Op-ed by Michelle Stirling © 2020

In an Edmonton Journal op-ed, Devon Page of Ecojustice calls for the inquiry into anti-Alberta activities to be shut down. To the Tar Sands Campaigners, I say: “You have stolen our future. We will never forgive you.”

Page claims the inquiry is a ‘witch hunt’ to silence those who voice concerns about energy projects like the oil sands. He mocks inquiry commissioner Steve Allan on whether charities will be assessed on making ‘false and misleading’ statements.

We do not need the Alberta Inquiry to determine whether charities have made false and misleading statements. In the Ecojustice filing for the recent youth climate trial – Mathur et. al. v. Her Majesty in Right of Ontario, the statement of claim (8. (c)) asserts that the children have a right to a stable climate. Any geologist or historian can tell you there is no such thing. “The Great Warming” or “The Little Ice Age” books by Brian Fagan covering the past 2,000 years along with numerous temperature reconstructions published in the scientific literature show claims the climate has ever been stable are false and misleading.

Page says much of the Tar Sands Campaign information is public knowledge. It is, if you have the time and money to research documents filed with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. IRS filings found by researcher Vivian Krause and reported in the Financial Post of April 13, 2019, indicate that Ecojustice, which says in its documents that it works for free for its clients, was paid through the BC-based Living Oceans Society donor-direct from the US a sum of US$63,547 to appeal the approval of Kinder Morgan’s TMX pipeline.


In public records in Canada, you also will find that the Pembina Institute for Appropriate Development was funded in 2019 by the Trottier Foundation of Montreal for $150,000 for “communication capabilities, in response to being targeted as an enemy of the Alberta energy industry.”

https://www.trottierfoundation.com/2019-grants

Page suggests that the name of the inquiry is pejorative and thus presupposes that the groups are acting against the public interest. In the CBC co-produced documentary “The Tipping Point: Age of the Oil Sands” of 2011, Michael Marx of the San Francisco-based of Corporate Ethics, explains that his “Rethink Alberta” billboard campaign for US-based Natural Defence Resources Council (NRDC) is designed to smear Alberta’s reputation, drive off tourism and make businesses ‘rethink’ setting up in Alberta. Corporate Ethics website states that he advised the International Tar Sands Campaign with over 100 different groups around the world. Seems rather anti-Albertan, no?

Screenshot from CBC’s “The Tipping Point: Age of the Oil Sands” – Michael Marx (the ‘bagman’) explaining his “Rethink Alberta” billboard campaign to Roland Hwang of Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC)

Ecojustice claims there is a climate crisis. But where is the Ecojustice concern that China’s emissions in one month equal those of all of Canada over a year and half, and China is the fastest-growing source of global GHG emissions?

In “The Tipping Point…” we see Susan Casey-Lefkowitz of the NRDC on camera, in northern Alberta, explaining how the Tar Sands Campaign will play out – ‘go after the market’ – in terms of individual consumers (presumably influenced by blockades), political maneuvering, reputational smears and legal challenges designed to shut the oil sands down completely.

Don Thompson, then CEO of the Oil Sands Developers’ Group points out in “The Tipping Point…” that in the 2008 recession, Canada fared well, largely because the oil sands was turning over $30 billion a year and creating about half a million jobs. Had that kind of investment activity continued, by 2033 there would have been a GDP impact of $1.7 TRILLION. Surely explaining the reasons for that loss of income warrants a few million for the Alberta Inquiry.

Don Thompson, then CEO of Oil Sands Developers Group, screenshot from CBC’s co-production of “The Tipping Point: Age of the Oil Sands.”

Albertans’ future was stolen by multi-national groups like Greenpeace, funded by the Oak Foundation of Switzerland for hundreds of thousands of dollars to conduct the “Phase Out Tar Sands” campaign.

https://blog.friendsofscience.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Manufacturing-A-Climate-Crisis-2A-FINAL.pdf

Devon Page claims there is a climate emergency. The CLINTEL group of more than 900 scientists and scholars from around the world says there is none. Indeed, scientists report that additional carbon dioxide has ‘fertilized’ plant life; nominal warming has caused a greening of the Earth of 16% since 1982.

Dr. Sallie Baliunas, the first scientific advisor to the Friends of Science, spoke of medieval witch hunts during what is known as the Little Ice Age. Then, as now, people easily confused extreme weather and human causation, and attributed it to myths like ‘weather cooking with the help of Satan’. In my view, that is just what these anti-Albertan ENGOs have done, turning carbon dioxide, which you breath out at 40,000 ppm with every breath, into an allegedly Satanic gas. They ignore the world’s large emitters and polluters and seek to brand Albertans and oil sands workers as evil climate heretics when this is pure propaganda and has nothing to do with science.


This is why the Alberta Inquiry must go on. We have a right to know who has stolen our future.

Michelle Stirling is Communications Manager for Friends of Science Society and a member of the CAJ and AAAS. She is also author ofMy Tar Sands Tipping Point with CBC“.

Related:

Protest vs Green Trade War: Rebutting Environmental Defence

Fear and Loathing – the Alberta Oil Sands: From National Pride to International Pariah

Environmental Charities – A Compilation of Reports on their Finances, Power and Implications for Canada

Parker Gallant – The Strathmere Group (1 of a series)

Ecojustice – How is this Charitable Activity?