — it is a plan, one whose implementation has accelerated drastically with the announcement of a pandemic and the consequent lockdowns. According to the projections of

the WEF’s Global Future Councils, private property and privacy will be abolished during the next decade. The coming expropriation would go further than even the communist demand to abolish the property of production goods but leave space for private possessions. The WEF projection says that consumer goods, too, would no longer be private property. If the WEF projection should come true, people would have to rent and borrow their necessities from the state, which would be the sole proprietor of all goods. The supply of goods would be rationed in line with a social credit points system. Shopping in the traditional sense would disappear, along with the private purchases of goods. Every personal move would be tracked electronically, and all production would be subject to the requirements of clean energy and a sustainable environment. In order to attain “sustainable agriculture,” the food supply will be mainly vegetarian. In the new totalitarian service economy, the government would provide basic accommodation, food and transport, while the rest would be lent by the state. The use of natural resources would be brought down to a minimum. In cooperation with a few key countries, a global agency would set the price of CO2 emissions at an extremely high level to disincentivize the use of carbon. In a promotional video, the World Economic Forum summarizes the eight predictions in the following statements:

1

People will own nothing. Goods are either free of charge or must be borrowed from the state.

2

The United States will no longer be the leading superpower, but a handful of countries will dominate.

3

Organs will not be transplanted, but printed.

4

Meat consumption will be minimized.

5

Massive displacement of people will take place, with billions of refugees.

6

To limit the emission of carbon dioxide, a global price will be set at an exorbitant level.

7

People can prepare to go to Mars and start a journey to find alien life.

8

Western values will be tested to the breaking point.

Beyond privacy and property In a publication for the World Economic Forum, the Danish ecoactivist Ida Auken, who served as her country’s minister of the environment from 2011 to 2014 and is still a member of the Danish parliament, the Folketing, has elaborated a scenario of a world without privacy or property.

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In “Welcome to 2030,” she envisions a world where “I own nothing, have no privacy, and life has never been better.” By 2030, so says her scenario, shopping and owning have become obsolete, because everything that once was a product is now a service. In this idyllic new world of hers, people have free access to transportation, accommodation, food “and all the things we need in our daily lives.” As these things will become free of charge, “it ended up not making sense for us to own much.” There would be no private ownership of houses, nor would anyone pay rent, “because someone else is using our free space whenever we do not need it.” A person’s living room, for example, could be used for business meetings when one were absent. Concerns like “lifestyle diseases, climate change, the refugee crisis, environmental degradation, completely congested cities, water pollution, air pollution, social unrest and unemployment” are things of the past. Auken predicts that people will be happy to enjoy a life that is so much better “than the path we were on, where it became so clear that we could not continue with the same model of growth.”

Ecological paradise In her 2019 contribution to the Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils of the World Economic Forum, Auken foretells how the world may look in the future “if we win the war on climate change.” By 2030, CO2 emissions will be reduced greatly, people will live in a

world where meat on the dinner plate “will be a rare sight” while water and the air will be much cleaner than today. Because of the shift from buying goods to using services, the need to have money will vanish, because people will spend less and less on goods. Work time will shrink and leisure time will grow. For the future, Auken envisions a city where electric cars have supplanted conventional combustion vehicles. Most of the roads and parking spaces will have become green parks and walking zones for pedestrians. By 2030, agriculture will offer mainly plant-based alternatives to the food supply instead of meat and dairy products. The use of land to produce animal feed will greatly diminish and nature will be spreading across the globe again.

Manufacturing consent for the great reset How can people be brought to accept such a system? The bait to entice the masses is the assurances of comprehensive healthcare and a guaranteed basic income. The promoters of the Great Reset promise a world without diseases. Due to biotechnologically produced organs and individualized genetics-based medical treatments, a drastically increased life expectancy and even immortality are said to be possible. Artificial intelligence could eradicate death and eliminate disease and mortality. The race is on among biotechnology companies to find the key to eternal life. Along with the promise of turning any ordinary person into a godlike

superman, the promise of a “universal basic income” is highly attractive, particularly to those who will no longer find a job in the new digital economy. Obtaining a basic income without having to go through the treadmill and disgrace of applying for social assistance is used as a bait to get the support of the poor. To make it economically viable, the guarantee of a basic income would require the levelling of wage differences. The technical procedures of the money transfer from the state will be used to promote the cashless society. With the digitization of all monetary transactions, each individual purchase will be registered. As a consequence, the governmental authorities would have unrestricted access to supervise in detail how individuals spend their money. A universal basic income in a cashless society would provide the conditions to impose a social credit system and deliver the mechanism to sanction undesirable behaviour and identify the superfluous and unwanted.

