By August 9, 2016 Read More →

An open letter to Canadian oil sands boosters: Stop whining and snivelling about environmentalists

oil sands

Ezra Levant, publisher of Rebel Media and chief whiner for the Alberta oil sands.

Dear Oil Sands Boosters;

You know who you are: Ezra Levant, Cody Battershill, Gwyn Morgan, Brett Wilson, Vivian Krause, Patrick Moore, Claudia Cattaneo, and the legion of Albertans who agree with you. I regularly read your blog posts and columns and social media rants. There are a lot of you and you need to listen up.

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Vivian Krause, Fair Questions blogger, who has made a career of documenting foreign contributions to Canadian oil sands opponents.

Stop whining about the eco-activists and First Nations who oppose the Alberta oil sands and the pipelines projects intended to support them.

Stop sniveling about funding from American charities that supports groups like Greenpeace and Forest Ethics Advocacy that fight hard to destroy the legitimacy and social license of the oil sands.

Stop thinking that the oil sands have some special dispensation that exempts them from criticism or opposition. They don’t.

Your attitude is very un-Canadian. Canadians should never write tweets like this one I received from an Alberta reader: “If oilsands producers developed halos and angel’s wings our opponents would shoot us from the sky.”

Canadians are a tough and hardy people. Our ancestors survived forbidding Prairie winters for thousands of years, hacked farms out of northern forests with nothing but an axe, fought valiantly in foreign wars for democratic principles we held passionately, became the first nation of a sport that requires both incredible skill and toughness – and developed the technologies to extract crude oil from tar found in abundance in northern Alberta.

Canadians don’t whine. So cut it out.

Here’s what you can do:

One, accept that eco-activists (whatever their nationality) and Canadian First Nations have a right to oppose oil sands development. They can’t be banned from Canada or criminally prosecuted, as Patrick Moore has suggested. That’s just silly.

In fact, walk a mile in their mukluks. These folks accept the scientific consensus that climate change is driven in part by human activity, including the burning of fossil fuels, and they believe passionately in a quick transition to clean energy technologies. We may disagree with them on many points, but they have a valid argument.

Two, fight back. Don’t demonize oil sands opponents – debate better, organize better, communicate better. The argument for oil sands development and the construction of pipelines is stronger, in my opinion, than the argument against.

Three, demand more of industry associations, oil sands producers, and pipeline operators. Industry’s timidity in the face of such ferocious opposition is a mystery to observers like me. More often than not, after some outrageous claim by an eco-activist spokesperson, industry refuses to respond to media or delivers mealy-mouthed drivel that gets buried at the end of a news story.

That’s not nearly good enough.

Literally hundreds of billions of capital, tens of thousands of job, whole communities, a sizable chunk of the Alberta and Canadian economies, and significant tax revenue depend upon the oil sands.

With so much on the line, can industry not mount a better defense than the pathetic efforts to date? Oil and gas is the richest business on the planet, are we seriously to believe the Canadian sector can’t outspend American environmental charities, as is sometimes suggested?

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Greg Stringham, VP of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

At the end of an interview, I once asked Greg Stringham, a VP with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (and an engineer, not coincidentally), why CAPP didn’t do more outreach with the wealth of information on its website. I’ll never forget his answer: “If people are interested, they’ll search out the information.”

Lord t’undering jaysus, readers, what a weak-kneed, spineless, pusillanimous embarrassment that response is.

This is a call to arms. Educate yourself with facts and science and join the fray. Fight the good fight for the industry that needs your support.

But respect your opponent, particularly First Nations folks. We’re asking them to run pipelines through their backyard. Not only should they have a voice in the review process, more than that required by law, but they should also enjoy the economic benefits that accrue from oil sands development. And we should remember that many First Nations support pipelines and the oil sands.

Don’t be Greg Stringham. Fight, don’t whine.

oil sands

Ph: 432-978-5096 Website: Email:


Posted in: Markham on Energy

10 Comments on "An open letter to Canadian oil sands boosters: Stop whining and snivelling about environmentalists"

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  1. Wade says:

    Even further CLEAN UP YOUR MESSES!!!! Stop trying to lay the burden of all of your dead well sites on taxpayers, you make billions so man/woman up and pay the cleanup costs for your little oil parties….

