A personal op-ed by Michelle Stirling © Jan. 1, 2019, Communications Manager for Friends of Science Society.

Responding to Alec Castonguay’s Dec. 20, 2018 “A letter from Quebec…” published in Maclean’s magazine.

Cher Alec,

How kind of you to write us. Some of my best friends in Alberta are francocanadiens. And I, too, have friends in Quebec and even worked there for some time, years ago, with Claude Fournier and Marie-Jose Raymond.  Ironically, our main screenplay project was “Les cavaliers de la terre promise” – about the Mounties’ trek west and forging a nation from what was once just an idea.

That was back in the 1980’s before Alberta was deemed to have “dirty oil.” How did that moniker come about? Maybe you have heard of the Tar Sands Campaign?  Researcher Vivian Krause has covered it in detail. It was an intentional effort to lock-in the world’s third largest oil resources and keep a global competitor, Canada (via Alberta and Saskatchewan’s oil sands) out of world markets.

So far, it has been very effective.

You probably don’t know that Quebec had a leading role!

Indeed, beginning in 2009, the Swiss and US-based Oak Foundation, one of the ClimateWorks billionaire foundation partners, granted $5 Million USD to the Montreal, Quebec-based Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA – website ‘tcktcktck.org‘).  This was to ‘mobilize public opinion and advocacy in Canada.’  Over the next three years, Oak provided additional grants totaling $2 Million USD to put pressure on politicians and organizations and individuals to empower them to take their own actions on climate change,

Over a three-year period, starting in 2010, Sea Change Foundation, another US-based ClimateWorks partner, pumped over $4 Million USD into GCCA to ‘reduce reliance on high carbon energy’, and for ‘program development.’ Some of this was to mobilize the public via the large constituencies of trade unions and faith groups in order to influence international climate treaties.

That looks like about $11.7 Million USD dumped into Quebec to agitate against projects like the oil sands. (Source: IRS-990 filings)

You say in your letter, “I get it, you’re angry.”

I can’t speak for all Albertans, but as one who loves Quebec and my own province, it makes me feel nauseated when I see the Quebec provincial logo on the GCCA’s ‘tcktcktck.org’ website right alongside the Oak Foundation logo…it was a live provincial portal at the time I took these screenshots.

Highlighted excerpt:

The GCCA is a diverse network of more than 450 nonprofit organizations in more than 70 countries with a shared goal – a world safe from runaway climate change. The GCCA harnesses the strengths of faith, development, science, environment, youth, labour, and other civil society organization to mobilize citizens and galvanise public opinion in support of urgent climate action.

These foreign funders successfully created pipeline and resource Blockadia in Quebec, long before Albertans had any idea the Tar Sands Campaign was afoot.

So, you are wrong to say that Trans Canada blew it.  Quebec had been radicalized against the Alberta oil sands by foreign-funded saboteurs for over a decade.  Energy East was well-conceived.  It was confounded by activists who came up with everything from Quebec beer at risk to an earlier episode of a female professor on an oil sands discussion panel at Concordia, suddenly bursting into tears, crying that she would never be able have children because of the Alberta oil sands.

Strangely, she was not crying about the refineries and other nations’ oil chez vous.


The Grand Quebec Hypocrisy on Energy East, by Robert Lyman

Objectifs de Reduction des Emissions – Le Cas du Quebec 

We, ourselves, had no idea how bad things were in Quebec until we innocently ran our billboard campaign in 2014. Our focus is climate science and related implications for energy policy.


Kaboom! It seemed that telling people a couple of scientific facts was worthy of a jail sentence.  I analyzed the word themes in the portfolio of complaints that we received from the Ad Standards Council and was surprised at the vehement ‘convulsive flurry’ of emotional claims, so unlike the normally rational franco-canadiens that I know – people who love to passionately debate the facts, not the sentiment.

It was only some years later that the funding noted above was brought to my attention.  Now it all makes sense, including the crazy gut reaction of the ACS- L’Association des communicateurs scientifiques du Québec (ACS).

And about that hydro you want to sell,

First of all, as they say, before you criticize Alberta about the oil sands, where reclamation is the law, let’s maybe have a look at your backyard.

Above: Here’s James Bay on a map of Canada.

Above: Here is the main power plant at James Bay.


And above, marked in a small yellow rectangle, is the power plant on a 300 km wide view with the reservoir.


Below is an image of the Alberta oil sands.

