Tuesday, January 10, 2012

An open letter to Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver

So yesterday the Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver published an open letter to the Canadian public about the environmental "radicals" whose "goal is to stop any major project no matter what the cost to Canadian families in lost jobs and economic growth." Referring to Enbridge's new Northern Gateway Pipeline, he decries the attempts to stop the export of tar sands oil to Asia, which is the Harper Government's new plan after the Keystone XL Pipeline to the US was effectively scrapped by President Obama.

Much though this insidious attack offended me personally — I'm sure Oliver would lump we in with the crazies — it didn't surprise me. Oliver's attitude is in fact typical of business and government, whose interests are always in short-term profit over the long-term welfare of the public. What they fail to understand — or perhaps, more rightly, acknowledge — is that the destruction of the environment will actually lead to more lost jobs and disastrous economic decline, and that the environmental agenda is not in fact about the environment but about humanity. Environmentalists want to save the world because they — we — want to save the human species. This planet, as I said in the previous post, is the only like it within the nearest 200 million light years; we don't get another one. It is finite.

David Suzuki had a clever response, I thought, calling the environmental paradigm "a pretty conservative approach" that seeks to "'live within our means,' 'save some for tomorrow,' [and] think about the 'legacy we leave for our children.'" He pointed out that the government's policies actually deplete and destroy the very resources it seeks to profit from, ensuring, in the long-term, economic depression (not big 'D,' though that could easily follow).

Here's another writer saying the same thing as me: 350.org


  1. Really?

    D.Suz. runs lobby groups paid millions from Chinese manufacturers with terrible polluting records to demonize Western production, energy and standards of living.

    EU & Asia is using dirtier oil, coal and other shale oil with a dirtier record for energy and you're complaining about the cleanest energy producer in the world?

    What's your real bone you're picking?

  2. ...I have heard criticism of Suzuki before, but haven't really found a ton of evidence about his ties to said groups. Could you post some references?

    Also, being the "cleanest energy producer" is a false paradigm. We may be producing less emissions than many Western nations — mostly given our reliance on nuclear and hydropower — but our oil extraction and consumption are still dirty, still causing pollution, still degrading the planet.

    There is huge pushback against ramping up alternative energy solutions because there is money to made in oil, and our Western way of life is based on it. Virtually everything we have and eat has some basis in oil. Naomi Klein recently pointed out that the idea of climate change threatens our very way of life, and that for many it thereby threatens their worldview (see http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/02/29-4).

    Assuming this is the only post of mine you read, the bone I'm picking is the same one I always pick in this blog: I'm my doing my best to live in a way that's going to be the least damaging for the planet, and subsequently for our species, specifically my own family. I find the minister's comments exasperating and polarizing, and I think that kind of inflexibility is useless when it comes to trying to actually solve or get to the bottom of an issue.

  3. Web browser or this blog will not allow to post exact direct links, so I removed html tags:





    google.ca = put in david suzuki externality


    I found this, but lost the specific link from this website:

    I've not started looking through the S.Foundations earlier published accounts. I must go to work.

  4. I replied to your points, but it was erased... If you reply. I'll try again. I think we're on the same page, just view how, a little differently.

  5. Had some time in between my numerous jobs trying to survive here.

    I disagree with this statement, but if Canada as the "cleanest energy producer is a false paradigm"; then as a typical CDN (I guess?) you are a complete and utter hypocrite (again, I guess). BTW Canada has the cleanest & most efficient and highly regulated oil extraction, processing, reuse, disposal, land re-plantation and employment with social program support. I guess you'd rather this all come from where else? And how quickly?

    I digress. For the following your statement is wrong. For reasons since all of these are heavily oil dependent, you mostly like fully endorse the following systems that require the industrial academic financial and sometimes the military complex:

    - Healthcare
    - Welfare
    - Education
    - Pensions
    - State funded employment
    - Co-opted Gov. Programs
    - Infrastructure
    - Food systems
    - Transport
    - Currency based on fiat decorum

    If you've only changed the clothes of your social democracy (while pretending that your diet is all you can do), then complaining about the incumbents is rather futile while at the same time making you and your peers feel good about yourselves.

    I could buy into your message if you actually lived it out. But I'm guessing like most, probably just about all except for perhaps a few thousand, you don't. At the same time, you moralize over the very system that delivers what you provide a demand for.

    Help me out here; I'm looking for something to believe in. You remind me of those christians who bitch about everybody else sitting on their hypocritical stands of 'knowing better'.

    Show me, don't tell me, to use a famous Canadian's lyrics; Rush.

  6. Hiya.

    I appreciate the criticism. I am hypocrite. But we are ll hypocrites of varying degrees. I'm just doing my best in a culture that conspires against individualism. My next post (or two or three) will try to address some of what you've left here. Oh, just ftr, I'm not sure why your comment showed as erased. It's there now, right? I didn't touch it; I may have been a blogspot issue of some sort. I don't think I'm the type to actively censor anyone, except maybe possibly really foul-mouthed sociopaths or some-such.

    and yes, Canadian. And yes, in constant conflict with myself and my lifestyle.


  7. That was actually a refreshing reply.

    I’m a hypocrite too. I'd say I'm less of one (only on some levels) because I believe in the merits of what capitalism has done for poverty and freedom around the world (my list in 'systems' above). In Europe, I've seen the damage of socialism, environmentally and socially as it destroyed the family institution. It's happening across the world. Green? No, only in the name of. My unveiled view.

    I look forward to your future posts. I've started a blog (Super Green) but am having technical issues. I'm an old man, I don't know this stuff.

    FTR, I wasn't blaming, just stating my technical issues. Re: sociopaths.. . our society breeds them all across the political spectrum. Me me me. Individualism you say? Everybody thinks they're one. I wouldn't say it's the culture, it's the people. They live in fear and blame people with different ideas (like mine) as somehow not credible because it's not common. It's a bit like that chap you have in Canada, famous here: Ezra Levant. He seems to be discredited despite his authentic individualistic thoughts. He's actually well respected in the self made chattering classes. Believe me, a class of very individualist go getters.

    I suppose the thing that got me irate when I was motivated to reply (not meant disrespectfully) was that after googling your name, you seem to think that your current government IS the problem when that lady you have in your likes (Horvath? NDP) is somehow going to change the emperor's clothes. They seem socialist, perhaps even somewhat communist after reading their platform. I read a bit about your parties (they're all social democrats, all within 10-20% of GDP spending of each other). I've recently read that your current gov. Conservatives, are the biggest spenders on social, welfare and healthcare spending in your history. Not very environmental if you ask me.

    Point is, these types of governments actually are more environmentally damaging as they increase consumption across the population enslaving them to mediocrity, making them dependent on yet more consumption. Dr. Martin Luther King fought against this modern slavery. We do this to our pets.

    Being green, means in the long run (I think) more meritocracy. That's because people as a whole consume less as the government doesn't dole out free dependency to an ever increasing, now much larger (post Obama 2009) and demanding population.

    I never understood the socialist green paradigm. It's a lie. Even European fascists used the green paradigm in order to congeal consent.

    I, like you, struggle with this all, but perhaps from a different perspective. Perhaps we could learn from each other. From what I've read of your posts, I'm just as conflicted and opinionated as you. This is not an insult. Maybe in Canada where people are afraid to give opinions, not in my sphere.

    Super Green, admitted hypocrite, Robert.

  8. it's 3am here and I need to go to bed, but a famous Canadian philosopher named Charles Taylor points out that while "authenticity" and "individualism" are touted as the highest Western values, in fact almost exactly the opposite is true in practice. More later.