Whom will the new rulers be? The World Economic Forum is silent about the question of who will rule in this new world. There is no reason to expect that the new power-holders would be benevolent. Yet even if the top decision-

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iStock/ George Peters

“By 2030, agriculture will offer mainly plant-based alternatives to the food supply instead of meat and dairy products. The use of land to produce animal feed will greatly diminish and nature will be spreading across the globe again.”

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“The world is getting greener and a fall in the growth rate of the world population is already underway. These trends are the natural consequence of wealth creation through free markets.”

iStock/ George Peters

makers of the new world government were not mean, but just technocrats, what reason would an administrative technocracy have to go on with the undesirables? What sense does it make for a technocratic elite to turn the common man into a superman? Why share the benefits of artificial intelligence with the masses and not keep the wealth for the chosen few? Not being swayed away by the utopian promises, a sober assessment of the plans must come to the conclusion that in this new world, there would be no place for the average person and that they would be put away along with the “unemployable,” “feeble minded,” and “ill bred.” Behind the preaching of the progressive gospel of social justice by the promoters of the Great Reset and the establishment of a new world order lurks the sinister project of eugenics, which as a technique is now called “genetic engineering” and as a movement is named “transhumanism,” a term coined by Julian Huxley, the first director of UNESCO. The promoters of the project keep silent about who will be the rulers in this new world. The dystopian and collectivist nature of these projections and plans is the result of the rejection of free capitalism. Establishing a better world through a dictatorship is a contradiction in terms.

and less state planning. The world is getting greener and a fall in the growth rate of the world population is already underway. These trends are the natural consequence of wealth creation through free markets. The World Economic Forum and its related institutions, in combination with a handful of governments and a few high-tech companies, want to lead the world into a new era without property or privacy. Values like individualism, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are at stake, to be repudiated in favour of collectivism and the imposition of a “common good” that is defined by the self-proclaimed elite of technocrats. What is sold to the public as the promise of equality and ecological sustainability is in fact an assault on human dignity and liberty. Instead of using the new technologies as an instrument of betterment, the Great Reset seeks to use the technological possibilities as a tool of enslavement. In this new world order, the state is the single owner of everything. It is left to our imagination to figure out who will program the algorithms that manage the distribution of the goods and services. 

Free markets are the key Not less but more economic prosperity is the answer to the current problems. Therefore, we need more free markets

Dr. Antony P. Mueller is a German professor of economics who currently teaches in Brazil.

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BY DANNY LE ROY

Are Agricultural Land and Commodity Prices About to Soar?

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I

was asked recently about the direction of farmland and commodity prices as we enter what appears to be a major inflationary period.

Paraphrasing Yogi Berra, it is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future. What is known is that 2021 began with prices for agricultural crops approaching and hitting five-year highs across the board: wheat, oats, corn,

flax, peas, lentils, canola, soybeans, soybean oil and soybean meal. There was no new information about supply and demand conditions of any crop in any region to justify the recent run up of prices. And it's not just crop prices that are rising and reaching multi-

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It looks like it. But inflation can be confusing — and dangerous…


“Other winners include owners of land and other physical assets that retain their value.” year highs. Look at the prices for crude oil and industrial metals like copper, stock market indices and of course, land prices. Prices rising in concert like this is very unusual. It is especially peculiar in an environment where business activity and consumer purchasing patterns have been stifled by the policy responses to COVID. Some have suggested the surge in futures prices may be the outworking of extraordinary interest among speculators. With record low interest rates there are fewer financial alternatives offering the potential for high yields.

iStock/ nasenmann; Drazen

Bank of Canada bond buying spree A more compelling explanation is the record growth in the money supply. The Bank of Canada, the Federal Reserve Bank in the United States and central banks elsewhere are printing money like it's going out of style. Central banks are doing this to partially monetize record government budget deficits and to prevent interest rates from rising. From April through December 2020, the Bank of Canada bought Government of Canada bonds at the rate of $25.5 billion per month. This is the fastest pace of producing Canadian dollars in 30 years. In the United States over the same nine months, the supply of U.S. dollars increased at a rate of US$348 billion per month. With each passing day, the number of Canadian and U.S. dollars in the world is much less scarce. With an increase in the supply of money, some of the purchasing power

of the previous stock of money is conferred to the owners of the newly created money. The result is that the purchasing power of each monetary unit is reduced. The consequences are profoundly distorting, which makes individual decision-making even more challenging. The commodity price boom and stock market highs are evidence of a decreasing purchasing power of money brought about by inflation. At this time, commodity prices are not rising because of changes in the demand and supply for them. Stock prices are not rising because of record corporate earnings. Rather, we are witnessing a fall in the purchasing power of our money. With inflation, people need more money to buy the things they want. Having all prices going up is a reflection of the value of paper money going down.

