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not all is equal. what choice will you make?

Resource Minister calls out “radical” foreign saboteurs

Ethical Oil January 10, 2012

As Canadians have learned more in recent days about the meddling of foreign money in our national policy decisions, they’ve been speaking out. They’ve written letters to the government demanding that Ottawa stop a swarm of activist groups backed by foreign billionaires from hijacking — as the prime minister himself put it — the hearings over the Canadian Northern Gateway pipeline that would carry our oil from Alberta to B.C. Canadians have been calling into radio shows and writing blogs, and spreading the word in their communities about the fact that this crucial decision over Canada’s national energy policy is being infiltrated by what are essentially the well-paid lobbyists of wealthy and powerful foreign interests.

And it’s working. First there were the prime minister’s comments a few days ago expressing concern about “foreign money [being used] to really overload the public consultation phase of regulatory hearings just for the purpose of slowing down the process” — a clear reference to the anti-oil activists’ plans to sabotage the Gateway hearings by swamping it with an unmanageable volume of testimony. Thousands have signed up to testify before the hearings: many of them troublemakers, several of them hired to do it by foreign interests.

This week, Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver has delivered the most vigorous and bang-on criticism of this kind of interference we’ve heard yet from the government. Or any government in Canada, for that matter. In an open letter to Canadians, he warns of “environmental and other radical groups” out to incapacitate Canada’s ability to develop its industries:

“Their goal is to stop any major project no matter what the cost to Canadian families in lost jobs and economic growth. No forestry.  No mining.  No oil.  No gas. No more hydro-electric dams.

These groups threaten to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda.  They seek to exploit any loophole they can find, stacking public hearings with bodies to ensure that delays kill good projects.  They use funding from foreign special interest groups to undermine Canada’s national economic interest. They attract jet-setting celebrities with some of the largest personal carbon footprints in the world to lecture Canadians not to develop our natural resources.  Finally, if all other avenues have failed, they will take a quintessential American approach:  sue everyone and anyone to delay the project even further. They do this because they know it can work.  It works because it helps them to achieve their ultimate objective: delay a project to the point it becomes economically unviable.”

The entire letter is so good, it’s well worth reading. It is almost certainly the most blunt, honest thing any senior Canadian politician has ever dared to say about the extreme-environmentalist lobby, who are so accustomed to being treated as serious, reasonable stakeholders, and given so much credit for their supposed “good intentions” that they’re today on the brink of nearly paralyzing a G8 nation’s energy development.

These groups lost sight of what being “reasonable” means years ago; raking in dough from rich, faraway foreigners has a way of doing that, a way of insulating you from the way real, Canadian people think. Forest Ethics, one of the extremist anti-oil groups caught using foreign money to manipulate our policy decisions, said about Alberta’s oil industry last month that “No substantive efforts to clean them up, or measure their pollution makes them a socially acceptable form of energy…”

Unacceptable. Period. They want them gone. These outsiders would shut our industries down, and they’ve got the wealth to do it. That’s not reasonable. It’s fanatical.

Clearly Joe Oliver sees that. And it’s no wonder that it causes him great alarm: developing and diversifying Canada’s economy has become a battle between average, hardworking, reasonable Canadians and slick radicalized non-Canadians with incredibly deep pockets. But it shouldn’t be a battle at all. If the system is set up right, Canadians and Canadian concerns should win, automatically, every time.

The system, Oliver says, “is broken.” He’s right. Let’s get busy fixing it before it’s too late.

Comments (40)

  1. Spin cycle on pipelines, ‘foreign interests’ hits warp speed
    by Stephen Hume, Vancouver Sun

    “The gladiators of spin arrive in their shining armour and logic departs the arena faster than common sense flees a drunken Vancouver hockey crowd.

    Welcome to the Internet Age, when any sophist with a slogan, some cherry-picked research and a laptop can muddy the waters.”

    “Where, indeed, does’s funding come from?

    I wouldn’t look for in-depth analysis of these questions anytime soon, though; they are not on the spin program.”

  2. About time people of Canada wake up and take actions! Very glad we are getting out of the UN.. I served my country for 21 years and don’t beleive in it! Another way for terrorist to get millions if not billions of dollars! Lets start taking care of our own self and create work here with our own money before we get dragged into the hole with them.

  3. These Indian groups, from their own website, are in bed with special interest groups from the UK, Europe and the US, with one goal, and that is to shut down the oil sands. This could very likely plunge the country into a civil war. These phony hearings need to brought to a close now.

