Calvin Helin: Eagle Spirit pipeline update and eco-colonialism challenges

Written By Guest User, Posted on July 9, 2020

TNT had the opportunity to chat with Calvin Helin, a bestselling multi-award winning author, international speaker, entrepreneur, lawyer, activist for self-reliance, and the president and chair of Eagle Spirit Energy.

We’ll start with the Eagle Spirit pipeline, maybe give us a status update. How’s that going? What’s the plan moving forward there?

“We’ve been in a fundraising mode, we’re raising two sources of capital seed and project capital. Our project is four pipeline, energy corridor with two 48 inch LNG pipelines and two 48 inch oil pipelines. It’s a really enormous project. We’ve had a very large team essentially working on all of the documents we need for financing from items like our econometric model, which is incredibly complex, and answering all the questions about risk and doing risk analysis and so on and so forth. So we’ve moved down that road fairly significantly. And we are negotiating with a couple of really solid sources for our seed. And we have four large sources for our project capital.

Unfortunately, our progress has been slowed like everyone else’s by COVID. But we’re at the point now, where we’re at basically moving ahead with all of the details, we’ve done an analysis of the environmental side of what we’re doing, and the reductions in our approach taken to C02 are incredibly huge in and their real life impacts have been calculated by an engineering team. The amount of employment and economic benefit to Western Canada that would come from our project is staggering. We would like to proceed forward as quickly as possible to the next stage.”

Are you hopeful looking forward to that? Do you think you’ll get to that next stage and that eventually this pipeline will be approved? What sort of barriers still stand in your way?

“We haven’t wavered in our approach to what we’re doing. We originally took the position that the support of Indigenous people was critical to any project like this. We’ve had to deal with basically the environmental lobby that is really ghosting a lot of these decisions being made by our federal government, particularly the decision to establish the Great Bear Rainforest, which is a made up name by environmentalist Tzeporah Berman, who claims in her autobiography that she made it up in a cheap Italian restaurant. They’ve never even come into our community which is Lax Kw’alaams, northern BC to deal with consulting anybody on that.

So unfortunately, what we’re seeing is the dictates of a larger environmental movement, who have other interests, in particular, their interests in generating money for themselves. Because really, that’s what a lot of this big green activity is all about. Unfortunately, First Nations end up being pawns in their larger scheme of things. So what we’ve done to avoid that is we’ve secured a port just across the border in northern BC, for oil, and we’ve met with the senior government people in Alaska, we’ve been to Washington, DC and they’re completely supportive of what we’re doing and want to fast track it as much as they can. Unfortunately, it’ll end up with us putting a huge amount of infrastructure in the U.S. that could be in Canada providing Canadian jobs to people who need them in the northern part of British Columbia. But that’s the reality of what we’re dealing with.”

What’s the support level, like, from the communities that are along the proposed route?

“We’ve changed the route slightly so there are actually fewer First Nations territories that were going through, but the support hasn’t really wavered at all. And the reason for that is that people understand that pipelines are the safest way to transport any kind of fluid whether it’s natural gas or oil. We’re planning on shipping upgraded bitumen, not bitumen itself. We have a lot of First Nation support. The communities up in northern parts of Alberta and BC are dealing with 90% unemployment. When you consider right now, the mainstream unemployment rates are, you know, maybe 13%, and that at the height of the Great Depression in the 30s there was 25% unemployment. That is the unemployment rate in First Nations across Canada, southern and northern communities.”

“In the northern communities alone, it’s north of 90% unemployment. People desperately want work and to be able to have some meaning in their lives, be able to have opportunities for their families. In a perverse way, these environmental groups are stealing those opportunities from Indigenous people.” – Calvin Helin

Is this a form of eco colonialism? Are these green groups essentially taking away opportunity from Indigenous communities, just because of climate concerns? 

