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not all is equal. what choice will you make?
49

Canadian decision being “hijacked” by foreign interests, PM says

Ethical Oil January 8, 2012

Our campaign must be working. Just a few days after we began warning Canadians about the foreign puppet groups out to sabotage our public hearings over the Northern Gateway pipeline, the prime minister has heard our message.

“We have to have processes in Canada that come to a decision in a reasonable amount of time and processes that cannot be hijacked,” he said on Friday.

“In particular, growing concern has been expressed to me about the use of foreign money to really overload the public consultation phase of regulatory hearings just for the purpose of slowing down the process. This is something that is not good for the Canadian economy, and the government of Canada will be taking a close look at how we can ensure that our regulatory processes are effective and deliver decisions in a reasonable amount of time.”

Foreign-funded groups like EcoJustice Canada, Environmental Defence Canada, the West Coast Environmental Law Foundation and the Pembina Foundation have been quietly infiltrating Canadian policy debates for some time now, apparently thinking they could get away with it. But when foreign money tries buying influence in our regulatory hearings, things have gone far enough that even the prime minister himself warns of the damage it poses to the Canadian economy and talks about taking steps to correct it.

And yet, listen to how the environmental movement responds: According to the Globe and Mail, a spokesman for the foreign-funded Greenpeace, says it’s “refreshing to know” that groups like his “can both worry and stop” Canadian industry.

How wonderful for the folks at Greenpeace that they’re comforted in the knowledge that their foreign money can disrupt our domestic affairs so easily. The rest of us can now take comfort in the fact that the government of Canada is ready to do something to stop it.

 

Comments (49)

  1. Thank God that we (including the PM) are waking up at last to the negative, destructive influences of foreign money on one of the most important aspects of our national economy. AGS

    • You mean Harper has stood freedom up and into the face of the Chinese communists and kicked their anti-democratic, atheistic, authoritarian asses out of our country, Canada?. About time!.

    • Ya, it’s a good thing that the negative, destructive influence of foreign money hasn’t entered into the Canadian oil industry in other ways. Imagine if we allowed foreigners to invest in the tar sands infrastructure in the same way we allow them to infiltrate regulatory hearings? Surely, companies like BP would have just as little regard for environmental costs and other externalities experienced by Canadians as “puppet groups” like Environmental Defence have for Canadian jobs…

    • too bad they cant wake up to the negative and destructive influences on the entire world that the oil sands will create.

    • Probably, but what would be more telling is the support from the public, and the number of ordinary people who have patronized this phony grassroots website, with money. Bet you that support is virtually zero, or they who do, are notables with more to hide than admit.

      • I have been a supporter since inception, and a supporter of Levant before that. I am neither a corporation nor an American, just a thoughtful and well-read Canadian worker.

        • You’re neither thoughtful nor well-read if you support Levant, sorry to let you know.

          • Thanks, Stevieg222, for the ad hominem attack that disproves your point. Please do continue but I must warn you – your ignorance is showing.

          • Thanks Doc for following up my ad hominem attack (admittedly misplaced, have nothing against you of course, more with Levant) with another. Ignorance loves company I suppose?

  2. 'Ethical Oil' isn't January 9, 2012 at 00:32

    And thus the true purpose of this site is revealed.

    Now Harper can say – “Growing concern has been expressed to me about the use of foreign money to really overload the public consultation phase of regulatory hearings just for the purpose of slowing down the process,” the Prime Minister told reporters Friday in Edmonton.

    Just like when he said that people were in a tizzy over the long form census.

    The Globe and Mail called EthicalOil.org: “The petroleum lobby group”.
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/foreign-money-could-gum-up-pipeline-approval-harper-warns/article2294309/

  3. The Prime Minister “heard our message”..?? My God, you guys are talking in the same room…I should hope he can hear you! What’s amazing to us all is your transparent disregard for necessary thoughtfulness around something that has the potential to adversely affect the whole planet. Wake up, please! And to name the underfunded Enviro groups that are the tiniest fence to industrial rapacity and cruelty (when it comes to pollution of others) as if they were “the enemy” – please, please, for all of us – act responsibly. The people who seem to be trying “to get away with it” are you. Again.

  4. how is it possible that they could not hear you… big oil funds ethical oil org… who in turn pushes a conservative party agenda… seems logical our fearless leader would hear you… Velshi is his right hand man… The one thing that gives me hope and a good laugh is with all the noise ethicaloil.org is making about certain things it is going to be funny when all the rocks get turned over and the skeletons come leaping out of the closet about ethicaloil.org.

