Joe Oliver Again

Imagine that you and I are meeting face-to-face and you ask me, "Why are you laughing?" If I replied, "It's Joe Oliver again." Would you start laughing too? I'm betting you would. The Harper Government's Natural Resources Minister is undeniably entertaining, but only if you are able to completely dismiss the seriousness his portfolio actually deserves. This is, after all, Canada's Natural Resources Minister, but it's also the same guy who:

  • characterized environmental groups as having a "radical ideological agenda"
  • stated you'll be able to drink from tailings' ponds
  • recently appeared to dismiss climate science and global warming, but later allowed his office to issue a correction
  • just yesterday challenged the views of, perhaps, the world's best known climate scientist, James Hansen.

Given the preceding list, it might surprise you to learn that Joe Oliver didn't just fall off of a turnip truck. Joe:

  • is a lawyer
  • has an MBA from Harvard Business School
  • was CEO of the Investment Dealers Association of Canada
  • is an elected MP and Cabinet Minister.

It would be a huge mistake to assume that Joe Oliver's word selection and sentence construction is anything other than carefully chosen. I'm convinced this gentleman knows exactly what he's doing. Although I don't believe that he's related to Glenn Beck, he has a similar penchant for absurd, but payload-laden statements. Unsurprisingly, his hyperbole, apparently excites his Conservative friends.

We're not idiots Joe, it's obvious to almost everyone that you and your Harper Government colleagues are shills for Multinational Oil. Big Oil expects to earn trillions from Canada's tar sands. Bluntly, it's not a surprise that you're doing your level best to help them.

If I was given the opportunity to offer Mr. Oliver a little advice, I would use his own words, "Quite frankly, I think that kind of exaggerated rhetoric, that kind of hyperbole, doesn’t do the cause any good at all. People are sensible. Americans and Canadians are logical people."

News flash: Mr Oliver, we really are sensible and logical. A whopping majority of Canadians have grown weary of the Harper Government's 'Jobs and Prosperity' propaganda and are increasingly concerned about Canada's:

  • environment
  • middle-class
  • reputation
  • future.

Aside: Have you ever wondered how many of the Harper Government's 'Sycophants to Big Oil' will land cushy Corporate Oil jobs when their political careers have come to an end? Just wondering…

Tom’s Tar Sands Trip

Tom Mulcair Visits Oil Sands

Tom’s tar sands trip, or why Tom Mulcair’s visit to the Alberta oil sands has garnered attention from coast to coast. From the time Mr. Mulcair first mentioned Dutch disease, the overvalued Canadian Dollar, the loss of manufacturing jobs, the threat to Canada’s balanced economy and the absence of sustainable development, folks of all political persuasions have been transfixed.

BTW, before I discuss Mr. Mulcair’s Alberta visit, did you happen to notice that the just released Pembina Institute’s report suggests that Canada has actually come down with a unique strain of Dutch disease they call “oilsands fever.”

There’s no denying that Canada’s oil reserves are a very big deal. An even bigger deal is the question of how best to manage their development in an environmentally friendly, sustainable manner. Frankly, the Harper Government’s oil sands eagerness makes them look like a bunch of old, fuddy duddy, gold-rush characters, flushed with excitement, sweaty palms and all, staring at each other exclaiming, “We’re going to be rich! They’ve told us we’re going to be rich.” In stark contrast, Mr. Mulcair looks like the grown-up in the room telling the kids (paraphrased), “Hold on guys, let’s not get too excited, no matter what they’ve told you, there are some very serious questions that need to be addressed and answered.”

Watch this, oil sands related, CBC video and pay close attention to when Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources, says, “What I am told, I’ve been told…” (about 3 min 50 sec into the clip).

Now ask yourself, who told Mr. Oliver that you will be able to drink from tailings ponds? Did the multinational oil and gas corporations actually tell him this whopper? If that’s the case, picture an oil and gas guy, who looks a little like John Lovitz (video below), saying, “You’ll be able to drink from it, yeah, that’s the ticket, you’ll be able to drink from it and fish from it.” 🙂

Tom Mulcair Visits Oil Sands

Alberta’s Premier, Alison Redford, was at a conference the day Tom Mulcair visited the oil sands, but she recorded a video statement ahead of time and said, “Recent comments by the federal leader of the opposition serve to divide our nation by stating baseless allegations and mistruths. Following Mr. Mulcair’s visit to Alberta’s oil sands, I hope that going forward he recognizes the value of our natural resources to the Canadian economy, and the continued commitment of my government to develop those resources in an environmentally sustainable way.”

Was Ms. Redford’s unnaturally aggressive posture nothing more than a recently re-elected politician playing to her base or did her comments actually reveal considerable underlying defensiveness; you know, the old, “the best defence is a strong offence” posturing. I was just delighted to hear her words “environmentally sustainable”.

For his part Mr. Mulcair was a very polite and respectful, visiting gentleman. Here are a couple of Tom Mulcair’s comments after flying over Alberta’s oil sands in a helicopter:

  • “extraordinary undertakings on a human scale. I mean, they’re massive”
  • “It’s extraordinarily impressive, but it also brings with it real challenges. Real challenges that if we don’t assume in this generation, we’re going to bear in future generations”

He also restated his view that oil companies were getting, “a bit of a free ride in terms of using the air, the soil or the water, in an unlimited way and in an almost free way”, but he made clear “My debate is with Stephen Harper, it’s not with the representatives of one of the companies".

>> click here to watch a short Canadian Press video