June 24th, 2024

Why is Ecojustice threatened by fact-gathering?


By Lethbridge Herald Opinion on June 19, 2021.

‘ve helped finance Canadian energy businesses most of my career. I’m proud of our industry and its global leadership. I couldn’t just stand by and watch Ecojustice, an environmental charity, seek to pre-emptively shut down Alberta’s public inquiry into allegations of foreign funding of anti-Alberta energy campaigns.
In July 2019, the Alberta government appointed Steve Allan, a respected forensic accountant and Calgary community leader, to lead an inquiry to simply “understand the facts about foreign funding of anti-Alberta energy campaigns.”
A few months later, Ecojustice Canada Society applied to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench to halt the inquiry. Ecojustice argued, among other things, that the Inquiry was launched for the improper purpose of causing reputational and economic harm to organizations that disagree with the United Conservative Party on oil and gas development and that the entire inquiry is outside the jurisdiction of the Government of Alberta.
In March 2020, I joined together with the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada (EPAC) and the Indian Resource Council to obtain intervenor status in the Ecojustice court challenge. EPAC has been promoting the Canadian oil and gas industry and advocating on behalf of junior and midsized oil and gas companies since 1986. The Indian Resource Council represents the interests of approximately 130 First Nations with oil and gas rights on their lands, ensuring that First Nations’ interests and perspectives are represented, heard, and incorporated into the development of public policy. Together as intervenors, we represented diverse industry constituencies, with a common interest in the responsible development of Alberta’s oil and gas industry.
Fortunately, the Hon. Justice Horner of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench recently dismissed Ecojustice’s request to pre-emptively shut down the inquiry.
The court agreed with us that the purpose of the inquiry is to gather information on a subject that cabinet considered to be in the public interest. There is nothing unlawful or unethical about information gathering on an issue that our elected representatives have found to be a matter of public interest and concern.
The court found that the inquiry’s purpose is to “find facts about attempts to delay or frustrate the timely, economic, efficient, and responsible development of Alberta’s oil and gas resources and the transportation of those resources to commercial markets.”
The court also found that no reasonable person would believe Commissioner Allan to be biased as Ecojustice had claimed. In fact, the Court found that Commissioner Allan’s past work with politicians of various political stripes indicates “nothing more than the real concerns of an engaged citizen on the economic development of his city, homelessness and initiatives to curb it, and most important given the timing, flood mitigation for the future.” The court went on to note Mr. Allan’s “exceptional qualifications for the role of Commissioner” and that it “cannot be doubted that Commissioner Allan has the ability to manage a public inquiry of this nature while adhering to the highest standards of impartiality and integrity both personally and in overseeing the infrastructure of the process.”
At the end of the day, the inquiry is clearly a fact gathering process. Why is Ecojustice so threatened by a fact gathering process? Facts inform government policy and decisions as well as public opinion.
If the inquiry concludes there is no significant foreign funding or unusual support of the attacks on Canada’s energy industry, we all need to know that and be done with it and move on. If the facts reveal that foreign influence/financial support is a material thing, we need to understand that too. What the Alberta government chooses to do with the facts and the recommendations that emerge from the inquiry is another thing entirely. But challenging the fact gathering process was both premature and, frankly, further contributed to the public interest concern that industry detractors/challengers (like EcoJustice) don’t want the public to understand all of the facts. If there is nothing to be concerned about, one would expect that EcoJustice would support the collection of these facts. The inquiry continues and I look forward to its conclusion.

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johnny57

Ecojustice? What a farce! They should be called Eco-terrorist’s instead!
That group of terrorist’s won’t be happy until Alberta’s economy is the same as our have-not province’s. Of course they don’t want the true facts out! Would be very damaging to their narrative for sure.

McKnight

It ain’t Ecojustice that’s to blame for short-sighted stupidity John.
The Big Oil companies have known since 1972 (In writing. And probably before that. As NASA has been on it since the 50’s) that their product was in the process of causing climate change.
And the Government of Alberta can be blamed for the economic bungling that has placed the province in it’s present state. No other entity is more to blame than them.
There was this thing called the Heritage Fund…that was supposed to be a legacy.

biff

sure, johnny, sure.
and we are talking about an industry that is not at all foreign money, let alone one subsidised heavily by govts. what a dolt.

johnny57

I need you to tell me biff that you have completely come unhitched from all products containing oil! Only WHEN you have done that can I take anything you have said about oil or your opposition to it seriously! Until then you will have to grace your crown and title as the Hypocrite Queen.