    In 2011, Alykhan Velshi, a former staffer for Minister of Immigration Jason Kenney, founded a website to promote the ideas put forward by Ezra Levant in his book. The website, EthicalOil.org, launched a campaign to compare Canada’s ‘Ethical Oil’ against OPEC’s ‘Conflict Oil’ and features controversial advertisements comparing conditions for women, gays and other minorities in OPEC countries to those in Canada. EthicalOil.org has staged counter-protests in response to opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline project. After setting up the ethicaloil.org website, Velshi has returned to Parliament Hill in late 2011, in the position of Director of Planning for the Prime Minister’s Office.

  5. If Ethical Oil funding is open and transparent where is the list of donors? Dogwood Initiative openly publishes the donor list and has no secret or hidden funding sources.

  6. 'Ethical Oil' isn't January 9, 2012 at 12:15

    Sunday in Edmonton – Prime Minister Stephen Harper: “Government would not interfere in the regulatory process.”

    Monday in Ottawa – Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver: “There may be a need for legislation.”

    • Big difference between interfering in the process, and preventing inappropriate influence – which actually is interference. Just because you support the goals of the various extranational hidden-hands doesn’t make their, or your, approach right or proper.

      • Doc,

        I’d say you have a point but the big oil side of the equation is substantialy foreign owned and controlled… how can we clear the waters by saying the opposition is clouding while the big oil side is the same… its a pot and kettle situation here… Pot this is kettle you look covered in soot… Kettle this is Pot go look in the mirror…

  7. It’s not just the EXXON money…to protect US BIG OIL from competition from ETHICAL OIL…it is also Saudi money as well… These enviros by extension are the allies of ALQAIDA…same funders…same goals……

    • In your dreams. A fact: 9/11 terrorists came from Saudi Arabia and had wide spread support among many who control that countries oil. The two holes in NYC look to be getting a friend in Alberta, except this hole is being blasted out by the communists. What the hell are you people talking about ethical. You support fools who are inviting our enemies into our country as well as making them rich. Shame on all of you!.

  8. Wow. A lot of enviro-nazis commenting. Are all the Insite safe injection sites closed today? So when will you people be happy? What will your end state be? When all Canadians are unemployed, starving and freezing in the dark because the only sources of power left will be the failed “renewable” sources that barely work on a sunny or windy day?

    • Dial 1 800 Oil Spill January 9, 2012 at 15:58

      hmmm…. I’m not quite sure what to say to that Robert… In actual fact I am at work… there is a 99% statistical chance I make more money than you do… as this world is full of irony… I am employed by this industry internationally… I’ve never been to a safe injection site in my life… and I’d be a whole lot happier if I was confident this resource was being developed in a responsible manner… which I most certainly am not in this case… every now and then even the 1% have enough sense to make noise…

      • Mr Dial, I respectfully submit that you are talking out yournfundamental orifice if you suggest that oilsands extraction technologies are somehow inferior to methods employed elsewhere on this planet. I have worked around the patch for years and have experienced firsthand the almost neurotic nature of environmental precautions built into every action taken by any operator on every project. Your 1% nonsense is supposed to make you an authority, but only exposes you as a limousine liberal. Please frack off back to your latte cafe and just enjoy the prosperity guilt-free.

        • Dial 1 800 Oil Spill January 10, 2012 at 09:41

          Mr. Bacon,

          I made no claim that the extraction technologies were inferior to other areas… that is a different argument…

          As you have worked in the oil patch as well you might also be able to confirm the industry is generally crap at sorting out the environmental impacts of exploitation… they stick their head in the sand often, spend mightily on things like slips, trips and falls while their process safety is forgotten leaving the door open to the mega disasters – tanker spills, gulf, plants etc… We can’t seem to get a grip of the process safety disasters as a whole in the industry… Ask Endbridge, I’m sure they didn’t mean to have so many pipe line leaks in the last 7 years… but they still did… why do they seem to be unable to get a grip of it and keep the oil in the pipe?

          I did not say I was 1% to imply authority I said it to point out to the previous poster

          “Wow. A lot of enviro-nazis commenting. Are all the Insite safe injection sites closed today?”

          I and others employed in the industry… are not frequenters of the safe injection, sites, unemployed, or some sort of radical to justify speaking out against what we think appears to be a flawed plan…

          I personally do not think the industry is mature enough on process safety to handle massive expansion without dire environmental consequences. I’m not talking about the simple crap… that hurts or even kills one person… I’m talking about the process safety stuff that kills dozens, pollutes entire gulfs, or floods small regions with oil.

