PMO Hates Gays & Greens, Judges & Nurses, AKA “Foreign Radicals” (UPDATED)

(Scroll to bottom for UPDATE)

Wow! This media AlerteInfoAlert from the Prime Minister’s Office is a sight to behold, dear Reader.  Do take a moment to thank Kady O’Malley for postponing her book-reading and sleep in order to share it with us.  the regina mom is also foregoing some book-reading and sleep to write this.  As with her poetry, she’s going to take it line-by-line or at least stanza-by-stanza so it may take awhile to find appropriate links and all.  She hopes you’ll follow along, that you’re a brave enough soul to make it to the computer-eye-glazed end.

From: Alerte-Info-Alert
Sent: Friday, January 27, 2012 08:45 PM

At 8:45 PM on a Friday night, this goes out to the media.  That, in and of itself, is hilarious, is it not?  Can you spell, “desperate”?

To: Alerte-Info-Alert
Subject: Foreign radicals threaten further delays / Des groupes radicaux étrangers brandissent la menace de retards additionnels

Foreign radicals threaten further delays

“Foreign radicals”?  Hmm, those foreigners, maybe they have.  trm has threatened to delay the northern pipeline project.  She has publicly stated that the Northern Gateway Pipeline project will go ahead over her dead body.  And if the HarperCons want her dead body that badly, so be it.  But trm is filled with gratitude for these “foreign radicals” who are threatening to delay her death.  Not yet 50, trm is far too young to die.

So, what else does the PMO have to say about these foreign radicals?

Today, Ecojustice attacked the independence of the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel.  ForestEthics, Living Oceans Society and Raincoast Conservation Foundation joined them in their attack on the Joint Review Panel.

*GASP* — a foreign attack on a Canadian Panel!  By four tree-hugging groups!  Call in the military!  Those plant-loving, ocean living, ethical conservationists, how dare they challenge our panel, eh?  Let’s have a look-see who they are, those radicals!

Ecojustice is a registered charitable organization in Canada.  And all such organizations are subject to laws which regulate all charitiestrm is certain we can trust that with the HarperCon law and order government, any organization undertaking illegal activity would meet the swift hand of justice.  One would expect Ecojustice to know that.  After all, they’ are  “lawyers and scientists.” Just because they “believe in leading the way to a sustainable future” by taking the “lead in four key areas:  clean water, natural spaces, healthy communities and climate protection” shouldn’t mean they don’t know how to follow the laws of the land.

OMG!  An American serves on the Board of Directors:  Judge William Alfred Newsom is a retired state appeals court judge, living in San Francisco, a city also on the western coast of the continent.  And, oh my, he administrates the Gordon P. Getty Family Trust.  But oh-oh!  His son, Gavin, is the former Mayor of San Francisco who granted marriage licenses to same-sex couples!  And now he’s the Lieutenant Governor of California, on record for his support of universal healthcare.  A radical almost as bad as Tommy Douglas!  No wonder the HarperCons a red alert about the organization his father is involved in!

Well, there.  One radical down.  Now to ForestEthics who just fired a whistleblower.  trm discussed that here, but oh dear, lookie here!  They have offices in San Francisco, CA, Vancouver, BC and Bellingham, WA, another Pacific Coast town.  These “foreign radicals” include Academy Award nominee and Emmy Award winner, Stuart Sender, as well as Kevin Johnson, the author of the successful book, The Power of Legacy and Planned Gifts: How Nonprofits and Donors Work Together to Change the World which sounds like it could be radical.  And there are a couple of entrepreneurs (one with an MBA from the Harvard School of Business), a nurse-entrepreneur and a Spiritual Director for a Buddhist meditation centre. Aha! trm has attended Buddhist meditations.  It is pretty radical to sit still for 45 minutes, that’s for sure! Two down.

Onward, then, to the Living Oceans Society, which claims it is “a leader in the effort to protect Canada’s Pacific coast” and focuses “exclusively on marine conservation.”  Sure enough, there are a couple of Americans on the Board and they employ a bunch of educated people.  A sure sign of trouble, isn’t it?  And OMFG, they have proposed an oil tanker prohibition area that extends from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert because “[h]istory has shown that oil spills come with oil tankers. It’s not a question of if a spill will happen, but when.”  [emphasis mine]  They also provide a detailed oil spill model (map) of what’s at stake in the area.  What a radical concept!  Radical, I tell you! Three radical groups down.

All right then, on to the last one, the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, “a team of conservationists and scientists” who use “rigorous, peer-reviewed science and grassroots activism to further [their] conservation objectives.”  Oh, well, then we can be assured these folks are radicals!  Peer-reviewed science?  Real science?  And it’s mixed with activism?  Oy!  How radical can you get?!?  Four radical groups.  Wow!  It’s almost like they’re colluding or something.  All that science and smarts and creativity.  And a bunch of foreigners, to boot!  Oh, the PMO had to take action!

