Friday, May 10, 2013

An Embarrassment To All of Us

Like the dotty uncle no one wants to invite to family dinners anymore because of his wildly inappropriate comments, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver is fast becoming an international persona non grata.

With the passion of a senescent zealot, Oliver has drawn unfavorable attention to Canada in recent weeks over his attacks on those who disagree with his unbridled enthusiasm for Alberta's dirty oil. There was, for example, his visit last month to Washington in which he lambasted a leading climate scientist, James Hansen, denouncing him for “exaggerated rhetoric,” that “doesn’t do the (environmentalists’) cause any good.” For good measure, he dismissed the much-respected Hansen for spouting "nonsense' in his warnings about the Alberta tarsands, adding that he “should be ashamed.” His followup interview with Evan Solomon could only be described as 'cringe-worthy.'

His next target was Al Gore who, in a recent visit to Toronto, offered a withering assessment of the tarsands similar to Hansen's. Again, our 'Uncle' Joe denounced him vigorously. Once more drawing upon his limited repertoire, he accused Gore of making "wildly inaccurate and exaggerated claims" about the Harper record on climate change.

But wait, there's more:

On Wednesday in Brussels, Mr. Oliver said Canada would consider filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization, the global referee for trade disputes, if the EU proceeds with its so called fuel-quality directive which singles out crude from Canada’s oil sands as the most harmful to the planet’s climate.

Yesterday, in an apparent rare moment of lucidity, Oliver backed down on the threat, saying that the issue is separate from the European trade deal much desired by the Harper regime.

The antics of our antic Natural Resources Minister have not escaped notice. Yesterday, a group of 12 prominent Canadian scientists wrote a letter to Oliver, essentially asking that he and his government show some maturity on the climate change issue. The letter also offers to help Minister Oliver to understand the data on climate change. No word of a response, withering or otherwise, from the cabinet minister.

Finally, in today's edition, The Star's Rick Salutin has an interesting take on the whole issue, saying that our version of classics like Death of a Salesman, Glengarry Glen Ross, or the current British series Mr. Selfridge would be Mr. Bitumen, the story of a salesman peddling a blatantly faulty, unneeded product.

One of the marks of the enlightened mind is the ability to process new information that can alter one's perspective. Joe Oliver shows no such capacity. Guess that's why he's a member of the Harper Conservative government.


  1. You should lookup "a celebration of tar sands" video on youtube.

    1. Thanks for the tip, Anon. i shall do so.

  2. These days, Lorne, whenever Oliver opens his mouth, he puts his foot in it. It doesn't say much for Oliver. It says even less for the man who made him a minister.

    1. Indeed, Owen, I suspect many will judge the Harper Conservatives on the company they keep.

  3. The worst part about Oliver is not his carefully nurtured ignorance but that he's such a nasty bitch. He's contemptuous of the Canadian people, particularly any who stand in opposition to his machinations. He freely smears them as "extremists" who are "inimical" to their country and proclaims himself and his government to be in a "battle" with them for Canada itself. Imagine being allowed to label a solid and growing majority of British Columbians as hostile enemies of Canada.

    He really is precisely what I wrote - a nasty bitch.

  4. You'll find no disagreement of here of your assessment of Mr. Oliver, Mound. Funny how the Conservative mind works though, isn't it? If you don't agree with them and try to provide a little balance to their propaganda, you are on their 'hit list.'

    Richard Nixon would be so pleased.