          I’d be happier if Enbridge let the most anti oil anti pipeline industrial safety specialist into their backyard and audit the whole place… fix it all, demonstrate you have a handle on it say 5 years no leaks, verified by 3rd party neutral or even anti big oil auditors, and then we’ll talk again about pipeline expansion. What do you think the likelihood of Enbridge or any Big Oil company letting a lose cannon into the fold to go through the books? Not freaking likely… why because those books are often cooked… we fail constantly to keep the produce in the pipe… as an industry we are not transparent and thus in the eyes of the rest of the planet un-trustworthy…

          As a footnote I’m on the ground, knee deep in the industry trying to develop it better… in some of the most remote locations on the planet… not a limo in sight…

      • If you are actually employed and making more money than me while being of the opinion that the oilsands are bad then you are an exception. But I have learned over the years not to believe a word coming from those on the opposite side of the political spectrum. They will say anything to try to legitimize ruining our economy and destroying our society.

        • Hi Robert,

          The systemic problem of this industry is we fail at transparency… we also fail at process safety and generally when that goes wrong it goes horribly wrong… These type of developments in countries like Canada will not go forward without complete transparency. Big Oil is fighting from the low ground all the time, people will consistently trot out images from here and there of terrible corporate behaviour on the environmental front, or corruption etc… etc… etc…

          It peeves me off, but do suck as an industry at this. The only way to get rid of the enviro nazi’s is to invite them into the fold, and prove beyond reasonable doubt what you are doing is correct. We never do that??? A them and us conflict situation in Canada is going to result in a pipe line to nowhere… and stymied resource development.

  9. Exporting oil is in Canada’s interest. If we can’t send more to the US via new pipelines then we’ll have to send it offshore via pipelines then tankers. What is so hard to grasp about this?

  10. It’s being reported that these pipeline hearings could take from eighteen months to two years, with at least 4000 submissions. In that case they have already been hijacked. These submissions should be going through a pre screening to weed out the foreign money, the silly repetition, all those who’s only agenda is to destroy our energy industry. Select only ten. These could easily be heard in two weeks.

  11. Sure are lots of enviro Nazi writing comments here, wonder why! Doing more Canadian sabotage, for sure they aren’t happy that finally other people have a voice now!

    wonder where these enviro Nazi are from? Perhaps from outside Canada???

    Food for thought!

  12. Who Canada chooses to partner with and the decisions we make – for or against any project – must be decided by us, and certainly not by foreign companies and governments. (I might add that we should not be doing that to other countries, either.) Environmentalists, if legitimate, should have their say, I suppose, but why should Venezuela have a say? That is just laughable. Anyone who knows anything about Chavez knows that he doesn’t like competition of any kind…say… I wonder what his environmental record is? Delightful chap, really. I mean, his frienship with Iran should be enough to persuade any Canadian that Venezuela’s national oil company should be intervening in our public consultations.

  13. This rhetoric saying that foreign interests are behind opposition to the Gateway pipeline is backwards. It is the foreign interests that now own much of “Canada’s” oil sands! Just look at the recent mega-billions pouring in from China for ownership stakes “our” resource.

    Why is it that these types of foreign ownership resource deals were prohibited in the past due to concerns over undue influence and loss of control due to foreign equity positions yet now nothing is being done over the loss of sovereignty here in the oil sands? It is not wrong to question the environmental impacts of both the proposed pipeline(s) and also increased tanker activity in sensitive areas. In addition, why are so keen to ship raw crude rather than invest in refining capacity here in Canada which would provide additional employment and revenue here at home?There is extensive propaganda being foisted on us from all sides. The most serious issue is the loss of Canadian control of our natural resources, not the debate on pipelines.

    • First, Canada has always had to go overseas to raise the capital for our industrial projects. Excluding energy projects from access to capital is just an anti-development action without the honesty of open opposition.

      Second, I agree that oilsands developments should not be exempt from environmental scruitiny, but that doesn’t mean subject to an endless succession of reviews until one declines the activity. This is what will kill the MVG pipeline if it hasn’t already.

      Finally, the local refining argument is a red-herring, since we have no additional refining capacity in Canada to run oilsands crude through, and environmental reviews and red tape will not allow a new refinery without another 10 year process. Not only is the local refining issue merely another oilsands deferral tactic, but it doesn’t meet the end customers’ needs: crude oil is shipped worldwide for local refining since it can be split into the products demanded by the market. Suggesting we stop oilsands development unless we get to refine is yet another tactic to end-run our legislatived will.

