Mammon led them on
Mammon, the least erected spirit that fell
From Heaven, for even in Heaven his looks and thoughts
Were always downward bent, admiring more
The riches of Heavens pavement, trodden gold,
Then aught divine or holy else enjoyed
In vision beatific: by him first
Men also, and by his suggestion taught,
Ransacked the center, and with impious hands
Rifled the bowels of their mother Earth
For treasures better hid
– John Milton, Paradise Lost
The following is a speech given by Kent Hehr on the occasion of his Governments pipeline approvals. I will endeavour to correct any errors in the transcript I am made aware of.
An analysis of that speech follows.
“Hi, my name is Kent Hehr, Member of Parliament for Calgary Centre, Minister of Veterans Affairs. It’s a great honour and privilege and, actually very exciting for me to be chatting with you today. For today, our Prime minister and our Cabinet approved two major projects that will move Calgary and Alberta and, in fact, this country forward on the energy file. Our Government has approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline, as well as line three, which will see our industry grow and prosper and allow us to move our oil in a safe and reasonable fashion and allow our energy to get to do(sic) markets. I can say this has not always been easy. For ten years we have relatively no action on this file. We tended to ignore our environmental responsibilities; consultations with our First Nations communities and that led to a lack of success by the former Government in achieving a clear consensus on moving this country forward. A country that needs to see both energy and the environment as two sides of same coin. The announce(sic) today shows our commitment to Alberta and our economy as well as our commitment to a world that demands action on climate change and we are doing both. Our Government is leading by putting a price on pollution. Already 80% of Canada lives in a jurisdiction that has a price on pollution. Setting this stage will allow for competitiveness, allow for innovation to prosper and allow our companies to do better in an ever increasing global economy that is demanding carbon reductions. We also have committed to insuring our coastlines are safe by investing money in shoreline protection along the West Coast that will see top of the line technologies put in as well as a tanker ban to protect our northern coastline to ensure its safety and its success to(sic) a clean environment. I also say we are revitalizing the National Energy Board which will see science and evidence(garbled) based policies; will see real consultation with our First Nations, Metis and Inuit people. This is real move forward by a Government who understands energy and the environment are two sides of the same coin. Very proud to have(sic), during the election, not only pounding the pavement to get your vote but to be in Ottawa pounding the table on behalf of things that matter to the City of Calgary, The Province of Alberta, and, in fact, to all of Canada. Thank you so much for giving me the great honour of representing you in Ottawa. Today is a day for us to celebrate the success of the way we move the new economy forward by seeing this as a way forward and a blueprint to our future success. Have a great evening.”
Where to begin. I am fairly sure the ever affable and earnest Mr Hehr did not write this speech. I say this on the strength of several devices used therein which smell of political hackery.
I have emphasized the statements which I wish to deal with.
We begin with a propaganda technique often termed “the big lie” : ‘Our Government has approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline, as well as line three, which will see our industry grow and prosper and allow us to move our oil in a safe and reasonable fashion’
What is being moved is not “oil” but dilbit. Further, pipelines are provably not ‘safe’ and therefore by no means ‘reasonable’. Pipelines leak. Dilbit is incompatible with life. The seriousness of the damage done is a function of the volume leaked and the location of the leak. Cleanups are never complete and also beg the following questions :
– who pays for the cleanup?
– do you think the material magically disappears or is it dumped elsewhere?
– do you think the material is processed somehow despite a prohibitive cost?
We actually have, at our disposal, an objective measure of pipeline safety, aside from the litany of leak reports. Imagine, if you will, that these pipelines were fully insured, including cleanup costs. I leave it to the insurance industry to determine pipeline “safety” and council anyone holding stock in any insurer willing to take the risk to sell immediately.
‘A country that needs to see both energy and the environment as two sides of same coin.’
This is a catchphrase which is repeated twice, whose origin must be the butt crack of a P.R. hack. It is ludicrous unless we view it in terms of a real heads OR tails coin. First the phrase is softened by the use of the word “energy” in lieu of “dilbit” or “oil”. So we could view this two-sided coin as oil OR the environment. Perhaps “heads I win tails you lose”.
‘Our Government is leading by putting a price on pollution’
No, they are not. A minor point, perhaps, They are putting a price on carbon. Carbon is not the only pollutant although it takes pre-eminence with respect to climate change.
‘We also have committed to insuring our coastlines are safe by investing money in shoreline protection along the West Coast that will see top of the line technologies put in’
Here we have the misleading phrase “top of the line” which, by all the world’s evidence, is equivalent to saying “inadequate”. “We also have committed to insuring our coastlines are safe by investing money in shoreline protection along the West Coast that will see inadequate technologies put in”.
‘I also say we are revitalizing the National Energy Board which will see science and evidence(garbled) based policies; will see real consultation with our First Nations, Metis and Inuit people.’
Okay, you can accuse me of jumping to conclusions but I find this statement startling. I see it as an admission that science and evidence based policies and First Nations consultations were NOT a part of the pipeline decision since they were ante this ‘revitalization’. It’s like we have been allowed (inadvertently) to see behind the curtain.
That the pipeline decision was purportedly made on the basis of science and evidence stretches all credulity.