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Greenpeace Needs To Update Its Views On The Oilsands

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Talk about great marketing.

From U.S. state dinners in Canada's honour, to 60 Minutes episodes promoting our new leader's hip outlook, to glitzy coverage of our prime minister on the pages of Vogue and GQ... it looks like Canada is on a roll.

I haven't seen a rebranding campaign as comprehensive as this since New Coke.

So why haven't our harshest critics paid attention to Prime Minister Trudeau's 'sunny ways' playbook?

It's a serious question. From the selection of an activist federal cabinet to Canadian government commitments made at the UN climate meetings in Paris, to speeches and funding announcements delivered at the GLOBE environmental conference in Vancouver, a great deal has happened over the last few months.

Through it all, Greenpeace is the same old same old. Federal, provincial and local elected officials work with industry to move forward -- and Greenpeace drags its feet.

Some, like me, argue we've been on a solid path toward more sustainable development in this country for years, as the resource industry researches, develops and implements sustainability innovations on the ground such as steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) that extracts deep oil deposits without removing the soil above it.

Others might say real change is only just now occurring.

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Ironically, Greenpeace -- an international group that emerged out of Canada in the 1970s and hasn't changed much since then -- seems one of the genuine outliers when it comes to updating its views on the current state of play.

The group, which is based on conflict, drama and media-friendly gamesmanship, can't seem to modernize its information on the Canadian record of racial and gender equality, world-leading human rights, opportunities for education, overall social freedoms and environmental performance.

It makes me wonder: which practical way of life do they actually support?

Words matter -- sometimes as much as actions do. By attacking any Canadian strategy toward building a new pipeline to tidewater in order to export our oil and gas resources, Greenpeace helps our only significant customer, the U.S., to develop its own oil and gas resources at our expense. They also help our other competitors like Venezuela, Equador, Brazil, Mexico and oil producers in the Middle East gain market share.

Through both word and deed, Greenpeace helps destroy our country's potential profits -- to the benefit of our competition.

Does Greenpeace protest oil pipelines and oil exports in any top 10 oil reserve country other than our own? Of course not. So why is just one country -- Canada -- receiving all the attention? There's no answer.

The multinational activist organization claims it cares about climate, as its executives and staff live jet-set lifestyles, while preaching about impending climate doom. It's all the more ironic given that Canada is the only top oil exporter to the U.S. that has in place carbon regulations on oil production. Still Greenpeace celebrates when the proposed Keystone XL is blocked by U.S. politics.

Does Greenpeace protest any of the oil tankers that carry heavy oil to the U.S. from Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico or the Middle East? I'll give you one guess. The answer is no.

In its 2014 annual report, Greenpeace claimed it had only six offices in the world's top 10 oil reserve countries. Four of those are in Canada; two are in Russia. Such an apportioning of resources makes no sense -- unless the organization thinks fundraising in Canada is a lot easier than it is in Saudi Arabia or Venezuela, where sustainability is about as unpopular as environmental activist organizations.

Canada Action carried out a Twitter poll recently. Among other things, we found most people think Greenpeace key staffers earn well in excess of $80,000 a year. While we don't actually know the salary figures, I'd hate to think that number was accurate -- that's a lot of cash for attacking other people's job prospects.

Oilsands activities are state-of-the-art and getting even better. Emissions are comparable to all the electricity generation in Wyoming, the least populated state in the U.S.

So if you're among the majority that believes a small, vocal group is holding Canada hostage while other countries profit from this hardship, then take action.

The more you know, the more sense it makes to support our local natural resource industries. Global oil demand has never been higher, the world needs more Canadian resources, and we need more investment and job opportunities at home.

When Alberta Premier Rachel Notley can proudly wear a Canada Action "I Love Oil Sands" hoodie (see the slideshow above) to show her support for informed conversation about jobs and investment in Alberta, then so can Justin Trudeau -- and so can you!

Oh, and Greenpeace -- I'm sure we have one in your size! Now THAT really would be rebranding!
Cody Battershill is a Calgary realtor and founder / spokesperson for CanadaAction.ca, a volunteer organization that supports Canadian energy development and the environmental, social and economic benefits that come with it. Join the movement on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

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