    • That is nonsense. We have not lost any control. This country wants foreign investment because without it our resources would not be developed, and it’s not just resources. If it wasn’t for foreign investment most of this country would be unemployed. Other countries have their own refineries, they want oil for those refineries. If they don’t get here, they will get it somewhere else and more people in this country will be unemployed. That is exactly what your red herring argument is really about. Destroying as many jobs as you can in the energy industry.

  14. Oliver and Harper are taking a page for Siria’s Assad’s play book but blaming external groups..

    I guess that big oil money from Texas and China is not the same level of external influence!

    What nonsense will Oliver do next !

  15. When it comes to planetary well being and making choices that will benefit future generations, the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline is a massive step in the wrong direction. It is a multi billion dollar venture that will result in countless environmental disasters in sensitive ecosystems on land and in BC coastal waters, and even more tragically will serve to be both a symbolic and physical crippling hindrance to the global effort to decrease carbon emissions.

    One only has to look at this map of oil spills from pipelines in the United States in the past two decades to realize that pipelines are historically prone to spills.

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/09/09/business/energy-environment/pipeline-spills.html

    Canada is also prone to pipeline spills. Just last year over 4.5 Million liters were spilled from a pipeline in Northern Alberta.

    http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/panther-lounge/2011/05/albertas-biggest-oil-spill-in-30-years-is-a-call-to-action-for-canadians/

    Crossing over a thousand km of BC/Alberta land, it’s inevitable the Northern Gateway pipeline would be subject to spills due to land slides and sabotage alone, not to mention a host of other causes.

    In regards to ocean based oil spills, once again, the historical track record speaks volumes.

    http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0001451.html

    The issue of land and ocean based oil spills are dwarfed however, when compared to the threat of global warming.

    As a computer science student at the University of Victoria I opted to take an Earth and Ocean Science class as an elective. It was in this course that I first learned of the global threat of climate change. In this class my professor explained how scientists have proven, without a doubt, that an unnatural warming of Earths atmosphere, is a direct result of green house gasses created by humans. My professor went on to explain how certain checks and balances such as, the melting of the polar ice caps due to global warming, will have a snowball affect on global warming, resulting in a situation where man kind needs to drastically reduce emissions, or else risk an incurable run away planetary fever. This understanding of climate change is now agreed upon by the vast majority of credible scientists. Only a select few who are paid by gas and oil companies would dispute this claim for obvious reason.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8550090.stm
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/30711

    It is this runaway nature of global warming and it’s devastating global impact that is making it the most pressing environmental crisis facing humanity today.

    http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/sciencetech/5-deadliest-effects-of-global-warming/276?image=1

    A concept from software engineering can be applied to the process of reducing carbon emissions. Software engineers use a theory called The Big O Factor, to increase the efficiency of software. The production of Alberta tar sands oil, is a Big O Factor, when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. Refining a barrel of tar sands crude contributes 3-5 times as much global warming emissions as does refining traditional crude.

    http://forestethics.org/tar-sands-the-facts

    Furthermore, opening this supply of Oil to Asian Markets, is going to discourage such markets from pursuing other more environmentally friendly energy sources. The 6 billion dollar budget for the pipeline should be used to implement green energy initiatives.

    Canada is a highly respected first world country. If we don’t set an example for other countries with respect to reducing green house gasses, you can be sure that other less developed countries will follow in our foot steps, condemning future generations to a life plagued with catastrophes.

    In closing, choosing to go ahead with this pipeline is a short sited decision that will financial benefit thousands of people in years to come. The cost will be a host of environmental disasters, however the greatest will be that of leading the planet further down a path of fossil fuel reliance. This cost will jeopardize the lives of billions or perhaps trillions of people, for generations to come, if not for the rest human civilization’s time on Earth. This gamble is grossly unreflective of Canada’s core values.

  16. So, why is foreign ownership of Canadian oil ok, but foreign support of environmental groups not ok? Canadians love their environment at least as much as they love money. If big foreign money backs oil interests, then big foreign money can back environmental interests.

    Question for you all: what is the agenda of the environmental groups vs. the agenda of the foreign oil interests? Whose agenda will hurt Canadians more?

