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This is the simple story – from the Canadian Press:

CALGARY – The outgoing CEO of pipeline giant Enbridge Inc. said Monday he has no qualms about leaving the company while its controversial West Coast pipeline project remains in limbo.

The Calgary-based crude shipper (TSX:ENB) said Monday that Pat Daniel, 65, will leave his post by the end of the year and Al Monaco, the head of the company’s gas pipeline, green energy and international businesses, will take the reins.

To me there’s something fishy going on – rather like the story “when a husband sends his wife flowers for no reason, there’s a reason.”

Why is Mr. Daniel giving 10 months notice of his departure, elevating Mr. Monaco to the president, who it would seem, is taking over the company reins so Daniel can build an outdoor skating rink for his grandson?

Why was the matter announced with such nonchalance? Grandchildren wanting an outdoor rink in Atlanta, Georgia, of all places, doesn’t quite have the pizzazz one has come to expect from huge companies kissing off Mr. Daniel who has done so much to take Enbridge from a flat financial position to great heights.

Frankly, this looks a hell of a lot like assisted suicide to me and leads me to several prognostications.

Note Mr. Monaco’s stated qualifications – he is the head of the company’s gas pipeline, green energy and international businesses.

Let’s deal with these in reverse order.

The Tar Sands – no goddamit, they are not oil sands! – is suddenly getting considerable interest and media in other lands. This week, for example, it’s a story in the Guardian Weekly. The Prime Minister, looking and sounding a lot like Vladimir Putin, has told the world, including China and the G-20, that the pipeline from the Tar Sands to Kitimat is a go – subject to some pesky environmental hearings which will take 18-24 months to conclude and officially approve the project. Both the PM and his Minister of National Resources Joe Oliver (who sounds like Ottawa’s version of the the BC Liberal’s big mouth Kevin Kruger) have made it clear that hearings or no hearings, the Northern Gateway is a done deal.

My guess is that Enbridge’s Board have concluded that there will be international opposition abroad and that someone with international experience is needed to deflect if not shout down overseas opposition.

The term “green energy”, in the topsy-turvy world of energy really means filthy dirty energy, so that a man with skills in selling nonsense to the gullible is just the master of bullshit needed for this exercise.

This opens up another area which was just a small item a few days ago, namely that Enbridge is teaming up with one or more First Nations to do some so-called “run-of-river” projects.

Enbridge, not content to spill tar sands gunk in our wilderness, threatening 1,000 rivers and streams, is ready to get more specific about killing rivers and their ecologies.

Natural gas issues are becoming all the rage and as we see now in business sections of the media, that business may not be all that it’s cracked up to be. There are “fracking” issues expanding into wildly fluctuating markets and I suspect that Mr. Monaco will need his knowledge in this area, not just to expand their existing and future natural gas pipelines, but to take great care not to get Enbridge into stormy waters where they lose money in a declining market.

Enbridge knows that natural gas, raw or in LNG, has brought the one thing large corporations hate – uncertain markets.

Considering the three areas Mr. Monaco has experience in, the decision to toss Mr. Daniel off the back of the sleigh is understandable. It could be that it’s not just Monaco the company needs so much as the absence of Daniel. Of course, if you are getting into a huge world wide crap shoot, Monaco seems like a good name to have. (Terrible pun but intended.) Then again, Mr. Daniel could have seen the coming mess and parachuted safely to his grandson’s rink in Atlanta.

We must all remember that we’re in a long term shoot-out which puts a heavy onus on all of us not to shoot our bolt too quickly while continuing to fight like hell every inch of the way.

Let our overriding motto be: SUPERNATURAL BC IS NOT FOR SALE.

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