Effects of inflation can’t be avoided… This trend may continue for two reasons. With government spending outpacing revenue collection in Canada and elsewhere, borrowing has reached unprecedented levels. To fill the expanding shortfall, central banks will buy more government bonds. In exchange, central banks will supply more currency to the Treasury. And to keep interest rates low as the demand for debt grows, central banks will pur-

chase more financial assets, including government debt. This will further fuel new money creation and lead to further debasement of our money. Until the borrowing stops, the interest rate rises, or both, the process will repeat with ever greater intensity. The effects of inflation create easily identifiable winners and losers. Inflation benefits large borrowers who, with rising prices, find it easier to pay back their debts with devalued money. Other winners include owners of land and other physical assets that retain their value. In contrast, inflation is detrimental for those who keep cash savings, those on fixed incomes and for workers with fixed wages. The irrefutable effects of inflation cannot be avoided. They don’t appear right away, as it takes time for the effects to manifest, but appear they will. Inflation depreciates the value of our money. It raises our cost of living. It wipes out the value of our cash savings. It motivates us to spend now while discouraging us from saving for the future. It complicates business planning, especially production activities requiring long periods of time. And it results in a diversion of wealth from wealth generators toward the holders of newly created money. While owning physical assets is a means of hedging against the effects of inflation, inflation is bad news for the creation of wealth. 

Danny Le Roy, PhD., is an economics professor at the University of Lethbridge where he is also coordinator of the Agricultural Studies program. Areas of research include commodity production, marketing and trade, government interventionism and Austrian Economics. He blogs occasionally at mises.ca.

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BY CK REEDER

Landowners will benefit from pipelines, but they need to remain vigilant

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Canadian Oil & Gas Poised for Growth in the Post-COVID Economy


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“Politicians are incompetent and dishonest, and their no-sanction international climate agreements don’t really mean much.”

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lot of people see only grim prospects for Western Canada’s petroleum sector. I think the future looks pretty bright. In 2020, oil prices were hammered by the peculiar combination of the virus panic and the struggle for market share between the Saudis and Russians. At the same time, bureaucrats and politicians speak of using the economic recovery phase to reconfigure massive swaths of the economy as if the virus panic is coterminous with the alleged climate-change crisis. Oil is a big bogeyman here. But a lot of people seem to be overlooking basic reality. Even at the lowest point in 2020, Alberta oil production never fell below the low point of 2017. It’s almost back to where it was at the beginning of the year. Alberta’s total production has nearly doubled since the 2008 financial crisis and it’s going to continue growing. A lot. As a percentage of total energy consumed, oil consumption will fall in the coming decades, however the total amount of crude consumed will increase. Last year, the world consumed about 98 million barrels of oil per day. In 15 years, the world will be consuming around 110 million of those barrels unless something apocalyptic happens. Natural gas consumption will also grow.

Total consumption will increase, especially in poorer countries. The increasing supply will come mainly from the U.S., Russia, Brazil and Canada. Now how will Western Canada participate in meeting that demand? Major increases in pipeline capacity are forthcoming with the Trans Mountain Expansion and Line 3 Replacement. While Keystone XL has been kiboshed by President Joe Biden, there is still the major Louisiana-toIllinois Capline reversal, which is underway, and the proposed 2,600kilometre “A2A” jumbo project (Alaska to Alberta Rail). At the same time, U.S. oil production will fall significantly next year because so much shale production is uneconomical at prevailing prices. When Alberta’s export capacity increases, there is going to be a lot of volume to fill. With a lot of hostile signals from government and various high-profile cancellations (including the $20 billion TECK project), it is unlikely that there will be another oilsands megaproject to be proposed, much less completed, in at least the next decade. Oilsands is like tobacco these days — it’s not a “sexy” investment in the world of big finance. So a lot of this growth will come from expansions to existing oilsands projects. This likely suits the current biggest oilsands producers just fine. But to further support supply increases, there will also be more conventional production because it requires a lot less upfront capital and

“Landowners [should] expect to see plenty of action in the next decade when it comes to pipeline issues.”

doesn’t need to be “respectable” to big investors and bankers.

Pipelines help keep farmers’ transport costs down More than 80 per cent of oil production in Alberta comes from oilsands. In the last several years, conventional production declined the most in relative terms. That means it has more to gain proportionally as market conditions improve. A $5 to $10 per-barrel reduction in transportation costs (pipeline versus rail) changes the scope of opportunity for a lot of conventional investments. It also reduces strain on rail capacity, reducing transport costs for other sectors, including agriculture. The truly massive Coastal GasLink pipeline is also underway, and it needs huge production to address Asia’s desperate need for cheap energy. But even just in the domestic market, a lot of coal energy must be replaced with natural gas. The main headwinds facing Canada’s petroleum industry are related to politics, not markets. It is certainly possible for Ottawa to simply destroy Canada’s industries by making them pathetically uncompetitive. Despite the moral grandstanding of various politicians, this is not a foregone conclusion. Politicians are incompetent and dishonest, and their no-sanction international climate agreements don’t really mean much. So should landowners expect plenty of action in the next decade when it comes to oil and pipeline issues? Seems like it. 