  17. It is a bit hard to take “Ethical Oil” seriously when they are backed by Enbridge.

  18. Jordan Elchasqui January 13, 2012 at 16:01

    I have nothing against the oil industry by the way, but I do not agree the smear campaigns of Mr. Oliver and the way this process is playing out. It is no secret that there are foreign interests that want this pipeline to be built, and they are attacking any opposition by attacking the foreign funding. It makes no sense because they are backed by foreign funding as well!

    If you love Canada, and this is not from an environmentalist perspective, but an economic one, you will oppose foreign ownership of our oil.

  19. It just makes me really sad. Regardless of personal opinions this is a really big issue. Yes it is a resource within Canada. But it is a situation with global impact. All this talk of foreign interests reminds me that the best that we can do to support Big Oil/Big Profit is to fight among ourselves. As I bash you and your opinion and you bash me and mine in turn.. well that is all the distraction an opportunistic entity needs to ensure that it’s own interests are secured. I love life. I love nature and trees and all that. I love my car and planes and all that.

    Seems that we have forgotten that Humans are the most valuable resource on this planet. We live sometimes as if we have a backup planet or two waiting around to replace this one. We don’t. If we want the oil we act as if all evidence that may threaten that comfort is a lie and a conspiracy. If we are opposed to the oil.. we seem to forget that we drive our cars and flush our toilets just like the “other-side”. I can only imagine that if we want a better world that we need a higher and more tolerant level of communication across the board. I will be an old man sooner than not. My Son and his children and thus your children and theirs will be the ones to inherit the bulk of our problems.. are you saying that we as human beings don’t have the emotional capacity or maturity to ensure the safety and security of our future generations?

    Thanks to all of you for your ideas and feelings. Oil or no oil. We have to stand together.

  20. It just makes me really sad. Regardless of personal opinions this is a really big issue. Yes it is a resource within Canada. But it is a situation with global impact. All this talk of foreign interests reminds me that the best that we can do to support Big Oil/Big Profit is to fight among ourselves. As I bash you and your opinion and you bash me and mine in turn.. well that is all the distraction an opportunistic entity needs to ensure that it’s own interests are secured. I love life. I love nature and trees and all that. I love my car and planes and all that.

    Seems that we have forgotten that Humans are the most valuable resource on this planet. We live sometimes as if we have a backup planet or two waiting around to replace this one. We don’t. If we want the oil we act as if all evidence that may threaten that comfort is a lie and a conspiracy. If we are opposed to the oil.. we seem to forget that we drive our cars and flush our toilets just like the “other-side”. I can only imagine that if we want a better world that we need a higher and more tolerant level of communication across the board. I will be an old man sooner than not. My Son and his children and thus your children and theirs will be the ones to inherit the bulk of our problems.. are you saying that we as human beings don’t have the emotional capacity or maturity to ensure the safety and security of our future generations?

    Thanks to all of you for your ideas and feelings. Oil or no oil. We have to stand together.

  21. It just makes me really sad. Regardless of personal opinions this is a really big issue. Yes it is a resource within Canada. But it is a situation with global impact. All this talk of foreign interests reminds me that the best that we can do to support Big Oil/Big Profit is to fight among ourselves. As I bash you and your opinion and you bash me and mine in turn.. well that is all the distraction an opportunistic entity needs to ensure that it’s own interests are secured. I love life. I love nature and trees and all that. I love my car and planes and all that.

    Seems that we have forgotten that Humans are the most valuable resource on this planet. We live sometimes as if we have a backup planet or two waiting around to replace this one. We don’t. If we want the oil we act as if all evidence that may threaten that comfort is a lie and a conspiracy. If we are opposed to the oil.. we seem to forget that we drive our cars and flush our toilets just like the “other-side”. I can only imagine that if we want a better world that we need a higher and more tolerant level of communication across the board. I will be an old man sooner than not. My Son and his children and thus your children and theirs will be the ones to inherit the bulk of our problems.. are you saying that we as human beings don’t have the emotional capacity or maturity to ensure the safety and security of our future generations?

    Thanks to all of you for your ideas and feelings. Oil or no oil. We have to stand together.

  22. WHAT’S RADICAL ABOUT THE CONTROVERSY OVER THE NORTHERN GATEWAY PIPELINE?

    The Syrian regime blames its domestic uprising on “foreign-supported terrorists”. The Harper regime joins the international chorus condemning Syria’s suppression of the democracy activists. Then the Harper regime blames “foreign-funded environmentalists” for trying to stop Canadian jobs from Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline. The oppositional activists, whether environmental, Indigenous, or ecumenical are lumped together as being “anti-Canadian radicals”.

