How not to sell the Oil Sands

If you haven’t read Tzeporah Berman’s Daily Kos piece – My Government Doesn’t Believe in Climate Change – go check it out. It’s amazing to see how out of sync, and behind the ball, the government has gotten on this issue.

Indeed, the current government really is becoming the best weapon opponents to the pipelines have against their construction and the further development of the oil sands.

First, the Natural Resource Minister called environmentalists who opposed Northern Gateway – the pipeline that would take Oil Sand crude from Alberta to British Columbia’s west coast – a “radical”. In short order it turns out that, well, the vast majority of British Columbians were radicals since opposition to the pipeline has been, and remains, strong.

Worse, by declaring war on environmentalists and those concerned about climate change, the Minister set a table that would become distinctly awkward when it came to trying to get the White House and State Department to approve Keystone XL – the pipeline that would export oil sands oil down to the US. Consider that the US President mentioned his concerns about climate change in his State of the Union address and the US ambassador to Canada has hinted that Canada’s commitment to addressing climate change may factor into their decisions around Keystone. So now, at the very moment the Canadian Government needs help to persuade the Americans they actually are serious about climate change, they just come out of a five year patch where they’ve labeled everyone who disagrees with it as a radical, sicced auditors on them and tried to shut many of them down. So suddenly they are in a difficult position of having few, if any, allies in the environmental movement they can turn to to help it gain credibility around any of the actions they wish to take. It’s a communications and policy disaster.

Of course, it doesn’t help that even in the midst of trying to convince the United States it actually is serious about Climate Change, the Natural Resource Minister has speaking notes that feature strong climate change denier comments. Elizabeth May, Green Party candidate in the house of commons summed up the Minister Oliver’s quotes – made to the editorial board of La Presse – quite nicely:

This is what Oliver told the editorial board of La Presse: “I think that people aren’t as worried as they were before about global warming of two degrees… Scientists have recently told us that our fears (on climate change) are exaggerated.”

Thank goodness the editorial board at La Presse knows how to ask questions. They pressed him to name any scientist who thinks our fears are exaggerated. He couldn’t.

So basically, we have a minister who is willing to go on record to make a claim about the future of the planet without being able to reference a single source. I’m sure the White House and State Department are deeply comforted.

It is all doubly amazing as this government has been masterful at handling communications around virtually every issue – except for the one that matters most to it, where it has suddenly becoming a bumbling idiot.



4 thoughts on “How not to sell the Oil Sands

  1. Thomas O'Donnell

    Canada is now being subjugated to government by a political party that has turned against the country, its citizens, the environment and ecosystems that connect far outside our geopolitical borders.

    The Harper Government is one of deceit, incompetence, obstruction, dirty tricks, electoral ‘grooming’, ignorance, denial, malice, cronyism, suppression, arrogance, corporatism and evangelism .. hardly the attributes a voter expects from those elected as public servants and stewards of the land.

    Infamy is the just dessert earned by Stephen Harper, Joe Oliver, Peter Kent and Keith Ashfield. Collectively they’ve attacked the Canadian landscape & environment via subversion of common sense, democracy and the needs and wishes of the people.. at the behest of unelected energy corporations.

    They’ve had plenty of help from Jim Flaherty, Tony Clement, John Baird, Gail Shea, Jason Kenney, Juiian Fantino, Peter Mackay, Peter Van Loan.. and thugs like Jenni Byrne, Ray Novak, Fred de Lorey, Arthur Hamilton, Bruce Carson, Tom Flanagan, Senator Finley, Guy Giorno et al .. not to mention a cowardly set of MP’s willing to go along to get along.

    The spokespersons, aides, parliamentary secretaries, lawyers et al deserve solid mention and identification for their complicity in the disaster this government is for Canada.. the PMO as well, and every data geek, robocaller, troll hiding in the background.

    Joe Oliver will never run again, far too toxic, too liable, along with Kent and Ashfield. Look for an ‘anointed one’ to slither from the tailings ponds or a safe riding and take over an ‘uber ministry’ with Resources, Environment and Fisheries & Oceans all rolled into The Ministry of Wealth and Peaceful Energy and Inimical Paramouncy For China.

  2. klem

    The great part about your comment is your lack of vision. You forget that Harper and Kent are squeezing the coal power industry with heavier greenie regulations, which will result in some coal power stations closing down. All to save the planet of course, so you should be cheering.

    However the coal will be replaced by oil, Alberta oil. Coal is a major competitor of oil, so the more coal stations close, the more Alberta oil will be sold to replace it.

    So while you greenies are trying to close down the irrelevant XL pipeline, the Prime Minister is selling more oil than ever to replace coal. Harper is Alberta’s best oil salesman.

  3. Pingback: Another Week of Anthropocene Antics, April 28, 2013 – A Few Things Ill Considered

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