01/18/2012 06:50 EST | Updated 03/19/2012 05:12 EDT

Oil Industry Tycoons: The Real Foreign Threat to Pipeline Debate


You might be surprised to hear it, but when I heard Joe Oliver and Stephen Harper unleash their latest tirade against the growing resistance to unconventional fossil expansion in Canada -- now represented in the Northern Gateway fight -- I half agreed with them. While their Neo-McCarthyist green-baiting rhetoric is misguided, they are right about one thing: There are radical foreign forces with considerable resources who threaten to destabilize our nation, and potential the entire planet.

These dastardly ne'er do-wells have our part of a global network financed by some of the worst human rights offenders on the planet. They have destabilized governments and ecosystems around the world and seem willing to get in bed with anyone who is willing to serve their interests, no matter how nefarious the characters.

Here in Canada, they are using their considerable resources to undermine our democracy and bring the legitimacy of our leaders to govern into question. They threaten our most basic rights, violating, hijacking, and circumventing environmental protection regulations meant to keep toxins from our air and water. They are actively working to destroy decades-old legal agreements protecting the rights of Indigenous people to lands they have held dominion over for thousands of years.

Their activities threaten to starve entire nations and drown others.

Who are the shadowy members of this Injustice League?

They hide in plain site, going by names like Exxon, Shell, Enbridge, TransCanada, BP, Suncor and so on. They are the purveyors of fossil fuels, the drivers of climate change, and the most dangerous radicals that our planet has seen in recent history.

But it gets worse. Not content to simply allow these merchants of destruction free reign to extract and exploit, the Canadian government has decided to bankroll them. Each year our government hands over nearly $1.4 billion in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry in Canada.

Than is $1.4 billion each year that is not going to alleviate poverty. It's $1.4 billion not going into our now- threatened public health-care system or into alleviating the every ballooning student debt in this nation. It is not creating new, meaningful jobs for those same young people, or ensuring that workers drawing nearer to retirement have retirement security. Instead it ends up in the hands of an industry that is rapidly driving the destabilization of the global climate, making money hand over fist at the expense of people and the planet.

Our government's position on this latest pipeline should thus come as no surprise. They are not simply neutral parties in this, but a close ally of the fossil fuel industry taking on roles from defending and promoting the industry around the globe to acting as its bankroll.

It's time to face facts: Canada is running with the wrong crowd. They have fallen in with the bitumen bullies and petroleum peddlers in the world, and its up to us to stage an intervention.