    Such phony nationalist hyperbole has been a steadfast propaganda tool for authoritarian governments and under Harper, Canada is now on a slippery slope.

    This skirmish began when Harper’s Natural Resources Minister, Oliver, released an open letter attacking those opposing the Northern Gateway pipeline. He tried to backtrack a little when facing the TV cameras, saying he didn’t mean all environmentalists and Indigenous people “were radicals”, but his letter says otherwise. “…There are environmental and other radical groups that would seek to block this opportunity to diversify our trade” it reads, and continues: “Their goal is to stop any major project no matter what the cost to Canadian families and lost jobs and economic growth.”

    ENEMIES OF…

    The Harper government is using the same kind of “attack ads” on Canadian citizens that it has already used to discredit opposition political leaders. Who knows what linguistic twists Harper’s propaganda team will come up with next; perhaps those supporting sustainability will soon be called “enemies of economic growth”. Or perhaps, “enemies of the nation”!

    To defend democracy and sustainability we must deconstruct Harper’s manipulation of language. Oliver’s letter sets out a complete attack-narrative on pipeline opponents before the review by the National Energy Board had even started. It is reminiscent of Harper’s Environment Minister Kent attacking proposals to replace the Kyoto Accord before the international conference to establish a climate treaty had even started. Harper got his majority through such pre-emptive strikes on opposition leaders. He apparently wants to rule the whole country using similar combative tactics.

    Oliver’s letter says “These groups threaten to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda. They seek to exploit any loophole they can find, stacking the public hearings with bodies to ensure that delays kill good projects.” This discredits citizens who have a right to appear before the Panel which reviews and recommends on the pipeline. It discredits a rational, democratic, discussion about the benefits and burdens of the pipeline by attributing hidden motives to all critics. Involvement in the regulatory process is equated with “hijacking” it, which is a means for Harper to discredit the federal environmental review process itself. Oliver’s twisting can easily be turned back on his boss, for Harper’s preemptive strike can be seen as an attempt to undermine the regulatory process itself, to achieve his “radical ideological agenda”.

    WHAT IS RADICAL?

    David Suzuki and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May were quick to respond, arguing that those opposing the pipeline were the antithesis of “radical”. May went so far as to quote the Webster dictionary which says “radical” is “relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough”. They are right that environmentalists and indigenous communities are actually against “radicalism” in that they don’t desire to alter “the fundamental nature” of eco-systems. Harper’s quest for Canada to be an Energy Superpower, apparently at any cost including undermining the environmental review process, is what is “radical”.

    Radical can be defined slightly differently, drawing on the phrase “far-reaching or thorough”; it’s about trying to understand something by “going to the roots”. In this sense good science is radical. Harper’s goal is clearly not towards enhancing intelligent public participation by “going to the roots”.

    DEFINING NATIONAL INTEREST

    Oliver’s letter continues its attack, claiming these “radical” groups “…use funding from foreign special interest groups to undermine Canada’s national economic interest”. Think about that, an environmental group like the Sierra Club which exists in both the U.S. and Canada is undermining “Canada’s national interest”. Meanwhile a multi-national corporation like Enbridge, which wants to export unprocessed bitumen across Western Canada and the Pacific Ocean, is not. As Harper presents himself as the savior of Canadian workers, the biggest energy union estimates that Enbridge’s export of unprocessed bitumen will cost us 40,000 jobs. And as Green Party leader May points out, Canada still has “no energy policy. We are still importing more than half the oil we use.”

    Mindless rhetoric about “economic growth” undercuts the careful weighing of options. In the big picture, as we plan towards a sustainable economy, protecting the Great Bear Rainforest from massive oil spills would be in the fundamental national interest. Perhaps laying a 1,200 km , three foot round pipeline from Edmonton to Kitimat, that moves 250,000 gallons of raw tarsand oil a day across 600 creeks and rivers, including some where threatened salmon spawn, is not in the fundamental national interest. Perhaps, as May says, overturning “the current moratorium on oil tanker traffic on the B.C. coastline”, and allowing huge Chinese tankers to use the “300 km of perilous navigation in highly energetic tidal conditions is a bad choice”.

    MOTIVES REVEALED

    Harper is not interested in reasonably reconciling ecological and economic concerns. It’s full-steam ahead with his radical agenda to gut environmental protection in the interest of energy corporations like Enbridge. This is why his government has consistently sabotaged international attempts to get an effective climate treaty. His destructive approach will never create sustainable energy or sustainable economic policy.

