A long story and an action item

First Nations leaders are justifiably angered by the HarperCon government’s blatant support for the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.

“The First Nations Leadership Council is greatly troubled by recent comments by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver advocating for the proposed Enbridge Gateway pipeline to proceed even before the Joint Review Panel’s environmental review has begun,” the First Nations Leadership Council said in a commentary published in the Rossland Telegraph.

“We are not going to allow an oil culture to overtake the culture of the coast of British Columbia,” Sterritt said. “That’s what they [pipelines] do. That’s what they did in Alaska and that’s what they did in the Gulf of Mexico. They are just not welcome to do that here. There’s just no reason for it.”

But that doesn’t stop the HarperCons and their greedy oilbuds.  It makes some folks worry that the HarperCons are using psychological warfare to raise the ire of First Nations and their allies and thus provoke violent confrontation.

About the only thing they can do now is escalate the psychological war that is already well underway.

Enter Ethical Oil. A friend and colleague of mine at the Public Good Project, Jay Taber, hinted at the effects of the psychological war in his recent analysis of the Ethical Oil ad, which first appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Network in August 2011.

“My main concern is … that the Harper administration and the extraction companies he works for might be able to mobilize resentment against indigenous peoples and thus foment violence. Secondarily, I am concerned that neutralized liberals might let it happen.”

The relationship between Enbridge and First Nations communities has not, historically, been a good one.  A few years ago, Enbridge’s sub-contractors cut down 14 culturally-relevant trees.

Worse yet was that Haisla leaders didn’t know their territory was being surveyed at all until Enbridge got in contact to make amends.

“We compared it to a thief breaking into your house and destroying one of your prized possessions, and then calling you later to apologize for it,” Haisla councillor Russell Ross Jr. told The Tyee.

What followed over the next five years was a blueprint for how not to engage with native communities, an incident that to this day remains unresolved.

That, according to financial observers indicates that the Enbridge pipedream will likely not materialize:

At least three major stumbling blocks surfaced repeatedly in the review’s important first days that are likely to dog the $5.5-billion pipeline, which would carry product from the Alberta oil sands to this community on the northern West Coast, throughout the two-year review process: aboriginal opposition, little community buy-in and lack of trust that it can be built safely.

A former oil man who tried to gain support for the Mackenzie Valley pipeline wonders why the tarsands are being developed so quickly and without real dialogue.  He talks about his experience and how his support for it changed because of conversations with First Nations concerned about the risks and with co-workers — experts in the field — who could not guarantee that the technology was there to clean up a spill in Hecate Strait.

Perhaps the hard-sell then comes as a result of 194 nations agreeing to significantly reducing carbon emissions.  In an open letter to the Governor of the Bank of England, prominent political personalities in the UK raise concerns about a possible “carbon bubble,” noting that fossil fuels are sub-prime assets:

The letter is also signed by the government’s former chief scientific adviser Sir David King, Zac Goldsmith MP, former environment minister John Gummer and 17 others. It urges action to investigate the risk of the “carbon bubble”.

Mervyn King chairs the Financial Policy Committee (FPC) set up in 2011 to “identify and take action to remove or reduce systemic risks to protect and enhance the resilience of the UK financial system.” The letter’s authors point out that “five of the top 10 FTSE 100 companies are almost exclusively high-carbon and alone account for 25% of the index’s entire market capitalisation” and that this risk will exist in other indices and in bank loan books.

The HarperCons must know this; the PM is an economist.  He must want to help those who helped him get to power get more profits before the bubble bursts.

We won’t let that happen!

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3 Comments

  1. Toe

     /  January 19, 2012

    Thank you and Done.

    Reply
  2. Beijing York

     /  January 19, 2012

    Excellent post, TRM.

    Reply
  1. Hyperbole, Haste and the Nail in the Coffin: The Death of Oil Pipedreams « the regina mom

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