Marked by a yellow rectangle is the area of the oil sands on a 300 km wide view.

Now let us compare the footprint of your energy project to that of ours.

Images and comparison courtesy Norm Kalmanovitch, P. Geoph.

Above:  The comparison of the footprint of James Bay versus the Alberta oil sands.

This is what the oil sands mined area looks like upon reclamation, Alec.

James Bay will never be reclaimed.

Source: https://www.syncrude.ca/environment/land-reclamation/our-progress/

Alec, you say “Keystone XL is delayed again in the U.S…..”

No. Keystone XL has been intentionally blocked by the Tar Sands Campaign. Those same millions that flooded into Quebec to radicalize your people against Alberta oil and the oil sands also funded Blockadia to the south.

Alec, you go on to say: “and B.C. doesn’t want the Trans Mountain expansion, which Ottawa finally decided to nationalize in an attempt to complete it.”

No. BC has had millions of dollars dumped into Environmental Non-governmental Organizations – many of them tax-subsidized charities (!) – to land-lock Alberta oil.

You said we are angry, Alec.

You are right.

We are angry to find out that the principle blocker of Trans Mountain, David Suzuki Foundation, has been funded by Power Corporation of Quebec since 2007.  We’re pretty mad to discover that Caisse de Depot et Placement of Quebec was the second largest shareholder of Kinder Morgan Canada, and so who benefited from Blockadia and the subsequent purchase of the blockaded TMX by the feds?

It makes us angry to know that Caisse de Depot is in bed with Al Gore, the guy who was cheering on pipeline Blockadia of TMX – a billionaire cheering on the job loss of hundreds of thousands of Canadians and tragic suicides of a number of those whose financial desperation drove them to end it all.


And now you tell us you want to sell your hydro to other provinces.

Good luck with that.

We know the LEAP Manifesto crew, the Lewis-Klein family, the team of Skoll and Gore,  and McGill Trottier’s “Acting on Climate” team all have high hopes for a national wind-hydro grid in Canada.

But, let us say: STOP RIGHT THERE.

It’s technically infeasible, Alec.  It’s crazy that ideological investors and foreign-funded eco-activists are driving the energy agenda in Canada – and driving it into disaster.

We asked power generation engineers about this wind-hydro grid idea, that the LEAPers claim could be easily accomplished by 2035.

No chance, Alec.

Here’s why.





We don’t know, but suspect, that since Friends of Science had the audacity to tell Canadians the facts about this power generation idea, a bunch of the supporters tried to have us put in jail for our billboards.

And as for those Paris Agreement targets? You mean the ones mostly set by World Resources Institute, a collaborator with Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management?  Which appears to be the public arm of the ClimateWorks billionaires who are trying to force the world to adopt a global cap-and-trade system and put their $12 trillion in vested interest renewables on the grid…?  You mean those targets?

ClimateWorks Foundation – WikiLeaks




Forgive us if we find this all a bit too ‘convenient’ and fraught with conflicts of interest. Based on climate science evidence, the planet is fine and climate change is only nominally affected by human emissions…(but significantly affected regionally by large water diversions like James Bay).  Since the 2013, IPCC report, it has been clear that carbon dioxide is not the control knob on climate.

And as for Albertans being ticked off about equalization – it’s not the program or transfer that is so galling; it’s that we are a confederated country, and the entire principle of that confederation, as with the Trans Canada railway of many years ago, was to ensure all parts of the country could benefit from the natural geographic traits and resource blessings. We Albertans ‘expect’ to be able to build pipelines from our natural blessings of oil sands, to provinces that have the natural blessings of ocean ports. Just like you expect to be able to ship us crates of maple syrup.

Since we Albertans have shared our riches in the order of some $200 billion in equalization (2000-2014), this does not seem to be an unreasonable expectation.

Your weak excuses don’t cut it, Alec. Not with me.

And I still love Quebec and my francocanadien friends, for far more than the maple syrup. 

I just hate what the foreign-funded Blockadia has done to us in the West – to divide this country – now we turn on each other!

I am also disgusted by your haughty, hypocritical condescension toward this wounded province and her people.  I’ll wait to see if you report on these findings in L’Actualité. If so, I’ll buy the first round of Big Rock beer.

à plus tard,



What we said before Paris COP21:

Décontaminer l’air à la conférence de Paris



Just the Facts on COP21 Paris Agreement

Two Coasts, Two Solitudes


Chris Ragan –Your Livelihood Depends on Oil

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