Let’s see what else is in this red alert.

Here are the facts:

The Northern Gateway is currently going through a careful and comprehensive review process to ensure the proposal is safe and environmentally sound.

A lot of people hope so, anyway.

Radical groups are trying to clog and hijack the process, rather than letting the panel do its job independently, expeditiously, and efficiently.

Hijacking?  Yup, that word again.  And, apparently, this hijacking is a fact.  A fact, unsubstantiated at present, but that doesn’t matter in the HarperCon world, so let’s just carry on.  The PMO has more to say, after all.  And I know you want to know, dear Reader.

Our government has asked that the review process be conducted efficiently and without excessive delays.  We believe reviews for major projects can be accomplished in a quicker and more streamlined fashion.

Yes, the HarperCon government has asked for efficiency and speed in the environmental review process, that’s a fact.  And it’s quite likely that they do believe the process could be streamlined, so that is also quite possibly a fact.  Again, unsubstantiated, but let’s give the poor PMO peeps a break and go forward.

We do not want projects that are safe, generate thousands of new jobs and open up new export markets to die in the approval phase due to unnecessary delays.

Our Government’s top priority remains the economy and creating jobs.

Canada is on the edge of a historic choice – to diversify our energy markets away from our traditional trading partner in the United States or to continue with the status quo.

It may well again be a fact that the PMO wants that.  And who really cares about human rights in China when there’s money to be had a new market waiting.  We need dirty jobs just as much as the next guy.  Our oil’s ethical and clean, right?  And it’s safe, too.  That Obama down south there in the USA is just another eco-radical, anyway.  Didn’t you hear him bragging about his billions of dollars for green initiatives during his State of the Union address the other night?  So we’d best cut and run from that sure market, eh? And get back to red alertville.

We know that increasing trade will help ensure the financial security of Canadians and their families.

We want to take advantage of the booming Asia-Pacific economies that have shown great interest in our oil, gas, metals and minerals.

Well, sure they are.  We’re resource-rich.  For now.  And the folks in the PMO probably think that their buddies we had better get as much profit as possible out of Canada’s resources before we have to change things. But never fear, our HarperCon government is already looking at ways to do stop the changes they don’t want.  Some are even talking out loud about it.

All this talk about a little pipeline project has really tuckered out trm.  It’s possible that some dear Readers have also tuckered out and drifted off trying to plough through all this boring material.  That’s sure to make the PMO people happy.

————

UPDATE:  Those four foreign radical organizations have issued a legal notice of motion calling on the Joint Review Panel to “affirm its impartiality in the face of government interference.” Go read.  Now!  With gratitude to Kady @ Inside Politics for keeping us informed.

UPDATE2:  Should have also included a link to the cover letter and and supporting documents these foreign radical groups based in Canada included with their Notice of Motion.

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Hyperbole, Haste and the Nail in the Coffin: The Death of Oil Pipedreams

It’s been more than a week now since Minister Joe (McCarthy) Oilver’s divisive screed appeared in the Globe and Mail. His attempt to create an us’n’them scenario has been thoroughly denounced and discredited in the blogosphere, as the links provided in my previous posts indicate.

Commentators, even some in the mainstream corporate media, continue to provide more information worthy of yet another blogpost by trm.

Tabitha Southey takes a swipe at the HarperCon hyperbolic campaign with her own hyperbolic prose and imagines a love affair between Big Oil and the Environmental Movement.  trm giggled.

Paul Wells, possibly using the research produced by Deep Climate and DeSmog Blog (Who knows? He credits no one.), also wades into the online discussion.  He quotes an unnamed HarperCon supporter who assures him there’s no connection.

“I’m 100 per cent sure that there’s no coordination between Alykhan and Joe Oliver’s office,” one Conservative said. The connection is loose and cultural, not conspiratorial: “This government has narratives, and this”—the virtue of the oil sands, suspicion at the motives of its opponents—“is one of them.”

Max Paris at CBC notes that the no-go on the Keystone XL pipeline in the USA “added new urgency to the Northern Gateway Pipeline process.”  He addresses Tom Flanagan’s suggestion that PMSH could use Section 92(10)(c) of the Constitution  to ensure the pipeline goes ahead.

Here’s what Bruce Ryder — a constitutional law expert and prof at Osgoode Hall — thinks of Flanagan’s clause:

“It’s a valid legal power that Parliament possesses. To use it would raise an outcry and be intensely controversial from the point of view of constitutional convention or practices that have evolved to reflect contemporary understandings of federalism that treat the provinces and the federal government as equal.”

Bloggers and alt media haven’t stopped talking about the pipelines, either.  DeSmog Blog has a detailed expose of the interconnections among Sun Media, the HarperCon government and the folks at Ethical (sic) Oil, including an analysis of the digital fingerprints, the creation of the echo chamber and the relationships of those in that chamber. A bonus in the post is the Rick Mercer spoof of “foreign influence” spin.