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BY ANNETTE SCHINBORN

Property Rights and Contracts

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t CAEPLA, we believe in protecting your property rights. One of the best ways of protecting those rights is through business agreements or contracts. Landowners are very familiar with contracts and how they work. You sign contracts when selling your grain,

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often before you even have placed the seed in the ground. You know and understand the value of having a contract, especially when you can lock in prices that are high rather than risk selling at a lower price. When it comes to biosecurity and protecting the health of your soils, contracts are the best way to protect your land. Relying on government to look out

for you or relying on the energy industry to follow vague protocols that are of no benefit to it leaves your property open to infestation and abuse. CAEPLA has seen it very clearly in the case of Manitoba Hydro on the Bipole III construction. Cleaning and disinfection of equipment was random at best, even when landowners patrolled their own property and watched closely.

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Healthy soil, healthy farms and healthy people


“It is in your best interest to ensure your soil is protected. Do not leave it to chance or think government has any ability to protect you.”

Biosecurity, spelled out What’s worse, the Manitoba government under Premier Brian Pallister allowed its Crown corporation to browbeat landowners and expropriate their property, rather than holding the company to account and requiring it to negotiate an agreement with landowners — including a biosecurity protocol that would be spelled out in a contract. In contrast, CAEPLA and its members on the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement pipeline worked together to get the precedent-setting, robust biosecurity protocol in a win-win business agreement — a contract — that gave landowners confidence and peace of mind that their soil was being protected. When the equipment moved in, there was a very specific agreement on how your land was going to be treated to protect against invasive weeds like leafy spurge and soil diseases like clubroot. And an independent CAEPLA construction monitor was there to ensure the protocol was followed according to the agreement. You can’t depend on other people to protect your property for you. We each have to take responsibility for our soil, and by extension our property values, and put our own measures in place in the form of a biosecurity protocol. CAEPLA has worked with landowners who have various standards of biosecurity protocols.

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Don’t leave anything to chance Landowners growing vegetables like tomatoes have very strong biosecurity protocols in order to meet with Canada Food Agency licensing agreements.

Landowners growing potatoes have their own protocols to meet with the standards of their operations. Other landowners have varying degrees of stringency in their biosecurity protocols. Of course, some landowners don’t bother thinking through and drafting a biosecurity protocol for their farms, trusting everything to chance or for someone else to protect them. The health of your soil is not just the lifeblood of your farm, it’s your livelihood. Soil health is essential to your farm produce, your business, your net worth and your family legacy. It needs to be protected at all costs. It is in your best interest to ensure your soil is protected from industrial or recreational activity and even political activists wanting access to your property. Do not leave it to chance or think government has any ability to protect you. Maintaining soil health involves not only developing protocols that keep out or limit the spread of weeds or disease. It also involves giving your soil the proper nutrition. Hiring agronomists to test your soil so you can supplement where there are deficiencies also helps keep your soil healthy. Being proactive and establishing other protocols such as crop rotation, planting cover crops, using livestock as well as no-tillage are additional measures that can be taken to improve soil health. Farmers and ranchers are very aware of the effects of poor soil nutrition and the invasiveness of weeds or disease. It is something you work with 24/7/365. You are aware of the importance of putting protocols in place that

protect your soil so it is healthy and productive. In this time when everyone globally is acutely aware and focused on disease and health, we can draw some parallels between soil health and diseases and ourselves. We can ask ourselves, are we depending on government to “protect” us, or are we being proactive, taking measures and developing our own biosecurity protocols to keep us healthy?

Security for soil, farm and family Your property rights include the right to enter freely into contracts that protect your interests down to the smallest detail. Contracts empower you to guard against liabilities and protect yourself against vulnerabilities as you see fit. CAEPLA and others have long lamented that property rights are not really recognized or protected in Canada. But we can still make the moral case for our property rights, and by understanding them, protect them with contract law as best we can. More than ever, people are waking up to the reality that government cannot protect them or their livelihood. When government services are not at risk of being overwhelmed, government intervention often makes matters worse. Property rights are our best bet to safeguard soil, farm and family. 

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BY ANNE MORRIS

Pipeline Bullies Leave Landowners Feeling Helpless and Alone

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alarie Urquhart looks out her window to a land she loves. It’s a stunning setting not far from Valemount, B.C., a place she shares with wildlife, with a quiet serenity only nature can deliver. But the woman says the headaches

and hassles of dealing with pipeline workers and officials on her land has become exhausting. “They are bullies,” she says. “They have the government behind them and the energy board behind them…and no lawyer will take a landowner on because they will lose.”

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iStock/ borisz; javarman3

The dark side of living with the TMX project in your backyard


iStock/ borisz; javarman3

“I’ve had guys working here thinking it is hilarious to be running down horses or wildlife with quads or snowmobiles.”