    The motive for Harper’s attacks on democratic public participation is becoming clear. On a CBC Power Point panel, Harper spokesperson MP Stella Ambler expressed concern about letting “the environmental process kill the project”. It’s environmental protection itself, not “radical environmental and indigenous groups” that Harper is targeting. Harper not only wants to side-step the federal responsibility to consider the ecological impacts of mega-energy projects, but the federal “duty to consult” with First Nations who would be directly affected. Environmentalists and First Nations are all marginalized and demonized as opponents to “Canada’s national interest”. Ambler’s reiteration that this decision must be “made by Canada and not foreign interests” is a smack in the face of the many thousands of Canadians who registered to speak at the Gateway Hearings.

    KEYSTONE WHISTLE BLOWER

    Oliver and Harper are trying to push the Gateway Pipeline through because the proposed Keystone Pipeline from Alberta to the U.S. has been held up due to public concerns about contaminating a huge aquifer in Nebraska. We’ve already had a warning about how the Keystone Pipeline puts the environment at great risk. On Jan. 20th Canadian Press reported on a pipeline engineer who had been fired by Bechtel Corp for his whistle blowing; he had written of, “Cheap foreign steel that cracked when workers tried to weld it, foundations for pump stations that you would never consider using in your own home, fudged safety tests…short cuts on the steel and rebar that are essential for safe pipeline operation, and siting of facilities on completely inappropriate spots like wetlands.”

    With the U.S. market now so uncertain, Harper is pushing for Alberta’s tarsand oil to go to China, regardless of the risk to our national-environmental interest. China, along with the U.S., is the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases. That the Kyoto Accord did not require China to meet targeted reductions has always been the main reason Harper used to justify his government not following through with the Kyoto Accord. Now he wants to make China one of our biggest customers of the greenhouse gas-laden tarsand oil. Hopefully connecting these dots will help Canadians better see through Harper’s spin-propaganda.

  23. WHAT’S RADICAL ABOUT THE CONTROVERSY OVER THE NORTHERN GATEWAY PIPELINE?
    BY Jim Harding

    The Syrian regime blames its domestic uprising on “foreign-supported terrorists”. The Harper regime joins the international chorus condemning Syria’s suppression of the democracy activists. Then the Harper regime blames “foreign-funded environmentalists” for trying to stop Canadian jobs from Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline. The oppositional activists, whether environmental, Indigenous, or ecumenical are lumped together as being “anti-Canadian radicals”.

    Such phony nationalist hyperbole has been a steadfast propaganda tool for authoritarian governments and under Harper, Canada is now on a slippery slope.

    This skirmish began when Harper’s Natural Resources Minister, Oliver, released an open letter attacking those opposing the Northern Gateway pipeline. He tried to backtrack a little when facing the TV cameras, saying he didn’t mean all environmentalists and Indigenous people “were radicals”, but his letter says otherwise. “…There are environmental and other radical groups that would seek to block this opportunity to diversify our trade” it reads, and continues: “Their goal is to stop any major project no matter what the cost to Canadian families and lost jobs and economic growth.”

    ENEMIES OF…

    The Harper government is using the same kind of “attack ads” on Canadian citizens that it has already used to discredit opposition political leaders. Who knows what linguistic twists Harper’s propaganda team will come up with next; perhaps those supporting sustainability will soon be called “enemies of economic growth”. Or perhaps, “enemies of the nation”!

    To defend democracy and sustainability we must deconstruct Harper’s manipulation of language. Oliver’s letter sets out a complete attack-narrative on pipeline opponents before the review by the National Energy Board had even started. It is reminiscent of Harper’s Environment Minister Kent attacking proposals to replace the Kyoto Accord before the international conference to establish a climate treaty had even started. Harper got his majority through such pre-emptive strikes on opposition leaders. He apparently wants to rule the whole country using similar combative tactics.

    Oliver’s letter says “These groups threaten to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda. They seek to exploit any loophole they can find, stacking the public hearings with bodies to ensure that delays kill good projects.” This discredits citizens who have a right to appear before the Panel which reviews and recommends on the pipeline. It discredits a rational, democratic, discussion about the benefits and burdens of the pipeline by attributing hidden motives to all critics. Involvement in the regulatory process is equated with “hijacking” it, which is a means for Harper to discredit the federal environmental review process itself. Oliver’s twisting can easily be turned back on his boss, for Harper’s preemptive strike can be seen as an attempt to undermine the regulatory process itself, to achieve his “radical ideological agenda”.