“Well, when you start analyzing the environmental movement, you start to recognize that the whole climate scare is really a way of scaring people into giving up lots of cash and creating changes that are completely unrelated to climate change. Michael Moore came out with his documentary which has almost 9 million viewers basically saying that the whole renewables industry essentially causes more fossil fuels to be burned because of all of the inefficiencies and other pollution that it causes. Recently another big name in the environmental movement, Michael Shellenberger came out with a Forbes article, apologizing for the environmental scare from the environmental movement, basically saying it’s not the worst environmental problem, that there’s other ways of addressing this.

There are cracks in the movement, people with a real conscience are finally seeing that a lot of the information that’s been put out there is just intended to scare people, in my opinion by ‘Big Green’ to extract cash from the rubes. Most people don’t spend a lot of time analyzing all of this. And as the former Minister of Environment in Canada, she said when she had too much to drink out in a bar in Newfoundland, and where it was recorded, that if you just keep repeating the same thing over and over, people will start believing it.”

I don’t think there’s any question that C02 is increasing. The question is, what can you do to make a difference to that? If you look at what’s happening in Canada right now, these environmental groups, by not allowing pipelines to be built, are resulting in Canada’s energy being shipped either to the Gulf from northern Alberta in northern BC, or to the east coast. And when you actually audit the amount of C02 that’s been expelled, it results in 5% of the energy being shipped for every thousand kilometers. So you’re putting out exponentially a much larger amount of C02 by sending oil or gas by pipeline or by rail down to the Gulf of Mexico, it has to go out into ships go through the Gulf, go through this extraordinarily long trip, cross to Asia, when it could be going to the west coast and straight out and it would reduce the C02 footprint by an enormous amount.

“So what we’re doing as a result of this environmental activism is putting more C02 into the air. It starts to make you wonder about why this is being done. Why has all of this activity been done? Well, there’s an agenda of progressivism or, you know, it’s sort of dressed up socialism or, and it’s also the self interest and ‘Big Green’ and generating cash. It’s very profitable for them.” – Calvin Helin

How can government’s, both provincial and federal, help projects like Eagle Spirit get built? 

“I think we need to recognize how important the energy industry is not to just Alberta or BC but to the entire nation and Western Canada in particular. It’s particularly galling for Westerners to see comments coming out of Quebecois politicians being very negative towards the energy industry and Alberta and so on and so forth when they’re extracting enormous wealth from Alberta. I think it’s approaching 300 billion over the time that these equalization payments have been in effect. But, you know, Canada has the petrodollar. It’s important, absolutely important to our economy. Seamus O’Regan, in a recent interview basically said, we aren’t going to have a recovery if we don’t get the energy industry back on track. So these issues are critical to the economic health of Canada.

There’s some statistics put out that Canada has the highest unemployment rate as a result of all of this COVID stuff in all the G7 countries. I don’t think a lot of younger people probably remember when Canada borrowed so much money at a time of high interest rates, that our dollar went down to around 60 cents and it was referred to as the northern peso, because of our debt situation. Well, we like to say where some kind of more advanced economy, but we’re hewers of wood and drawers of water. We are a natural resources economy. And we do it in a more environmentally sensible and with higher regulations than any other place on the planet. And so if somebody has a client that is providing natural resources to the planet, it should be Canada. And we can do it on a more environmental basis than anyone.

In particular Eagle Spirit’s environmental model, I think, reduces the amount of C02 output by something like four or five times the entire natural amount that Canada emits as a nation. It’s by applying basic common sense solutions that are real solutions, not pie in the sky. ideas about this and that. When you look at where Canada is, and where Indigenous people are, Indigenous people want to make the lives of their ordinary people better. They want to help their people in their community and they want to have employment. They want to have the same kinds of opportunities everybody else has.

“Instead, what this archaic, colonial reserve system has done is it’s isolated them on little islands, and in a kind of economic twilight zone, where there are no opportunities. And the only opportunities that come along generally for the Northern First Nations are in resource development. And these opportunities are being killed by the environmental movement who have far less focused purposes then the well being of those people in the community. They’re generating cash out of it. They have ideological objectives, which have nothing to do with First Nations or most Canadians.” – Calvin Helin

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