Although the relationship between the pipeline workers and Urquhart deteriorated quickly, it wasn’t always tense. And it didn’t have to be. Urquhart purchased the land, which is about 120 acres, in 1994 hoping, with a little mutual respect, she and the pipeline project could co-exist. “I thought I would just be a good neighbour and allow [workers] to access my property,” she says. “How stupid was I?” Over the years, workers have stolen her Wi-Fi, slowing her internet connection. They put locks on her gates, which once kept her from accessing a horse that was sick with cancer. Urquhart says pipeline officials “had a great, big laugh” when she complained. The antagonistic relationship fuels Urquhart’s fears about the future of the land she loves, with its mountain views and pastures, old and young growth, marsh and creeks. And the difficult history leaves her worried about the welfare of wildlife on her land: the bears, moose, white-tailed deer, moose and cougars, wolf packs and coyotes. “I’ve had guys working here thinking it is hilarious to be running down horses or wildlife with quads or snowmobiles,” she says. Years ago, Urquhart spent months earning the trust of two horses rescued from the Kelowna fires. That was lost when pipeline workers showed up in a chopper. “They were flying low and chasing

the horses because they wanted to land in my pasture, so they thought they better move them,” Urquhart says of the dramatic ordeal. “It traumatized them. During the fires, they rounded up the horses with helicopters and herded them into livestock trailers.” The reaction by pipeline officials after that incident illustrated just how broken any good-neighbourly relations really were. “When I complained, the rep laughed at me. It was just a great big joke [to him],” she says. “It made me despise them.” Numerous landowners are frustrated and complain of being dismissed by the pipeline officials operating on their land. Some say when they are not ignored, they are bullied and harassed. At least two older women have turned to police saying they are being bullied by pipeline officials. Many won’t speak out publicly for fear of retribution. And according to those willing to, that is testament to a divide-and-conquer approach employed by pipeline officials. Urquhart knows she is not alone, but says dealing with the ugliness of having a pipeline on her property has left her feeling that way. “I feel ridiculed and disregarded,” the retired military aircraft instrument and electrical technician says. “I’m disgusted, depressed, angry and I feel betrayed. They will do whatever they want and I can agree

to it or disagree to it. They are going to destroy the property, threaten the animals and won’t do clean-up.” Fellow landowner, Maria Lerch, found what she was looking for when she and her husband, Gerhard, bought an acreage to raise their children. Lerch says land agents were initially annoying but seemingly innocuous, stopping by for discussions about “all the good things we weren’t interested in.” They mailed cheques the family never cashed and brought papers they never signed. In 2016, the couple’s eldest son was diagnosed with lymphoma and that, Lerch says, is when pipeline officials preyed upon their vulnerability. “When that all happened, we were not thinking clearly,” Lerch says. They lost their son in October, and in January the land agent was back — only this time, the couple signed the documents. “He told us, ‘I am sorry for your loss, but I still have to bug you,’” Lerch recalls. “I couldn’t deal with it. His tactic was to choose our weakest moment for us signing after years. That constant pressure was hard on us. It was nerve-wracking.” 

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BY ELIZ ABETH BRUBAKER

The Best of Pipeline Observer

Replacing Expropriation with Voluntary Exchange

This story originally appeared in the inaugural 2015 issue of Pipeline Observer

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W

hat is the biggest economic and environmental problem that needs to be solved in Canada? For me, that’s an easy question. Our biggest problem is that we don’t have strong and secure property rights in this country. In many cases, resource users don’t have clearly defined, exclusive, perpetual, transferable, enforceable rights. Property rights internalize the costs and benefits of resource use — they ensure that people experience the consequences of their actions. As a result, they create incentives for sustainable use. Property rights also provide tools to protect resources from outside threats. They give people the legal right to say “no” to developments that harm them, their land or their water.

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iStock/ shotbydave

A process truly compatible with the free market would replace regulatory hearings with a property rights approach


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“When landowner buy-in is required, proponents have to take care to avoid damage. They have to build reputations as companies that landowners want to deal with.”

Even when people do, nominally, have property rights, their rights aren’t secure — they can be expropriated. It’s no exaggeration to say that the history of environmental law is a history of expropriation. Governments have used pollution permits and liability limits to expropriate our common-law property rights to clean

