Part III of an Investigative Report into Tar Sands Action & the Paralysis of a Movement. (See Part I & Part II)

by Cory Morningstar

“The masses have never thirsted after truth. They turn aside from evidence that is not to their taste, preferring to deify error, if error seduce them. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim” – Gustave Le Bon, 1895

In 2007 Pembina Institute submitted their infamous tar sands Carbon Neutral by 2020 report to the federal government for hearings on energy and greenhouse gas emissions regulations. This report is a most valuable asset to industry as it portrays the false illusion that it is possible for the tar sands to become “sustainable”. Further, it is an environmental “leader” making the claim as opposed to industry – a gift to the industrial capitalists. The false solutions used to perpetuate such a myth are clearly defined under the Pembina “key conclusions” such as:Carbon neutrality can be achieved by combining on-site GHG reductions using measures such as energy efficiency and/or fuel switching (to lower carbon fuels), carbon capture and storage, and/or purchasing offsets.” On November 14, 2010, Globe and Mail Business reported that Pembina (while standing as a lead ENGO in Climate Action Network [1]) essentially supports the continuation of the tar sands. In the article, Jennifer Grant, oil sands program director with the Pembina Institute, was quoted as saying: “The government needs to identify what the environmental limits are in a cumulative sense for oil sands development to proceed responsibly….”

“We can only hope that the last vestiges of manifest destiny don’t kill us off completely. Poisoning our earth in the name of profits and billionaire well-being, this is what our capitalist society stands for. Everyone wants their name at the top of the marquee in this play of the grand delusion.” — Harold One Feather

On February 25, 2010, a Globe and Mail article titled “What the forestry industry is teaching the oil sands” is most revealing. In 1996, Tom Stephens was named chief executive officer of MacMillan Bloedel Corporation, whose clearcutting of old-growth forests had provoked rage, as well as the single-largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history at Clayoquot Sound in B.C. Caught up in a public relations nightmare, MacMillan Bloedel had the insight that it would be far wiser to engage with specific leaders: “Rather than continuing to fight the protesters, they decided to engage with them, setting in motion a transformation of forest practices that not only assuaged opponents, but also led to more profits.” One such young protester who made up the “Women of Clayoquot” was today’s “green capitalist” Tzeporah Berman, who now works for Greenpeace International. (Berman is also an endorser of the Ottawa Tar Sands Action) Janet Annesley, who campaigned for Greenpeace on the Clayoquot Sound issue, is now vice-president of communications for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. Today, Stephens finds himself in a new environmental battle: “He is a director of TransCanada Corp., whose pipelines serve the oil sands and whose fortunes ride on their success. He knows the value of an industry confronting its environmental demons.” [Emphasis added]

That’s an understatement.

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