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Please Advise! No Keystone XL? What Do We Do with All This Pipe?

With word that Biden may axe the expanded Alberta oil tube, Dr. Steve is thinking ahead.

Steve Burgess 18 Jan 2021 | TheTyee.ca

Steve Burgess writes about politics and culture for The Tyee. Find his previous articles here.

[Editor’s note: Steve Burgess is an accredited spin doctor with a PhD in Centrifugal Rhetoric from the University of SASE, situated on the lovely campus of PO Box 7650, Cayman Islands. In this space he dispenses PR advice to politicians, the rich and famous, the troubled and well-heeled, the wealthy and gullible.]

Dear Dr. Steve,

A report on president-elect Joe Biden’s agenda has revealed that he plans to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion on day one of his presidency. What should Canada do?



Dear Tuber,

This move comes as something of a surprise — Biden was widely expected to spend day one just fumigating the place and checking cubbyholes for hidden Kayleigh McEnanys or Stephen Millers. But it seems the new president is an old man in a hurry. Upon being sworn in Wednesday, his instant plans include axing Donald Trump’s Muslim travel ban, reversing the decision to leave the Paris Climate Accord and nixing approval of Keystone XL. America, meet the new cancel culture.

What should the Canadian response be? Clearly, quick action is needed. We must immediately find new uses for pipe. Dr. Steve offers some suggestions:


As we seek to understand our changing world, public art is always welcome. One section of pipeline could be sliced into a series of hoops, each one representing the Circle of (Pipeline) Life: Born in the waning days of the Bush administration, Keystone XL was cancelled under Barack Obama, came to life again via Trump, and now circles back to oblivion once more, its own iconic circular shape a prediction of its ever-recurring destiny. I’m getting chills here, you?


Plenty of prefab housing opportunities here. A section of pipe would be roomier than a lot of Vancouver condos. Listings could debut the hip new measurement, “round footage.” Or consider a high-rise pipeline — eco-starchitecture! “Bjorn Lloyd Gehry’s new Pipeline Tower is a bold skyline statement that repurposes obsolete fossil fuel technology as smooth circular luxury studios, the building’s bold and fluttery facade made entirely from discarded face masks, its railings and fixtures fashioned from the melted-down signage of the former Trump Tower....” Lots of possibilities there.


We’ll build a pipeline to ship all our water to California. Give Nestlé the contract at say, three cents per billion cubic metres. Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!


That’s popular now, right? We’ll pump it in. The pipeline terminus will be the Third Beach concession stand.

Vancouver drainpipes

Some weeks between November and March, those pipes look just about the right size to hook up to your gutters.

Scrap metal

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has already promised legal action over the cancellation of Keystone XL. That will take funds. Selling the pipeline for scrap could get some. Not enough to hire a Perry Mason, but maybe Rudy Giuliani money.

Or Kenney could use the metal to make licence plates — specifically, social licence plates.

Broadway SkyTrain tunnel

So we make the cars a little smaller. Think of the savings.

Elon Musk something something

High-speed underground travel of the future yadda yadda we’ll work out the details later.

The new restaurant experience

One table per tube section. Better than plexiglass. We’re not out of the woods yet, you know.

Vacation getaways

Not “vacation getaways” as in turning sections of pipe into cottages — more like “vacation getaways” via tunnelling. A lot of politicians and top administration types have gotten themselves in hot water over international travel. Underground pipelines would make that travel a lot more discreet. Build a pipeline to Hawaii or Mexico, say. Sure, they would be a little longer than the planned Keystone XL, but think of Site C — cost overruns are standard with these projects.

Beneath the ground, far from prying eyes, you are off on that essential international travel that snoops and snitches might give you a hard time about, emerging in Zihuatanejo like Tim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemption. Remember to build a fake version of yourself under the bedcovers in case reporters check up on you.  [Tyee]

Read more: Energy, Politics

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