09/19/2012 01:03 EDT

Enbridge Pinata On Rick Mercer Report Spoofs Company's History Of Oil Spills

Should Enbridge get into the pinata business? Rick Mercer seems to think so.

The energy giant behind the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline was the target of a spoof ad on CBC’s “Rick Mercer Report” Tuesday night, featuring an “Enbridge pinata” that explodes at random times and covers anyone nearby with a dark goo that looks suspiciously like oil.

“Planning a pinata party, but tired of the same old ‘okay-here-comes-the-trickle-of-candy?’” Mercer asks in the ad. “Then why not try the pinata that’s guaranteed to surprise?”

The “Enbridge pinata” is seen exploding repeatedly, spraying pinata stuffing and goo in all directions.

“The Enbridge pinata — you never know when it’s going to blow!” the narrator concludes.

The ad is a pretty obvious reference to the recent spate of news about leaks and spills along Enbridge pipelines, and comes as hearings into the Northern Gateway pipeline continue in Alberta.

Enbridge’s reputation took a turn for the worse in July when the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board released a scathing review of a spill at an Enbridge pipeline in southwest Michigan. The report stated the company knew beforehand the pipeline had flaws, and its response to the 2010 spill was compared to the “Keystone Kops.” The report cited no fewer than two dozen safety violations.

That report came a month after a spill on Enbridge’s Athabasca pipeline in Alberta, which released 230,000 litres of oil into the environment. Also this summer, an Enbridge pipeline in Wisconsin ruptured, spilling 190,000 litres of oil.

News of the spills has caused a noticeable shift in public opinion against Enbridge’s proposal for a two-way, 1,170-kilometre pipeline between Bruderheim, Alberta and the ocean port at Kitimat, British Columbia. While a majority of Albertans still support the Northern Gateway project, a majority of British Columbians are now opposed to it.

This has been reflected in politicians’ attitudes. B.C. Premier Christy Clarke recently described the Michigan spill as “disgraceful,” while Heritage Minister James Moore, whose riding is in the Vancouver area, said Northern Gateway would fail if Enbridge didn’t change its ways.

Enbridge’s attempts to clean up its reputation have also met with criticism. Last month, environmentalists denounced the company for a video it published which showed the Douglas Channel -- through which ships carrying Northern Gateway oil would have to travel -- without the thousands of potentially dangerous islands that crowd it.

Enbridge said the video was “for illustrative purposes only.”

The company is promising the Northern Gateway will be the safest pipeline in its history.

Also on HuffPost

Alberta Oil Spills
Overheard: Northern Gateway Pipeline Hearings