air and water. This was the focus of my first book, Property Rights in the Defence of Nature. My current focus is on the expropriation of land — the taking of land without the permission of the owner. Why should an environmentalist be concerned about this? First, environmentally destructive mega-projects often rely on expropriation. The developers of hydro-dams expropriate the land they will flood. The developers of pipelines, transmission lines, and sprawl-inducing highways likewise take land, or an easement on it. Large-scale water diversion projects — an issue many environmentalists are especially concerned about — could never go ahead without expropriation. There’s another environmental problem that grows out of expropriation: it diminishes developers’ incentives to take care. In the 1970s, when pipeline companies had carte blanche to take the land they needed, they were notorious for riding roughshod over landowners. A lawyer for one company actually told an expropriation judge: “We can go in and make a wasteland of these farms if we want to.” When landowner buy-in is required, proponents have to take care to avoid damage. They have to build reputations as companies that landowners want to deal with. And so they have to site, construct and operate their projects more respectfully. Expropriation isn’t just bad for the environment. It’s also bad for the economy. It creates an artificial decision-making process, where full costs can’t be known. It doesn’t reveal the cost to the person who is losing his

land. The market value compensation he gets is often well below his subjective value. As a result, expropriation reduces the cost to the party that is getting the land. It’s a subsidy — it allows developers to acquire land at below-market prices. It’s important to remember this: expropriation isn’t just a taking — it’s also a “giving.” This may lead to inefficient decisions. Owners may well value their land more than the parties that are benefiting from the takings. That doesn’t happen under the free market. Voluntary exchanges move land to its highest-valued use. As with any subsidy, expropriation can lead to an oversupply of a good. You get more of a subsidized good than you would in the free market — more development, more roads and longer transmission lines. Subsidies encourage rent-seeking or wasteful investment in political lobbying. The subsidies provided by expropriation can be worth millions, and can provide one party with a significant competitive advantage. This gives parties a big incentive to obtain the power to expropriate. It leads to attempts to influence those who might give it to them — through lobbying, threats to relocate and, of course, campaign contributions. This has the potential to corrupt the political process. Widespread expropriation also has an insidious effect on the economy by undermining investors’ confidence that their property will be secure. This encourages short-term rather than long-term thinking. Expropriation also saps public morale. I recently reviewed thousands

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“Who knows what alternatives might emerge if proponents of projects couldn’t expropriate?” of comments about an expropriation in Ontario. What struck me was the palpable sense of bitterness — the sense that the citizen had no chance against the state. As one writer put it: “It’s David vs. Goliath, but Goliath always wins.” There are virtually no rules governing takings. Everything is left to the discretion of governments. The federal Expropriation Act authorizes the Crown to expropriate any interest in land that, in the opinion of the minister, is required for a public purpose. In Alberta, for instance, the Expropriation Act doesn’t even require a public purpose. The act does provide for public hearings into proposed expropriations, but the hearings don’t allow owners to challenge the objectives of the expropriating authority. And they aren’t binding on the expropriating authority — indeed, their findings are routinely ignored. Across the country, a number of laws give private parties the power to expropriate. Energy companies can expropriate for projects that the

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National Energy Board has approved. In Ontario, the same is true for projects with Ontario Energy Board approval. New Brunswick doesn’t just give this power to energy companies — it allows “any person … who requires an expropriation for commercial, industrial or utility purposes” to file an application for an expropriation by the government. Our laws provide expropriators with extraordinary latitude. They replace the rule of law with something arbitrary and capricious. They also blur the distinction between private and public land. They tell us that our property doesn’t exist independently of governments — the government can giveth, and the government can taketh away. If expropriation is bad for the environment, the economy and public morale, this raises the question: can development ever be truly sustainable if it relies on expropriation? I’m not sure it can be. So how might we begin to curb the use of expropriation?

One approach that developers might explore is the reverse auction. In the last 15 years, governments and the private sector have used this tool to procure goods and services. Why not try it for land? Landowners could vie for the opportunity to sell land or easements. This process would keep costs competitive while ensuring that exchanges leave both the buyer and seller better off. If both parties don’t think they’ll benefit, they won’t sign the deal. If a developer isn’t able to acquire the land it wants at a reasonable price, so be it. It may have to work around an owner who refuses to sell. Or it may have to locate its project elsewhere. Things get murkier when we start talking about roads, railways, pipelines, transmission lines — projects one economist calls “long thin things.” Some of these projects are very important to our economy, and serve a genuine public purpose. In some cases, alternatives aren’t readily available. We worry that one “holdout” can stop a project or make it prohibitively expensive. On the other hand, respect for property rights is a fundamental principle of a free and prosperous society. If property rights mean anything, we have to figure out how we can respect them in these difficult situations. In order to do this, we have to grapple with a couple of issues. First, we should be looking at whether holdouts — the most common justification for expropriation — are a serious problem. There isn’t a lot of evidence that holdouts are — or are not — a genuine threat to development. Some scholars point out that holdouts don’t prevent private developers from assembling large parcels of land. But developers often use buying agents who don’t reveal the nature of the project. Secret assembly is neither