    • Kootzie says:


      That will require quite a shift from the current
      “privatize profit by socializing risk/cost/harm” corporatist business model

      Any responsibilities which can be shirked or messes left uncleaned translate into shareholder ROI which is the PrimeDirektiv

  2. Naheed Gilani says:

    Wow, this article/opinion piece is incredibly lacking (don’t even start me on the grammar). I was expecting much more! It basically says the oil lobby needs to spend more. Clearly, they have the capacity to do that, so the truth will be drowned and justice will be secondary. Disclosure: I’m a born and raised Albertan who has a vested interest in the O&G sector. I also think from a multi-generational and human perspective, not just a ST profit perspective, which recognizes that more cash in the bank (which is unlikely since citizens and the state will pilfer it for the most part) won’t solve our problems. Oilsands are among the most inefficient ways to extract energy yet we act like it’s our only hope. Laughable: ‘They (eco-activists, etc) accept scientific consensus’ yet the oil lobby argument is better??

    • Kootzie says:

      What do you see as the most gross shortcomings of this piece?
      I thought the exhortation to stop snivelling and whining and advocating suppression of legitimate dissent and free speech…
      – especially since they are basically in the driver seat
      was the valid core of the nessage

  3. A) No consensus
    B) No such thing as a ‘clean’ economy. Everything in made world is made from oil.
    C) It’s a trade war dressed in green.
    D) Worth mocking with an eco-spoof

  4. Trevor Marr says:

    What a load of crap! This article is either written by the naive/ill-informed, or the Corrupt! The USA is the #1 Producer of Oil! The USA is putting in NEW pipelines on a huge scale! The USA is already building it’s OWN oil sands industry!!!! Where is the outrage from this author and the USA Gov’t and the eco anti-oil protesting Lemming???

    now run along you chicken littles! It is all about taxation, Market control and manipulation and market advantage and it has NOTHING to do with Climate!

    Sensible Canadians are not as foolish as you pretend to be!

  5. Scott Drysdale says:

    Markham….. I enjoyed the article….. BTW

    Why did you post a youthful picture of Elizabeth May in place of an actual photo of Vivian Krause?

    • Trevor Marr says:

      I am told that Elizabeth can not even ride a bike? Do any politicians travel the globe by wind, or solar, or perhaps goat power?

      Do as I say, not as I do eco-hypocrisy is a cancer on responsible, effective, regulated, World Standard Canadian Industry!

      We need our failing Leadership to Stand up for Canada and seek World Standards be enforced. Canada ALREADY meets them!

      We also need our failing Leadership to demand a CO2 CREDIT, or vast vegetation and forests convert more CO2 than we produce, therefore we deserve a Carbon Credit! Stand up for Canada! How much O2 is produced by Saudi Arabian forests converting THEIR CO2 emissions???

  6. ckbh says:

    This is a war on CANADA, perpetrated by the US, cloaked in a green cape. We have every right to complain, and you as an American should be ashamed of your government for causing such economic hardship on your ally and neighbour. If we weren’t so nice, we would kick your ass.
    The US Government disbanded Standard Oil in 1911 for having a monopoly on oil, but they are currently running a multi billion dollar campaign to embarrass Canada, weaken the Alberta government and reduce the attractiveness of the Alberta oil industry in order to maintain a monopoly on Canadian oil… and a sizeable amount of this funding is coming from none other that the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (founders of Standard Oil). You just can’t make this stuff up!
    Follow the money… All of the primary funding of the “Tar Sands Campaign” comes from members of the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity (CGBD), an umbrella organization created in 1987 by the U.S. Agency for International Development. This is an agency of the U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT. As of 2012, the CGBD’s 60 member foundations had amassed more than US$50 billion in assets and had combined annual expenditures of over US$3 billion.
    The CGBD then paid Tides Foundation to develop a STRATEGIC campaign (Tar Sands Campaign Strategy by Michael J. Marx, Corporate Ethics International) to discredit the Canadian oil industry. This campaign was targeted directly at Alberta, BC and the Yukon with the main objective being to landlock Canadian oil.
    ‘The Tar Sands Campaign pointedly ignores the dozens of tankers bringing foreign oil into the United States and Eastern Canada on a daily basis. Evidently, the only tankers this campaign opposes are those that would break the U.S. market’s monopoly on Canadian oil exports.
    In North Dakota and Texas where oil production is booming, there is no multimillion-dollar campaign to stop or slow down the oil industry. As far as I can tell, the only country where there is a systematic, multimillion-dollar, foreign-funded campaign to choke the oil industry is Canada.’ – Vivian Krause

  7. Kootzie says:

    So, in other words, you are saying:
    “We will fight for the right to snivel and whine.”

    “We insist on the suppression of free expression and dissent.
    Despite the political climate already being very warm to industrial development, we want more prejudicial statist intervention.”

    “Privatize-profit-by-socializing-risk/cost/harm is our motto”

    “We demand the _right_ to maximize corporate profit regardless of the ecological or societal costs.”

    Feel free to rebut anything which you believe mischaracterizes your true intebtions with verifiable evidence.