Sunday, May 12, 2013

This Makes Too Much Sense

...for anyone within the Conservative cabal to heed its words. Nonetheless, enjoy this well-considered editorial from today's edition of The Star:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his hyper-aggressive natural resources minister Joe Oliver are rapidly turning doubt about Canada’s bitumen into bitter opposition.

Oliver, who travelled to Europe this past week to promote Alberta’s heavy oil, ended up alienating his hosts and provoking a trade spat by vowing to take the European Union to court if imposes an import tax on Canada’s “dirty oil.”

Harper this week to defend TransCanada’s embattled Keystone XL pipeline from climate change activists in the United States.

Back home, the two men have stirred up so much ill-will in British Columbia by demonizing “radical environmental groups” and cutting short public hearings that they have all but killed the chances of getting Alberta’s oil to the Pacific.

In Edmonton, Premier Alison Redford, struggling to find a market for her province’s landlocked oil, has resorted to a level of deficit spending that has shocked Albertans and sent her public support plummeting.

Watching Canada’s descent from “energy superpower” to a stubborn peddler of environmentally damaging fossil fuel has been like witnessing a slow-motion train wreck. Yet the government refuses to recognize the damage it has done, much less change its strategy. It has become clear to everyone — except the prime minister, apparently — that lecturing potential buyers while spewing increasing amounts of carbon into the atmosphere is not going to work.

What Canada needs to do is provide wary buyers proof that it has a credible plan to clean up the oilsands, that it is working with scientists and environmentalists to extract the oil without using vast amounts of water and gas and that it respects its trading partners’ desire for sustainable forms of energy.

The makings of such a policy already exist. Oilsands producers have made modest progress in reducing the intensity of their emissions. Alberta has just levied a serious tax on carbon production. And an increasing number of eastern Canadians who once regarded the oilsands as a blight on the ecosystem are open to developing them if it can be done responsibly.

But the Harper government’s refusal to ratchet down its rhetoric has overshadowed these promising developments.

It is clear Canada cannot sell its bitumen to a wary world without an attitude change and a course shift. The longer the prime minister and his senior ministers remain in denial, the more difficult it will be for Alberta to export its bitumen and become a source of national economic strength. This is no longer an ideological issue. It is a simple matter of common sense.


  1. There's no question, Lorne, that Oliver has ignited the fires of resistance here in coastal British Columbia. I am amazed at the number of lifetime law-abiding grey hairs who are vowing to resort to civil disobedience to do their part to stop these pipelines and the supertanker traffic that SFU recently reported would cause all but inevitable catastrophe.

    Oliver is stomach-churning. As I've said here before, he's a truly nasty bitch. Personally I don't mind his smears when I see how much he is doing to build the spirit of resistance out here.

    We have had our fill of Oliver, Harper, Redford and their ilk.

    1. I don't know if you are retired, Mound, but I am beginning to think that it up to people of the retirement generation to start putting ourselves on the line more for the causes we believe in, since younger people are understandably too busy trying to eke out a living, support their families, etc. to devote serious time to the pressing issues of our time. I am therefore glad to hear your report about the spirit of resistance growing on the Coast.

    2. You guess right, Lorne, although I'm not finding retirement much to my liking. A lot of people I have spoken with and met at demonstrations are retired folks, most of them first-timers to this protest/civil disobedience business, who share your view that it is up to our generation to get off our duffs and stand for the causes we believe in. Hmm, I wonder if they'll have to open a geriatric wing in the local lockup?

    3. Well, Mound, if we 'do not go gentle into that good night,' perhaps we will become the next group to be 'carded' by the authorities.

  2. I'm far from retirement, but I just keep writing letters and blogs and trying to get the word out that things have to change. Articles like this one are a much-needed boost to keep us going! It'll be a hard, but necessary, slog through this mess.

    1. Good work, Marie. Like you, I am a strong believer in never giving up the fight; it seems that in our present political climate, where dissenting views are met with anger and vindictiveness by those who govern, it is one of the chief ways of keeping the spirit of resistance alive. The fact that so much energy is expended by the Harper cabal in denouncing such acts attests to their effectiveness.

      P.S Have you ever thought of listing your blog on Canadian Progressive Voices ( or Progressive Bloggers (

    2. I wasn't aware of those groups - thanks for the tip!

    3. My pleasure, Marie. Such listings will let many others know about your blog.


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