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feasible nor appropriate for many linear developments. Still, a proponent can take a page from the developers’ book. It can purchase options on land along several different routes. If it runs into a holdout along one route, it can choose a different route instead. It’s important to remember that holdouts have power only if no alternatives exist. A landowner can hold out only if he can act as a monopolist. If a developer can go around him, or choose another route, the holdout loses his advantage. It’s also important to remember that strategic holdouts aren’t going to demand too much for too long. Landowners will understand that if they demand too much, the project won’t go ahead — or it will go around them — and they’ll get nothing. So are holdouts a fatal problem? We don’t have enough information to know for certain. There’s some evidence that suggests “no.” Private toll roads have been built using voluntary sales. And private power producers have negotiated easements for transmission lines. One told me that landowners usually want the extra income a line will bring. But they also want to negotiate the exact location of the line and its proper construction and maintenance. The key thing is that they have to be in control. But what if the holdout problem does exist? If that’s the case, we should be investigating ways to get around it. There are many things that could be tried — but no one with the power to expropriate has an incentive to do so. Expropriation is like that — it stifles innovation. Who knows what alternatives might emerge if proponents of projects couldn’t expropriate? The answer may lie in more generous compensation formulas. Compensation generally reflects the land’s current market value, rather

“Another option might involve using property tax breaks to elicit the promise of cooperation from landowners well in advance of any specific project.” than the value of the land once it has been developed. It’s the expropriator that captures the extra value. This isn’t fair — many people invest in land, expecting to eventually reap a surplus from trade. Perhaps we should consider tying compensation to the benefits that the new use will create. Another option that might be worth exploring is the combinatorial auction, where groups of landowners would put together bids to host facilities. Combinatorial auctions have been used for spectrum rights, airport time slots and bus routes. I haven’t heard of the concept being applied to corridors of land, but one economist thinks it might provide a workable alternative to expropriation. Another possibility might involve using property tax breaks to elicit the promise of cooperation from landowners well in advance of any specific project. Landowners could opt in to future land sales at x per cent above assessed value — the higher the compensation demanded, the lower the tax break. A siting process that is truly compatible with the free market would replace the current regulatory hearings approach with a property rights approach. It would be a voluntary siting process in which proponents acquire land or easements from willing sellers on the open market. It would doubtless be difficult and expensive. But the current regulatory process is cumbersome, it’s costly, it’s not bringing people on side, and it’s not moving projects forward quickly. A voluntary siting process might actually be faster and more effective. In the end, under a property rights approach, there would doubtless be

some genuine holdouts — landowners who refuse to sell not for strategic reasons but because their land is priceless to them. If they really value their land that much, expropriating them could be inefficient. The projects might not be worth the costs, making them socially undesirable. A property rights approach might mean that some projects wouldn’t go ahead. More often, I suspect, we would simply get crooked developments — pipelines that zig and zag, and roads that twist and turn. These developments might seem more expensive — pipelines might require more pumps at the corners, and traffic might have to slow on highways. But in fact, they wouldn’t be more expensive overall — it’s just that the developers and the users, rather than the landowners, would be bearing the costs. The theory is enticingly simple: respect for property rights and markets; voluntary, rather than forced, exchanges; no subsidies for land acquisition; no arbitrary exercises of government authority. The application will be hard — really hard. But it’s a challenge worth taking on. 

Elizabeth Brubaker is executive director of Environment Probe and author of Expropriation in Canada: Discretion Masquerading as Law. Visit environmentprobe.org.

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A look at the lay of the land around the TMX project at Laidlaw, B.C.

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s CAEPLA works to get the word out on the impacts pipeline development can have on communities when pursued recklessly, I thought it would be helpful to paint as much of the picture as I can. To illustrate the situation currently unfolding on a community

hit hard by the federally owned Trans Mountain Expansion project (TMX) and “our” shiny new Energy & Reconciliation regulatory agency, I offer the following sketch. Laidlaw is a small rural community just south of Hope, B.C., landlocked by the Fraser River on one side and mountains on the other and literally bisected by the TransCanada Highway. The small portion on the east

side of the highway, landlocked by the mountains and the TransCanada, happens to host the Trans Mountain pipeline and retains the full length of Laidlaw road, a short road paralleling the highway, dead-ending at cloverleafs about six kilometres apart. I would imagine, just like me, the majority of British Columbians have driven by this community on the TransCanada Highway many times

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“It actually was an idyllic, secluded village until Trans Mountain decided to overrun it with a huge pipe yard at one end and a 350-person construction camp at the other.” without noticing it. It is not until you look at a Google map that you realize its isolation. These days, you can’t help but notice it — the pipe storage yard is pretty hard to miss.