    • the reality of this particular issue will be… the vast majority of the BC residents are going to say no damn way do we want this… and Alta is going to be looking for a way to ship their oil out… maybe with climate change you can put a pipeline straight north and get the tankers to come into Northern Canada eh… ;) that is of course if the NWT agree’s to it…

      • Climate change BS. Alberta should immediately start to collect all taxes in the province, both federal and provincial, and with hold transfers to the feds until a stop is put to these already hijacked pipeline hearings. That would amount to about twenty billion dollars that leaves Alberta every year now, and never comes back. Further more, if that’s the way the people of BC feel. Then Alberta should shut down the oil pipelines that already run to BC that feed their refineries, and halt all truck shipments of fuel to BC. Further, stop all east west train traffic at the BC border to block their lumber and container trains. Two can play your game.

  4. Our minister is an idiot… and the worst thing out of this is the populations of two provinces are going to spend the next two years at each others throats over this…

    Get an accurate poll and you’ll likely find the vast majority of BC doesn’t want this pipeline… push it too hard, and the province will get all HST’ish over it… People move and live in BC because they like the quality of life provided by the mountains, the forest, and the ocean… anything that jeopardises that simply isn’t going to fly with the population… Our fearless leader Harper doesn’t like being pushed around, but if he pushes this too hard this is going to turn into nightmare…

    I have to say the only thing I like about this whole situation is the humour value of perhaps being a fly on the wall in his office as he gets pissed off his plans are being thwarted… For such a micro managing control freak this is bound to peeve him off something fierce… That is almost worth the price of admission just to see him lose his cool over it.

  5. Harper the little man who thought he could…… micro manage and control the minds of a country, and force them to accept his nonsense… spouted from the mouths of his minions…

  6. I am so proud to be a Canadian and to see that our Government is willing to stand up against the leftist in this Country. I’m tired of these foreigners like George Soros trying to create his one world government, at the expense of Canadians.

  7. Nice try guys! These “foreign interests” (i.e. global environmental groups) are NOT trying jeopardize “Canadian” interests, they are trying to protect the world from the DIRTIEST oil on the planet. We are not that dumb. We are capable of seeing through your smoke. The “if I don’t, somebody else will” argument that oil will be sought out from other ‘unethical’ sources such as Saudi Arabia if we don’t produce it is irrelevant and unsound. This attempt at “justification” does not make unethical actions (i.e. jeopardizing the planet with dirty oil) morally right. I look forward to seeing what you come up with next!

    • Your argument is the most bogus of all. The world is not in danger from oil. It is in danger without oil. So essentially, you and your haywire fantasy ideas are a danger to this country and the world.

      • The world would be in danger without oil? If a quarter of the money put into the oil industry was directed towards sustainable, environmentally friendly energy, oil wouldnt even be neccessary..
        Change will eventually come, but at what cost. We have already made too much of a mess.

        • There is no such thing. Energy either exists or it doesn’t, it either fits the application or it doesn’t. Yours is a world of fantasy where the version of sustainable is sustainable poverty and death.

          • Jordan Elchasqui January 13, 2012 at 21:54

            Robmax, what are we going to do when oil runs out? It is not infinite. We have to transition eventually, why not start now? Just because certain people have interests in selling as much oil as possible does not mean that we should let them or that we should not transition as soon as possible.

          • -Biomass, from rapid grow trees to biofuels made out of processed plankton that can be grown in any water purification plant.
            -New solar tech, clear panels that can be placed over windows and curved surfaces.
            -Wind generators installed in sky scrapers, they supply all the energy to the building itself and four similar sized nearby buildings.
            -Tidal installations, this measure can supply ALL of England’s energy needs
            -Geothermal, admittedly more research is needed before it is economical
            Not a fantasy, the fantasy is that we can’t get off our oil addiction

  8. Resource Minister should do some due diligence on pipe line partners…

    If Ethical Oil’s concern is about supporting oil companies linked to hideous and unethical practices like the oppression of women, terrorism and human rights abuses why are they supporting a pipeline being developed in partnership with some of the most unethical companies in the world?

    Sinopec is identified by human rights groups as one of the four worst companies operating in the Sudan. Sinopec’s partnerships with the government provides fiscal support for the Sudanese government’s genocidal military operations. The government depends upon oil revenues from Sinopec – which owns three key Sudanese oil companies – to support its military purchases and campaigns against the South.

