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Macleans picture used.   by Jiri Rezac/WWF/Polaris
COMMENTARY · 25th August 2011
Merv Ritchie
Although the article written by Chris Sorensen and Luiza Ch. Savage, published Thursday, August 25, was a mildly comprehensive look at the issues, they could have been much more accurate. The article begins with;

Over the next few weeks, as many as 2,000 climate change protesters are expected to descend on Washington in an effort to draw more Americans into the debate over Alberta’s oil sands—one of the most carbon-intensive sources of fossil fuel on the planet. But this time, anti-oil sands groups aren’t focusing on the vast open pit mines near Fort McMurray, which one activist memorably compared to J. R. R. Tolkien’s fire-spewing and charcoal-covered realm of Mordor, but on a major pipeline project that the industry needs to move forward with its expansion plans.

Read The Full Article Here.

Read about those already arrested, including Superman's Lois Lane, Here

This next paragraph is how they referred to the unique genetic variant of black bear, the Kermodei, when they discussed a recent National Geographic article.

[the article] was titled “Pipeline through paradise” and focused heavily on the region’s pristine beauty, including the Kermode, or “spirit bears” (black bears that are coloured white), that roam the soggy temperate rainforest.

They even used the term, a “baby seal moment” to minimize the seriousness,

two years ago [National Geographic] created a “baby seal moment” for the oil sands by publishing a 20-page spread, complete with glossy pictures of vast open-pit mines, murky tailings ponds and discoloured fish.


Without mentioning the two resolutions passed by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) against Enbridge and Tanker traffic on the West Coast, or the Coastal First Nations unanimous declaration against the Northern Gateway project, the Macleans authors included this distorted statement from an Enbridge spokesman;

He also questions whether anti-oil sands groups are acting in the best interest of communities along the proposed route. “These are outside groups that are bringing in outside resources and a lot of money to campaign against the building of the pipelines,” Stanway says. “Now, they’re perfectly entitled to do that, but they need to be upfront about their agenda and where their funding comes from.” Enbridge estimates that the pipeline would contribute about $270 billion to Canada’s GDP over the next three decades, as well as create some 1,150 long-term jobs. And, despite the widely publicized opposition of several First Nations, Stanway says Enbridge has signed memorandums of understanding regarding an equity stake in the project with about 30 affected First Nations.

Enbridge has been asked for years who gave them the money to promote the Northern Gateway pipeline! The purported 1,150 long term jobs has nothing to do with the pipeline unless they consider the two year construction “long term” and further Enbridge will not reveal the MOU’s with the supposed 30 First Nations Groups or which groups the MOU's are with.

When talking about the Tankers they neglected to mention Enbridge refuses to take any responsibility for the Tankers or for anything past the 'Tank Farm' at the end of the pipeline claiming they are just a pipeline company. They discuss the requirement of double hulled tankers but again this issue is out of the hands of Enbridge and the Federal Governments Joint Review Panel (JRP) reviewing the project. The tanker issue and the open water sailing routes proposed demand a much more thorough investigation. There was no mention of the poor quality of the newest tankers built today. Read about that issue in an indepth expose’ HERE.

This issue is rarely discussed; the stress life of one of these brand new tankers is rated at only two voyages through these North Pacific waters. The other issue rarely discussed relates to another claim in the article, the Alberta Tar Sands are considered the second largest reserves of bitumen in the world.

If this is true one would have to ask the really simple but hard question. Why transport the raw product out of this region at all? Why risk so much? Transporting it by pipelines, rail cars or Tankers on the open seas or across pristine watershed lands, why? Why not refine it right at the same location? If they did this they wouldn’t even have to import Condensate, the petroleum thinner added to the Bitumen so it will actually flow in the pipes. If they needed it to fulfill contractual obligations, they would already have it from their own refinery.

They wouldn’t be polluting more regions of the planet, they would be confining the pollution to this one area of the planet properly referred to as ‘Mordor’.

This would also be far more profitable to Canada and increase the GDP far more substantially. Canada, the Tar Sands, could be selling tanker loads of contained refined products all packaged securely for shipping by rail, truck or a cargo vessels much like the large Costco carriers arriving at Prince Rupert today.

The product line could be extensive. The profits, unimaginable. The employment, astounding.

The pipeline south to Texas for refining or to Kitimat for tankers to Asia is no different than selling beaver pelts to the Hudson Bay Traders or whole trees to China. Canada is allowing others to sell ourselves short, letting others benefit from our great resource base.

Macleans had a chance to expose some reality but they also took the easy way out; using emotional language and sparce facts to fill some pages, to make a quick buck.

Just like Enbridge wants to do with the Tar Sands. Reality be damned.

The biggest insult is this Macleans article was included in brackets.

(Although it’s questionable whether farmers in the American Midwest and First Nations in B.C.’s Interior are as worried about planetary catastrophe as they are about a potential leak in their backyard.)

The only Canadian governmental agency who tested the water for radiation after the Japanese Fukushima disaster was in fact a tiny First Nations Village. They will now be testing for impacts to their traditional food sources. The planet is everyone’s backyard. And it is the First nations people who know this best of all.

Read more on this testing here HERE and listen to the acting First Nations Band manager describe his humorous interactions with Health Canada by opening the audio file attached at the end of this article.


Here are two often quoted native statements;

“Arguing about who owns what on Planet Earth is like two fleas arguing about who owns the dog.”

“Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.”

Well said, Merv.
Comment by Al Lehmann on 26th August 2011
It's difficult to expect much other than business-oriented slant from MacLean's. Kenneth Whyte, the editor, was previously editor of The National Post (a paper begun by that pillar of the community, Conrad Black), which styles itself as a voice of the right end of the political spectrum (denying anthropogenic climate change and shilling for the war in Afghanistan, for example).
"Way to Say it"
Comment by blocky bear on 25th August 2011
Let me be the first to applaud. This is powerful stuff. I can only hope your message falls on many ears! d.b.