    WHAT IS RADICAL?

    David Suzuki and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May were quick to respond, arguing that those opposing the pipeline were the antithesis of “radical”. May went so far as to quote the Webster dictionary which says “radical” is “relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough”. They are right that environmentalists and indigenous communities are actually against “radicalism” in that they don’t desire to alter “the fundamental nature” of eco-systems. Harper’s quest for Canada to be an Energy Superpower, apparently at any cost including undermining the environmental review process, is what is “radical”.

    Radical can be defined slightly differently, drawing on the phrase “far-reaching or thorough”; it’s about trying to understand something by “going to the roots”. In this sense good science is radical. Harper’s goal is clearly not towards enhancing intelligent public participation by “going to the roots”.

    DEFINING NATIONAL INTEREST

    Oliver’s letter continues its attack, claiming these “radical” groups “…use funding from foreign special interest groups to undermine Canada’s national economic interest”. Think about that, an environmental group like the Sierra Club which exists in both the U.S. and Canada is undermining “Canada’s national interest”. Meanwhile a multi-national corporation like Enbridge, which wants to export unprocessed bitumen across Western Canada and the Pacific Ocean, is not. As Harper presents himself as the savior of Canadian workers, the biggest energy union estimates that Enbridge’s export of unprocessed bitumen will cost us 40,000 jobs. And as Green Party leader May points out, Canada still has “no energy policy. We are still importing more than half the oil we use.”

    Mindless rhetoric about “economic growth” undercuts the careful weighing of options. In the big picture, as we plan towards a sustainable economy, protecting the Great Bear Rainforest from massive oil spills would be in the fundamental national interest. Perhaps laying a 1,200 km , three foot round pipeline from Edmonton to Kitimat, that moves 250,000 gallons of raw tarsand oil a day across 600 creeks and rivers, including some where threatened salmon spawn, is not in the fundamental national interest. Perhaps, as May says, overturning “the current moratorium on oil tanker traffic on the B.C. coastline”, and allowing huge Chinese tankers to use the “300 km of perilous navigation in highly energetic tidal conditions is a bad choice”.

    MOTIVES REVEALED

    Harper is not interested in reasonably reconciling ecological and economic concerns. It’s full-steam ahead with his radical agenda to gut environmental protection in the interest of energy corporations like Enbridge. This is why his government has consistently sabotaged international attempts to get an effective climate treaty. His destructive approach will never create sustainable energy or sustainable economic policy.

    The motive for Harper’s attacks on democratic public participation is becoming clear. On a CBC Power Point panel, Harper spokesperson MP Stella Ambler expressed concern about letting “the environmental process kill the project”. It’s environmental protection itself, not “radical environmental and indigenous groups” that Harper is targeting. Harper not only wants to side-step the federal responsibility to consider the ecological impacts of mega-energy projects, but the federal “duty to consult” with First Nations who would be directly affected. Environmentalists and First Nations are all marginalized and demonized as opponents to “Canada’s national interest”. Ambler’s reiteration that this decision must be “made by Canada and not foreign interests” is a smack in the face of the many thousands of Canadians who registered to speak at the Gateway Hearings.

    KEYSTONE WHISTLE BLOWER

    Oliver and Harper are trying to push the Gateway Pipeline through because the proposed Keystone Pipeline from Alberta to the U.S. has been held up due to public concerns about contaminating a huge aquifer in Nebraska. We’ve already had a warning about how the Keystone Pipeline puts the environment at great risk. On Jan. 3rd Canadian Press reported on a pipeline engineer who had been fired by Bechtel Corp for his whistle blowing; he had written of, “Cheap foreign steel that cracked when workers tried to weld it, foundations for pump stations that you would never consider using in your own home, fudged safety tests…short cuts on the steel and rebar that are essential for safe pipeline operation, and siting of facilities on completely inappropriate spots like wetlands.”

    With the U.S. market now so uncertain, Harper is pushing for Alberta’s tarsand oil to go to China, regardless of the risk to our national-environmental interest. China, along with the U.S., is the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases. That the Kyoto Accord did not require China to meet targeted reductions has always been the main reason Harper used to justify his government not following through with the Kyoto Accord. Now he wants to make China one of our biggest customers of the greenhouse gas-laden tarsand oil. Hopefully connecting these dots will help Canadians better see through Harper’s spin-propaganda.

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