Once an idyllic, scenic village It might be easy to dismiss these folks’ concerns until you get a clearer picture of this community’s uniqueness in this very crowded corridor. It actually was an idyllic, secluded village until Trans Mountain decided to overrun it with a huge pipe yard at one end and a 350-person construction camp at the other end of its only thoroughfare. The pipeline construction alone is more than enough industrial development for such a small landlocked valley community no bigger than three square km. A quick look at Laidlaw on Google Maps highlights the community’s unusual uniqueness and isolation in what would otherwise be a simple rural landscape. You will see that this small rural valley community at the base of the mountains is framed by impervious borders, the mountains behind and the freeway in front with only the two exits six km apart on one single road. Pull the image back a little and you can see the Northeast entrance/ exit off the TransCanada Highway to Laidlaw Road at Thompson’s Landing, and about six km later the Southwest cloverleaf entrance/exit at that end of Laidlaw Road. Now if you bring the map in closer, about two km southwest of Thompson’s Landing is the “Hope

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Scale.” Almost directly across from the scale is the entranceway to the new 350-person Trans Mountain Ohamil Construction Camp, built under special exemption from environmental, cultural and consultation conditions. On the outdated Google map it still shows up as forest as part of the Ohamil 1 reserve land (the previous forest included identified endangered Oregon forest snails and archeological sites). Last year that forest was bulldozed (cleared) for the barren temporary construction camp while at the other end the same was done for the temporary pipe yard. Less than four km farther along, just before you get to the southwest exit to the highway, is the huge Trans Mountain pipe yard.

Pipeline landowners explain In between are the people of Laidlaw with their many small homes, acreages, farmland and one dairy farm that backs up to the highway and wildlife. It was never intended to be an industrial development or an encampment for four times its population. Now let’s hear from several of the locals — I have agreed to withold their names entirely as many have expressed fears they will be harassed by land agents or others for speaking freely about the sadness they are experiencing with what is being done to their once-happy hamlet. “Most of us over the years have located in Laidlaw because of the sparse, widely spaced population. This provides the opportunity for enormous ‘solitude benefits’ in a natural environment. Bears, cougar, bobcat and coy-

ote are only a few of the animals that inhabit the area. The dramatic increase in population, traffic and heavy machinery and the clearing of forest has and will change our community.” “Bears with their cubs hang out in the old fruit trees just outside my front window and salmon swim up the creek in my backyard.” “The replacement of the pipeline was really all this community and our natural environment could really bear, we accepted the pipe yard to show our support for the old pipeline replacement, but then to have Trans Mountain and the CER underhandedly overwhelm our community with this camp using the local First Nations as their scapegoat is just too much.” I could continue sharing the testimony of these directly affected folk. But the point is any community would be overwhelmed by so much uncontrolled and “temporary” development. Understanding the geographic and boundary issues in the Laidlaw situation will, I hope, allow the public to appreciate the appalling impact government is having on real people and wildlife with its recklessly mismanaged and under-supervised TMX project. 

Dave Core is managing partner at Dave Core and Associates, a consulting firm specializing in land management, property rights and agribusiness. He was president and CEO of CAEPLA from 2000 to 2018.

PIPEL INE OBSERV ER CAEPL A .ORG

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CAEPLA WORKSHOP SERIES

The CAEPLA Workshop Series Designed as a service to landowners.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR CONTINUED LEARNING COVER TOPICS SUCH AS: HOW TO CROSS THE LINE - SAFELY

Take the guesswork out of moving your equipment over pipeline rights of way.

PIPELINE CONSTRUCTION 101

Everything you need to know about the life of a pipeline.

“THE TOPICS AND

THE OPPORTUNITY TO INTERACT ARE VERY MUCH APPRECIATED. IT IS ALWAYS INTERESTING TO LEARN ABOUT THE INDUSTRY.”

REMEDIATION 101

INTEGRITY DIGS

What they are, what’s involved and what landowners should know. BIOSECURITY

Everything you need to know about protecting and restoring soil after pipeline construction. PROTECTING PROPERTY RIGHTS

How developing and enforcing a biosecurity protocol protects your land. DECOMMISSIONING/ABANDONMENT

Why you need to know what you don’t know – the impact on you, when pipelines are left in place.

Look

“VERY INFORMATIVE

Know your rights—and how to stand up for them.

AND INTERESTING. CONTINUE WITH THE WORKSHOPS TO BUILD A CLOSER RELATIONSHIP WITH COMPANIES.”

RESEARCH

Why you need to be involved in driving research that protects your soil and your property from energy project infrastructure.

ear!

this y u o y g n i e e s o t forward caepla.org

For more information contact: admin@caepla.org or 306-522-5000 DON’T MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN MORE Brought to you by Enbridge and CAEPLA, Canada’s leading advocate for landowner safety and environmental stewardship. CAEPL A .ORG

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PIPEL INE OBSERV ER

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Deep roots. We didn’t start learning to drive a tractor at 10 years old. Or rise to the challenge of running the family farm. But we do help power the machinery that will empower generations of farmers to come. When the energy you invest in farming meets the energy we fuel it with, sustaining a nation happens.

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Profile for CAEPLA

PIPELINE OBSERVER Winter 2021  

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