Tar Sands for the week (Nov 26, 2013).

Let’s see– Premier Christy Clark has done a predicted about face, and instead embraced Alison Redford, made up publicly and called for construction of the Enbridge Gateway tar sands pipeline. While predicted, it is depressing in a few ways.  Members of high-financed ENGO’s  had sought to “embrace” Christy Clark when the province of BC entered a non-consequential and symbolic “opposition” to Enbridge’s plans, after surprisingly winning the provincial election. The move had no authoritative power and was seen by many to be a simple move to garner public support (it was a major item of discussion during the electoral campaign).

That didn’t stop the Tzeporah Berman-led Tar Sands Solutions Network (Ms Berman is the central figure with final say over financial matters and direction for expenditures) from following a failed playbook of public support for the pro-industry government of BC’s Liberal Party, thanking Clark in lovely ads. This follows, for Berman, her history of going to Denmark to give climate leadership awards to Gordon Campbell. Given the state of the environment so far as the government would have it in BC, the folly with Campbell was on a par with giving President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize.


To continue with the appeasement of power on these matters seems to be angling for an “insiders track”– yet we continue to hear repeatedly that concerns raised over the possibility of a negotiated end to foundation-funded tar sands campaigning is off the mark. After Dawn Paley’s excellent article appeared in the Georgia Straight posing exactly that question– “Are green groups ready for a tar sands deal?” –Ms Berman protested publicly, supposing this is all out of the blue.


The organization she heads is secretive–  even in dismissing criticisms, she will not talk about funding, or who she is accountable to– and she rebuffs comment on how she will open up the TSSN to public accountability, and a transparent policy of community involvement beyond statements. Given her track record of bad, secretive deals in the past, the similar shady structures existing today combined with their public strategies being taken exactly from the playbook that gave us the sell out deals of yore? Such scrutiny is not only not surprising but long overdue.

The strategy of appealing to power has not only run its course, in the case of Gateway the public fawning of TSSN towards Clark left people falsely empowered– to be followed by today’s disempowered (for some).

However, it should be noted that this is, in fact, having one marvellous side effect. Since it is being made clear that the Clark government has a complete hydro-carbon agenda, the whole provincial scam is being unearthed. Many, including myself, had flirted with the notion that industry and the Feds would hand ENGO’s a public “win” they could “celebrate” over Gateway, while the real agenda was making BC into a fracking powerhouse– and integrate such with Asia, including the soon-to-signed FIPA with China.


Fracking, the devastation of water and land in absolutely massive amounts of southwestern NWT and northeastern BC (traditional lands of several Dene communities), now can rightly be seen as part of the same earth destroying and climate disrupting plans as the tar sands– tar sands that perhaps much of the fracked gas could power.


After the real issue of fracking burst forth from Mi’kmaq members of the Elsipogtog community defending their land– and more stated, water– from Fracking, we now are hearing at least token reference to the problem of fracking from Big Green, though actual positions have not changed. This is at it should be– the people lead a changing wind, and politicians who know which way flap accordingly. It cannot be any other way.