And last, but certainly not the least, is Andrew Nikiforuk’s piece in the Tyee.  In What the Keystone Rejection Really Reveals, he educates trm on the jobs! jobs! jobs! blather we regularly hear from the proponents of both KXL and NGP:

(For the record, the oil industry is not a jobs machine. It is the world’s most capital-intensive industry and earns more than 10 per cent of the world’s GDP. But it only employs less than one tenth of one per cent of the world’s workers. In Canada it accounts for but 1.8 per cent of the workforce.)

And, he leaves trm with a smile on her face.

TransCanada says it will apply again in 2013 with a different pipeline route. For oil-sand developers, Keystone XL still remains Plan A to get bitumen to foreign markets. It’s not as cheap as moving bitumen to the Canada’s West Coast but it comes with fewer risks.

Most senior executives in the oil patch quietly admit that Enbridge Gateway project (Plan B) will never be built. The local opposition against this desperate pro-China folly is much stronger and just as committed as that against Keystone XL.

In fact, the path closed long ago due to ineptness and hubris as well as a ruthless disregard for the power of salmon, whales and First Nations.

It’s deader than Keystone.

And trm‘s still smiling about that!

Northern Gateway Pipeline: The Video Version

I’m not much of a video lover, myself, but I know most of our culture is and so I’ve been amassing a few links that may be of interest to those who’d rather learn about the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline via video rather than text. Here are just a few. (Note, this page could take a while to load.)


Risking it All – Oil on our Coast

Risking it All – Oil on our Coast from Twyla Roscovich on Vimeo.



Tar sands to tankers – The fight against Enbridge


Cetaceans of the Great Bear Rainforest

Tipping Barrels: A journey into the Great Bear Rainforest

Tipping Barrels from Sitka on Vimeo.

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!

Ethical Oil? Puhleeze!

I just finished watching Inside Politics with Evan Solomon.  In this episode, he’s speaking with John Bennett of the Sierra Club and Kathryn Marshall of Ethical (sic) Oil.  I turned off the player about 8 minutes in.  Ms. Marshall was too much for me.  And I mean it. Too.  Much.  Arrogant.  Rude.  Repetitive.  As one Facebook commenter said, Clearly, she’s built so that when you pull the string that comes out of her back she says either “We’re a grassroots organization” or “This is a about foreign money.”  Talk about puppets, eh?

Interestingly, the Ottawa Citizen today revealed that Ethical Oil dial-a-quote Kathryn Marshall is married to Hamish Marshall, Harper’s former strategic planning manager.  Those rightwingers are very interconnected.  For a better rundown on that, check out this post at deepclimate.org.

Another interconnection came to my attention as I prepared this blogpost.  Former Conservative MP and Cabinet Minister, David Emerson, is currently employed by the Chinese government.  He’s working for the China Investment Corporation which, according to Reuters, purchased a 45 percent stake in oil sands properties near Peace River, Alberta … for $801 million about a year ago.  The Ottawa Citizen has more on all that.

A post over at Creekside the other day inspired me to do a bit of research on those corporations which have invested in the tarsands project.  It’s not pretty.  Their ethics are questionable, to say the least.  Their involvement in human rights abuses, the illegal arms trade and ecological destruction around the globe have been documented.  Check them out from the links below and then send a message to your MP, asking why Canada is open to doing business with these corporations:

Daewoo International
BP Canada
Total SA
Exxon Mobil Oil
Koch Industries
Sinopec

About that northern pipeline…

Poetic Justice!  Enbridge reports leak from U.S. pipeline as Northern Gateway hearings begin.  This is nothing new for Enbridge, the leak, that is.  They happen all the time.  From 1999 to 2010 Enbridge had 804 leaks, spilling more than 16,000 barrels of hydrocarbons into the environment per year.

 

New research indicates that oil is a lot more toxic than we’d previously believed.

Bad news for the Gulf of Mexico: a study released in late December sheds new light on the toxicity of oil in aquatic environments, and shows that environmental impact studies currently in use may be inadequate. The report was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study, spearheaded by the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory in collaboration with NOAA, looked into the aftermath of the 2007 Cusco Busan spill, when that tanker hit the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and spilled 54,000 gallons of bunker fuel into the bay.

The key finding involved the of Pacific herring that spawn in the bay. The fish embryos absorbed the and then, when exposed to in sunlight, physically disintegrated. This is called phototoxicity, and has not previously been taken into account when talking about oil spills.

 

Maybe that’s why the HarperCon spin machine has hit warp drive.

 

More likely, though, as David Suzuki suggests, it’s a matter of profit.  “The only real argument for Northern Gateway is that it will increase profits for the oil industry, and hand over more of our resources and the associated profits and jobs to China,” he says.  The only jobs we’ll get here will be short-term ones during the construction of the pipeline and maybe 30-40 long-term jobs in Kitimat.

 

So, wtf, Harper et al.  When ya gonna come clean?