    Sinopec plays a similar role in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), partnering with one of the most oppressive regimes in the world to develop both offshore and land based oil and gas reserves. Revenues from these operations help pay for the government’s extraordinarily repressive internal security operations.

    For this Sinopec in 2008 ‘earned’ the second worst rating for a company operating in emerging markets from RepRisk, a company that assesses reputational risk for commercial and investment bankers and asset managers.

    Doesn’t Sinopec’s involvement alone in the Northern Gateway Pipeline make the pipeline just another project of unethical oil? You’d think so. But there’s more.

    Just this past week new funding partners have declared their investment in the Pipeline project.

    MEG Energy is a Northern Gateway investor partly owned by CNOOC, another Chinese company with a poor human rights record in Burma. According to Wikipedia in 2008 the US Treasury Department asserted that CNOOC was cooperating in a Burmese joint venture with a company run by a Burmese family “linked to heroin trafficking”.

    According to the Globe and Mail Sinopec and MEG are joined by two more Chinese companies with appalling environmental and human rights records. According to the Globe, “Market sources have said they believe China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) also holds an interest in Gateway. Sinochem Group, another Chinese energy firm, is also believed to support Gateway.”

    According to RepRisk CNPC in particular “has been heavily criticized for its exploration agreements in Myanmar and alleged support for human rights abuses in Sudan, as well as the proposed Pengzhou petrochemical plant and oil refinery in Sichuan province in China, and relations with its controversial subsidiary PetroChina”. In 2008 RepRisk rated CNPC as the company with the 4th worst reputation in the world.

    Partnerships with Myanmar and Sudan… links to Burmese heroin traffickers… With this cast of characters partnering in the development of the Northern Gateway, you’d think Ethical Oil would be at the front of the line condemning the pipeline.

    That is if you think Ethical Oil’s real purpose is to oppose unethical oil.

    If, on the other hand, its real purpose is to front for Enbridge with scurrilous attacks on pipeline opponents…. Well then its actions to date make sense.

  9. We can’t have it both ways — have international-backed oil production companies with international-based customers but then shut out international commentary and criticism under the guise/ slogan that they don’t care about Canadians. Come one….oil use and climate change implications are huge global issues, regardless of where the oil originates — Ethical Oil and Minister Oliver are over simplifying the issues and asking us to close our minds to ideas that may not mesh with “Canadian economic best interests”. The world has huge problems to face in terms of energy production and climate change abatement — no one nation is going to solve them on behalf of the world so we need to welcome all these diverse and divergent voice to the table. Easy? No way! But part of the new global reality — absolutely.

    PS: And yes, I would like to know who funds Ethical Oil? I can’t believe there is no large corporate backing here.

  10. Another point of view…

    An Open Letter to Joe Oliver

    “Unfortunately, there are environmental and other radical groups that would seek to block this opportunity to diversify our trade. Their goal is to stop any major project no matter what the cost to Canadian families in lost jobs and economic growth.

    “No forestry. No mining. No oil. No gas. No more hydro-electric dams.

    “These groups threaten to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda. They seek to exploit any loophole they can find, stacking public hearings with bodies to ensure that delays kill good projects. They use funding from foreign special interest groups to undermine Canada’s national economic interest.”

    - From your open letter of today’s date, January 9, 2012.

    Dear Joe,

    Your letter caught my attention. I respect you and like you a lot as a colleague in the House. Unfortunately, I think your role as Minister of Natural Resources has been hijacked by the PMO spin machine. The PMO is, in turn, hijacked by the foreign oil lobby. You are, as Minister of Natural Resources, in a decision-making, judge-like role. You should not have signed such a hyperbolic rant.

    I have reproduced a short section of your letter. The idea that First Nations, conservation groups, and individuals opposed to the Northern Gateway pipeline are opposed to all forestry, mining, hydro-electric and gas is not supported by the facts. I am one of those opposed to the Northern Gateway pipeline. I do not oppose all development; neither does the Green Party; neither do environmental NGOS; neither do First Nations.

    I oppose the Northern Gateway pipeline for a number of reasons, beginning with the fact that the project requires over-turning the current moratorium on oil tanker traffic on the British Columbia coastline. The federal-provincial oil tanker moratorium has been in place for decades. As former Industry Canada deputy minister Harry Swain pointed out in today’s Globe and Mail, moving oil tankers through 300 km of perilous navigation in highly energetic tidal conditions is a bad choice. In December 2010, the government’s own Commissioner for the Environment, within the Office of the Auditor General, reported that Canada lacked the tools to respond to an oil spill. These are legitimate concerns.

