The minister of natural resources Joe Oliver claims that what he calls radical environmentalist are trying to delay Alberta oil sands developments and thereby also derail the Canadian economy. This warning comes just a day before hearings begin into the projected Northern Gateway pipeline.
The prime minister Stephen Harper joined the chorus by noting that the hearings could be hijacked. The proposed pipeline would deliver oil from the Alberta oil sands to Kitimat on the west coast of Canada. From there the oil would be shipped to overseas markets.
Over 4,3000 people are slated to speak on the pipeline over a period of 18 months. The project is naturally supported by big oil companies. The Conservative government is very much favorable to Big Oil and would like to make the process of approval of projects much quicker. In Oliver's letter there is virtually no recognition that there might be serious environmental problems that could trump development. The letter is filled with scare tactics and ad hominem arguments. He mentions in particular foreign money funding these radical environmentalists. No mention that oil lobbyists might be at work on the Conservative government and indirectly assuring that Conservative coffers are overflowing.
Here is a sample of Oliver's language:"Unfortunately, there are environmental and other radical groups that would seek to block this opportunity to diversify our trade," "Their goal is to stop any major project no matter what the cost to Canadian families in lost jobs and economic growth. No forestry. No mining. No oil. No gas. No more hydro-electric dams." Stephen Harper told an audience in Edmonton Alberta home province of the oil sands that he has heard that there is a growing concern that foreign money is financing attempts to overload the public hearing aspects of regulatory hearings.
Harper no doubt is looking for political support for legislation that would make it easier for big oil interests to get their way. Of course this is all presented as attempting to foil nefarious environmental radicals and advance the interests of the average Canadian through development of the oil sands projects. Not mentioned is that this would be great for the one per cent as well. The environmental health of the planet doesn't even figure in these calculations. For more see this article.