Cananda’s natural resources minister Joe Oliver has issued a public letter, which an article in the Guardian calls “an extraordinary rant,” attacking opponents of the tar sands pipelines, including Keystone XL, saying they have a “radical ideological agenda” and “dangerous allies.”
“They use funding from foreign special interest groups to undermine Canada’s national economic interest. They attract jet-setting celebrities with some of the largest personal carbon footprints in the world to lecture Canadians not to develop our natural resources,” he said.
Oliver would know all about ideological agendas and dangerous allies. His background is in investment banking and securities–you know, the folks who brought you the global financial crisis:
Prior to his election to Parliament, Mr. Oliver had a career in the investment banking industry. He began his investment banking career at Merrill Lynch, and served in senior positions at other investment dealers and as Executive Director of the Ontario Securities Commission. He was then appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of the Investment Dealers Association of Canada. (via Meet Joe « Joe Oliver.)
Clearly, based on their sterling role shepherding the global economy, investment bankers are the best choice for overseeing natural resources. Seriously, though, if you appoint someone with this background as natural resources minister, your take on things is pretty clear: nature is a pile of economic resources to be exploited for profit. So it’s hardly surprising that Oliver is apoplectic about resistance to his money-spinning plans for pipelines running across the continent and oil shipping in sensitive waters.
As for his comment about the carbon footprint of those “jet-setting celebrities” who have opposed the Keystone XL project and other tar sands exploitation projects, I’ve written to his office and requested that he provide details on his carbon footprint, both in his role as minister and also personally, for himself and his family, as well as for any businesses in which he might hold a controlling interest. In the interests of full disclosure and a “fair and balanced” assessment of his attack. In this day and age, it really makes sense to request ecological as well as economic transparency and accountability from government officials.
[Update: Still haven’t heard from him.]
If you want to write to him yourself, the email address for his Ottawa office is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, in the current climate of the war on terrorism, and after the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act with its provision for indefinite detention, language about “dangerous allies” and “radical ideology” should sound alarm bells. In the UK, we’ve seen recently the extent of government infiltration of radical environmental and peace groups. It doesn’t seem a huge leap to imagine groups such as those, groups branded as dangerous and as having a “radical ideology,” in the UK, the United States and Canada, getting identified as “terrorist” and subject to the full power of the endless war, anti-terrorist surveillance state that the US is fast become.
- Oil sands pipeline battle turns ugly | Environment | guardian.co.uk.
- WWF Report on “Unconventional Oil”
- Canadian tar sands: Is our neighbor to the north becoming a jingoistic petro-state? – Slate Magazine.
- An open letter from the Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources , on Canada’s commitment to diversify our energy markets and the need to further streamline the regulatory process in order to advance Canada’s national economic interest « Joe Oliver.
- Free Carbon Footprint Calculator | The Nature Conservancy.
- Oil Sands/Tar Sands – Wikipedia
- The New York Times thinks the tar-sands pipeline sucks. Here’s why. | Grist.
- Joe Oliver, Minister Of Natural Resources Takes Pot Shots At Protesting Stars | Archemdis’s Blog.
- Daryl Hannah debates Keystone pipeline – Video Dailymotion.