Shutting Down Line 5 Will Make Canada and the U.S. more Vulnerable and Less Secure

Today is the deadline for Enbridge and Michigan’s governor to reach an agreement regarding their dispute over the Governor’s decision to shut down the vital Line 5 pipeline. As of the time that I am writing this, it seems extremely unlikely that an end decision will be reached, placing the status of the pipeline further into limbo and more impotently placing Canada’s energy sector at a greater risk. 

As an Albertan, I take pride in the fact that for nearly 70 years, Enbridge, an Alberta-based company, has used Line 5 to serve the energy needs of Americans and Canadians alike, which has kept homes warm, planes fueled, met the needs of farmers, and supplied inputs for petrochemicals vital to our supply chain. The thought of the impact that Line 5 permanently shutting down will have on Canadians saddens me greatly. Not only will 30,000 Canadian jobs between Ontario and Quebec be jeopardized, but the lack of suitable infrastructure capable of replacing the enormous energy demand fulfilled by Line 5, will cause a spike in household energy bills and fuel prices due to supply shortage. Closing the pipeline will destroy infrastructure on which our manufacturing industry was built, and depends; and will increase costs for farmers, who will not be able to heat their barns or dry their crops.


Considering that we recently witnessed the potential dangers posed by artificially induced energy supply shortages after Colonial Pipeline was forced to shut down because of foreign hackers, why would we want to voluntarily inflict the same harmful effects onto the Midwestern United States and Eastern Canada? Average national gasoline prices rose to almost $3/gallon for the first time since 2014, and the hack sent shockwaves throughout the North American energy sector.


Closing Line 5 will have similarly damaging consequences. The difference being, rather than the product of a sophisticated ransomware attack, this economic devastation would be the outcome of a misguided attempt by Michigan’s governor to reduce the “potential” environmental threat Line 5 poses to the state’s waterways.


Therefore, I will challenge the lack of evidence supporting the governor’s belief that the environmental risks posed by Line 5 outweigh the immediate and long-term economic consequences of shutting it down. In my opinion, rolling blackouts, unaffordable gasolines prices and energy bills, and destabilized supply chains caused by fuel shortages are all far more detrimental to society than the presence of a pipeline with a stellar safety record that serves millions of North American’s energy needs.


I applaud Enbridge for their commitment towards proactively improving the environmental compliance standards of the pipeline in order to avoid a potentially calamitous spill. I also hold in high respect, their intention to continue safely transporting oil while providing to millions, the necessities of everyday life 


With the emergence of digital threats posed by foreign actors like those responsible for the Colonial hack, Canada and the United States must strengthen our ties in order to stave off these dangers and avoid further divisions that would make both our nations more vulnerable and less secure.


With respect to all those involved, my wish is to allow Enbridge to continue operating Line 5 and subsequently stabilize Canadian energy security.