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Too anti for even the CBC

Alykhan September 2, 2011

When the CBC — home of the notoriously distorted anti-oil sands documentary The Tipping Point — thinks you’ve gone too far with attacks against the oil sands, that’s really saying something.

But even the network home of David Suzuki couldn’t bring itself to swallow the nonsense spouted by Daryl Hannah, the C-list celebrity spokeswoman for the anti-Canadian-pipeline lobby. In her appearance with me on CBC’s Power and Politics this week, Hannah demonstrated just how irresponsible opponents of the proposed Keystone XL have become with their exaggerations and fabrications.

One by one, the CBC knocks her claims down.

“It’s well-documented that the tar sands itself is one of the world’s largest ecological atrocities and disasters.”

Saying certain negative things about the oil sands are “well-document” or “has been widely reported” is a favourite trick of the anti-oil sands crowd, because they’re the ones doing the “documenting” and the “reporting.” They put out reams of anti-oil sands propaganda and then they turn around and point to its proliferation as proof of what they’re saying. They’re merely quoting themselves as authorities.

Nevertheless, as the CBC notes, the Royal Society of Canada’s exhaustive report on the oil sands found that it doesn’t rank anywhere near being the “largest” ecological challenges on the planet.

“The contribution to the carbon in the atmosphere is unprecedented.”

The CBC rightly notes that the oil sands makes up just a sliver of the world’s carbon emissions. They don’t mention that the U.S. coal-fired power industry dwarfs the oil sands carbon output by miles.

“I’ve been hearing about how many people have cancer that live downstream from the tar sands project.”

Here we go again with the echo chamber of anti-oil sands lies. No doubt Hannah has heard about that: she clearly immerses herself in all the anti-oil sands propaganda. But a rumour isn’t truth. And as the CBC pointed out, the claims originated from a doctor later censured for falsifying his cancer findings, while every last proper scientific report into the cancer claims has found nothing to suggest the oil sands are linked to any increases in cancer rates.

“It has poisoned every one who’s lived downstream from it.”

Is there any accusation that the anti-oil sands lobby considers too wild, too beyond the pale? Clearly not. The oil sands industry has been active for more than 40 years. The Athabasca River flows more than 200 km north of Fort McMurray, through Fort McKay, up to Fort Chipewyan where it meets Lake Athabasca. For 40 years, every single one of the thousands of people who have lived along that stretch have been poisoned, says Hannah. Every last one. And she expects people to take her seriously.

Anyway, as if such a ridiculous claim needed rebutting, the fact is that there’s no evidence that anyone has ever been “poisoned” by water downstream from the oil sands. And, as the CBC pointed out, the Royal Society’s report found no evidence that toxin levels in the river are anywhere close to unsafe.

Good for the journalists at the CBC this time for being fair and responsible enough to call out Hannah on her blatant fictions. It would be nice if more media outlets started checking some of the ludicrous claims being made by the anti-oil sands lobbyists. They’d find that almost all of them fall apart just as easily as these ones do.

Comments (3)

  1. The CBC? Our CBC – the same one that Canadians fund to the tune of a billion plus dollars a year, much of which seems to go into social engineering efforts like slamming the oilsands?

    Wow, you could knock me over with a feather. Maybe the editorial winds have begun to shift in light of our current economic straits and recent election.

  2. Great news to hear. Hopefully now Alberta Gov./ Taxpayers will stop funding anti Oil Sands documentaries.

  3. Daryl Hannah is misinformed. She is also not qualified to speak on scientific matters. Her opinion is based on inaccuracy and over-statement.

    Why exactly does anyone care about what she has to say? I say move on.

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