    Furthermore, running a pipeline through British Columbia’s northern wilderness, particularly globally significant areas such as the Great Bear Rainforest, is a bad idea. Nearly 1,200 kilometers of pipeline through wilderness and First Nations territory is not something that can be fast-tracked.

    Most fundamentally, shipping unprocessed bitumen crude out of Canada has been attacked by the biggest of Canada’s energy labour unions, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, as a bad idea. The CEP estimates it means exporting 40,000 jobs out of Canada (figure based on jobs lost through the Keystone Pipeline). They prefer refining the crude here in Canada. (The CEP is also not a group to which your allegation that opponents of Gateway also oppose all forestry, mining, oil, gas, etc is anything but absurd.)

    The repeated attacks on environmental review by your government merit mention. The federal law for environmental review was first introduced under the Mulroney government. Your government has dealt repeated blows to the process, both through legislative changes, shoved through in the 2010 omnibus budget bill, and through budget cuts. In today’s letter, you essentially ridicule the process through a misleading example. Your citation of “a temporary ice arena on a frozen pond in Banff” requiring federal review was clearly intended to create the impression that the scope of federal review had reached absurd levels. You neglected to mention that the arena was within the National Park. That is the only reason the federal government was involved. It was required by the National Parks Act. The fact that the arena approval took only two months shows the system works quite well.

    Perhaps most disturbing in the letter is the description of opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline as coming from “environmental and other radical groups.” Nowhere in your letter do you mention First Nations. (I notice you mention “Aboriginal communities,” but First Nations require the appropriate respect that they represent a level of government, not merely individuals within communities.)

    The federal government has a constitutional responsibility to respect First Nations sovereignty and protect their interests. It is a nation to nation relationship. To denigrate their opposition to the project by lumping it in with what you describe (twice) as “radical” groups is as unhelpful to those relationships as it is inaccurate.

    “Radical” is defined as “relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough.” (Merriam Webster).

    By that definition, it is not First Nations, conservation groups or individual opponents that are radical. They seek to protect the fundamental nature of the wilderness of northern British Columbia, the ecological health of British Columbia coastal eco-systems, and the integrity of impartial environmental review. It is your government that is radical by proposing quite radical alteration of those values.

    Your government has failed to present an energy strategy to Canada. We have no energy policy. We are still importing more than half of the oil we use. Further, we have no plan to reduce dependency on fossil fuels, even as we sign on to global statements about the need to keep greenhouse gases from rising above 450 ppm in the atmosphere to keep global average temperatures from exceeding a growth of 2 degrees C. The climate crisis imperils our future – including our economic future – in fundamental ways which your government ignores.

    By characterizing this issue as environmental radicals versus Canada’s future prosperity you have done a grave disservice to the development of sensible public policy. There are other ways to diversify Canada’s energy markets. There are other routes, other projects, and most fundamentally other forms of energy.

    I urge you to protect your good name and refuse to sign such unworthy and inaccurate missives in the future.


    Elizabeth May, O.C.
    Member of Parliament
    Saanich-Gulf Islands

    Green Party of Canada

  11. Mercantialisms new trend. Send Canadian oil to China. Buy BACK that oil in the form of plastic goods with money that the SOCIALST CHINESE lend you.

    Jesus H. Christ. Clean the sleep from your eyes.

  12. If “ethical oil” is concerned about human rights and evils of “conflict oil” why suport a pipeline that will send our ethical oil to be processed in conflict zone refineries? Ie china. Why not lobby for more local refinement creating jobs and maintaining an honest ethic.

  13. Rather than ship this oil west to the coast where we do not want our salmon stocks and their habitat destroyed, why aren’t you talking about a pipeline to Atlantic Canada.They are importing oil and could use the Alberta Resources. A pipeline in that direction would make economic sense, don’t you think?
    Also, the Asian markets are very progressive and are developing solar and wind energies. they will not need our oil by the time a western pipeline is built.
    We in BC are very concerned about our environment. That is why people come to BC, we market our province as a beautiful place, and do not want an oil spill to destroy our pristine nature. Thanks for thinking of us ( ha, ha) but no thank you for your oil.

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

    Joe Oliver and Stephen Harper are pushing for this pipeline to China. How is this going to affect our relations with our biggest trading partner, the US? We are turning our backs on our neighbors, it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Are we getting squeezed between two major world powers, China and the US? Are we in over our heads?

