Prime Minister Harper will likely make his decision on the Enbridge Pipeline in June. To prepare for the big day the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) is spending big bucks visiting communities through B.C. to generate support.

We’ve had two visits here in the Comox Valley. I attended one of them in Comox along with eight others including one of our elected officials. My purpose for attending was to do my due diligence as a taxpayer.

Every savvy investor knows that before buying into a project he or she should investigate the project thoroughly. This is called “doing your due diligence.” It compares the costs with the benefits and is particularly concerned with the money. As Deep Throat said to Robert Redford playing a reporter investigating the Watergate break-in in the movie All The President’s Men, “Follow the Money.”

The meeting with CAPP was all about money—particularly money in the form of Jobs for the Comox Valley. I was trying to follow the money, but it was impossible.

When CAPP said “Jobs” the magic happened. Most of the participants started talking about how they could use the money in the form of taxes—for schools, health care services, and municipal services.

But there was nothing about the specific number of jobs, the kinds of jobs and salary levels, the length of jobs, the credentials needed to get the jobs, the use of temporary foreign workers, the actual spinoff effects for local businesses, and so forth. CAPP just said “Jobs.” Then they sat back and let the participants do their work for them convincing one another that this was a “good deal.”

In terms of money there was no weighing of the net benefits and costs to the Comox Valley compared to what CAPP, Enbridge and their Multinational investors would get in terms of profits.

There was no discussion about what Comox Valley residents would get for their portion of the whopping $1.4 billion taxpayer dollars the feds were giving to the fossil fuel industry annually in terms tax cuts and subsidies.

Nor was there a discussion about the millions of more taxpayer dollars Mr. Harper and his cabinet were spending as they traipsed around the world promoting the Enbridge Pipeline.

Finally, the CAPP representatives didn’t let the conversation be soiled by discussions about tax-payer costs for spills, public health consequences, increased pollution climate change and its effect upon our Canadian economy. These things are not even in the CAPP Community Tour Playbook.

As I left the meeting I was sad.

I couldn’t help thinking of that $1.4 billions of taxpayer dollars Mr. Harper and company are sending to the fossil fuel industry each year. It is coming back at us to pay for CAPP’s Magical Mystery Tour. They want us to dream in Technicolor and buy a pig in a poke.

Mike Bell