Politics Crude Awakening

Investors have committed $11 billion for pipelines to ferry oil from Canada’s tar sands to port in British Columbia. Some in Vancouver fear English Bay will turn into a “parking lot for supertankers.”

By Jeremy van Loon and Christopher Donville

First Beach, Vancouver

PHILIP AND KAREN SMITH/ GETTY IMAGES

“You have this wonderful sea walk. If the pipeline goes through and you have more tankers, what’s the use of having a sea walk?” — Sean Austin, construction worker

60% of British Columbia voters oppose the expansion of the oil industry, according to a December poll. The provincial government can’t veto the pipelines, but it has the power to render them inoperable.

If Canadian oil cannot reach the sea and be loaded onto ships, Chinese companies will not reap the benefits of the $36.3 billion they’ve invested in the tar sands.

Environmental groups filed suit last September to stop the pipelines. Uncertainty over the fate of the projects is weighing on the price of Canadian oil, which is down 17% from last year’s high of $90.50 a barrel.

“Super, natural British Columbia” The official slogan

Known as Lotusland in the rest of Canada, Vancouver is home to yoga-gear maker Lululemon Athletica. The city’s mayor is co-founder of an organic juice company.

“Supertanker terminal”

What some locals fear their beloved English Bay will become

DATA: FORUM RESEARCH, SINOPEC, CNOOC, ALBERTA TREASURY BOARD AND FINANCE

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