  15. Wow. Foreigners being dissed by Canadians. Our government turning us into xenophobes. I guess Canadian industry lobbyists will now voluntarily quit lobbying foreign governments for Canadian business interests. And you Ethical Oil folks will stop acting as shills for Canadian companies who still do business in countries that aren’t “ethical”.

    I’m old enough to remember when Canadian companies used to argue that by doing business in dictatorships they were actually helping export democracy.

    I guess the definition of hypocrite escapes you.

  16. What do the environmentalists have to gain from this? Have you asked yourself about that? Big salaries? uhh, don’t think so. They are actually doing this for all of us and taking a lot of nasty heat besides.
    But Ethical Oil, funded by the oil companies, can afford some nice compensation.

  17. There is no such thing as ethical oil. There is only dirty oil, the dirtiest coming from the oilsands in Alberta. The majority of British Columbians are against the Northern Gateway pipeline. Even the slightest risk of soiling and despoiling BC’s natural beauty, precious rivers, coastal eco-systems, salmon runs, etc. is not worth any economic gain of such a pipeline. There would be more economic gain from green innovation and finding alternative sources of energy. But as long as the conservative neanderthals are in Ottawa, there will be little hope for that.

  18. To all Canadians – when will we realize that economic progress is not the same as human progress. Think about this… I mean really THINK about it. Disregard the rhetoric and propaganda these corporations spread. Will selling oil increase Canadian revenue – probibly. But at what cost? Stop measuring human prosperity in terms of GDP and start measuring in terms of QUALITY. Do you really think a pipeline to the U.S. and expanding the tar sands will make things better for the individual Canadian citizen? No. This tar pits will change nothing for the economically disadvantaged, irreversibly damage the environment, all while the corporate elite get rich.

    Please, don’t buy into the notion developing these tar sands will be good for Canadians. We has the 3rd largest reserve of oil in the world, and yet the prices consumers pay at the pumps is outrageous. Big business keeps all this extra money for themselves and the greedy politicians that support their cause. As for the jobs and economic stimulus this will create, big business has the perfect footing to make sure they reap the wealth while the working class get the scraps.

    I am NOT a “radical”. This is a word that politicians and oil company sympathizers will use more and more for anyone who opposes them. What is so radical about the idea that the tar sands are destroying our once pristine country, big oil executives are greedy businessmen, and politicians are helping them exploit our lands? Are these such radical ideas? There is a lot of misinformation out there, and this “ethical oil” website is full of propaganda used to serve these powerful oil companies. Listen to them talk about the “foreign interest groups” with “incredible deep pockets”. Who? You mean Green Peace? Displaced aboriginals? Outdoor enthusiasts? Citizens who don’t like contaminated water and eradicated wildlife? Who really has the money in this situation. The same people funding this website…

    Please learn to think for yourselves and don’t let the big oil cronies and propaganda fool you. Don’t let them scare you with threats of supporting terrorism from foreigners, or shame you with insults of unpatriotism, or illude you with promises of wealth.

    The question is simple “Are the tar sands in the best interests of our country?” I think in our hearts we all know the answer.

  19. There is nothing foreign about wanting to stop the biggest mistake in Canadian history. Pumping oil through the most active forest fire zones on the planet is down right stupid. Enbridge has released reports that clearly state that they EXPECT oil spills. An oil spill on the BC Coast will annihilate the salmon population(make them go extinct). An oil spill in the Great Bear Rain Forest will not only cause an area that burns annually to become more flammable, it will devastate countless endangered species from animals to vegetation. And what do you suppose happens when a fast majority of the trees are gone but we pump millions of tons of CO2 into the air? Humans require a great deal of oxygen to live actively, sure we might no die off, but there will be no more Olympics, high school sports, school play grounds, sport fields, jogging down the street, even intercourse will need to become a lot less active, etc. We the people of BC(without any foreign influence say NO! to the Northern Gateway pipeline.

    About foreign interests, The Northern Gateway pipeline is being designed to supply “ethical” crude oil to china at a bargain price which Canada will buy back as finished product for top dollar. The very same thing that is happening with our raw log exports. The only people that are working for foreign interests are the oil companies, logging companies and politicians. You want ethical, not a drop of crude oil should be exported, only finished products leave our borders or leave it in the ground. On the wood matter, China may NEED soft wood, but they should be buying lumber not raw logs and its websites like this that support taking jobs away from Canadians.

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