In the Edmonton Journal David Staples writes that the Alberta energy industry is finally speaking out about the massive foreign-funded campaign to shut them down. Especially “non-grassroots, professional anti-pipeline activists who have received tens of millions in funds from U.S. foundations that openly brag about land-locking the Alberta oilsands… during the same time period that U.S. oil production doubled.” Better late than never, he adds, while Gwyn Morgan in The Financial Post lauds the decade-long effort by independent researcher Vivian Krause to document and expose this campaign.
It is very curious that the Canadian left, whose bread and butter used to be discomfort verging on paranoia about American influence on Canada and who still shake the “American-style health care” juju at anyone who proposes reforming our sclerotic medical system, would be so enthusiastic about the largest American campaign to influence Canadian policy in history. Or that the press and politicians should be so uncurious about its existence let alone its implications.
Of course one reason why is deep political, academic and even cultural hostility to the industry it targets. Staples quotes Tim MacMillan, oilfield entrepreneur then Saskatchewan Energy minister and now president and CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, that Bill C-69 is going to make life very difficult for his industry. And the harder he’s worked to get the federal cabinet to see the problem, and the more soothing the reassurances, the worse the actual text has become. “I’m struggling with the government’s line that, ‘This will be fine.’ Because it won’t be fine.”
Staples concludes that “No, it won’t be fine. But at last oil and gas sector leaders and workers are starting to admit past mistakes and to throw hard punches in this heated political dispute. They’re also no longer getting sucker punched by U.S. interests, which will go a long way.”
The question, we would add, is whether industry leaders will also finally start publicly questioning at least some of the more ludicrous extremes of alarmist rhetoric (which is easy to do, since you just have to quote the IPCC reports), as opposed to the losing strategy of making a big contrite show of agreeing that their product is destroying the Earth then asking for permission to keep produ