biff

first, the dolt reference is to the writer. as for you, and others that cannot see a world without oil, always back to the extreme – the space of the fool. i have said this so very many times before: it is about getting away from oil, not stopping on a dime such that we freeze to death. therefore, reducing oil use as much as is possible is the goal, given that oil and its derivatives are now undermining the health of the systems sustain life on our planet. in other words, oil is killing us.
don’t know why you and some others still have not got the memo, but try and be on the lookout for it. the path we have been on is much like tubing on a long and gentle river, but, slowly, we suddenly see we are amidst rapids, and then, just ahead, is the massive falls. life is easy and dreamy at first, but then something seems to be afoot and things speed up, and then, if we do not react quickly and smarty enough….
what i have also stated many times before: our biggest issue is not “clean” energy – it is consumption, and an out of control population that is exponentially increasing its consumption. right now, this very moment, if we discovered a 100% clean source of energy, we would still be on the path to our doom, because of the toxins and garbage we splay everywhere: the result of rogue mining practices, of cheaply made products, of utter junk that we covet not limited to metal trinkets, of reckless destruction of forests/ecosystems/habitats, and because we have far too little restraint when it comes to our wants. and i figure, johnny, you are a prime example of someone that, quite mistakenly, equates unlimited wants with freedom. if only one’s actions could remain in a vacuum.

johnny57

Not sure if you have watched the projections/curve for the worlds demand for oil in the next 50 years or so…up-up-up and away! To some how believe we are going to live in a world without fossil-fuels is delusional! At best! My strong belief is that the environment and the fossil fuel industry can live happily side by side. This province has been a world leader in cleaning-up the so-called “Dirty Oil,” but to hand-cuff us through any means including authoritarian regulations while countries like China could give a bleep about the environment and continue to build coal fired power plants at a breath-taking speed is very short-sited!
People the likes of you should be taking countries like china to task in your comments but remain suspiciously quiet!

biff

johnny, i suppose you do not find the time to read all my entries (what you are missing…!). to be sure, i have taken to task china and saudi arabia many times, as well as israel and the excited states. each is a major human rights violator, and each an unprosecuted war crimes actor. i have also stated we should not be importing oil from anyone, especially criminal states.

johnny57

I read as much as I can when I can! All my social media is done at my lap-top in my office. As I drive for a living I am out of touch but try to stay in the loop as much as possible. Yes I do remember you calling-out Canada for importing oil from regimes that have sketchy human rights records. But do not remember you calling-out the immerging super-power-China! And if you have I stand to be corrected.

biff

peace j57 – keep it coming…as we each toss in how we see things, truth has to emerge.

John P Nightingale

A “world leader” in cleaning up oil? That is a stretch even for you.
Take a look at aerial images of the oil sands or the thousands of “orphan wells” dotted around the province. The oil industry and the environment living happily side-by-side? Perhaps in the future but it is not a happy nuclear family right now.

johnny57

As usual your holy-progressiveness! if the industry cleaned-up their act to the point of “0” emissions-complete reconstruction of all disturbed lands, your over-the-top progressive mind-set still could not bend to the point of giving a ounce of credit when it is due!

Last edited 2 years ago by johnny57
biff

there is no credit due here. mining, as usual, has been done with disastrous consequences. just because we may need something does not mean we should forgo sustainable and responsible approaches.

biff

honest entry – well said!

McKnight

Interesting that an industry (And it’s representatives) that did all it could to hide and deny facts gathered by it’s own scientific wing back in the 1970’s is attacking another organisation that at least has those same facts on it’s side.
Since the Oil and Gas Industry has already screwed us with it’s denial industry BS, why would anyone with a moral bone in their body give those industries credence now?
Where’s the plan to clean up all the abandoned wells?
Where’s the plan to reduce the amount of crap going into the environment (Especially the atmosphere)?
Where’s all the royalties that should be in the bank? – Peter Lougheed is spinning at about 10,000 rpm right now.
Don’t worry about answering that last one: Your lap dogs in the UCP have been frittering that money away for a while now. And not collecting it at the level they should have.
Stop your damned whining. And start coming up with a better idea for the future ya buncha greedy dolts.
Money means nothing on a dead planet.

biff

it is amazing that your facts, not refuted, are still denied by the usual, stuck clowns.

GHG

You can all relax. Petroleum products will be in demand for decades to come. It remains in high demand, and there is no viable replacement (more nuclear perhaps). And no, the world won’t end.

McKnight

And meanwhile, the Canadian Temperature record has now been shattered.
And a surface temperature of 118 degrees F/48C has been recorded in the Siberian Arctic.
Keep it up kids.
We’ll have nothing left in no time flat.

GHG

Weather is not climate. Climate is multi-decadal. There is no clear evidence of what %, if any, of climate change can be attributed to human causes. Keep it up kids.

McKnight

Wow.
Weather is not climate.
Where’d you get that one?
A fortune cookie that was made in Coalhurst in a quonset?
Weather is the “Canary in the Well” when it comes to Climate. It’s how the entire biosphere breathes; how air and water are distributed; how temperatures are regulated regionally; AND it’s the first thing to break when it is adversely affected by things like…temperature.
As far as your specious % comment…let’s see: A rise from 280 PPM (Pre-Industrial) to 418 PPM (Yesterday. Literally) is…hmmmmm OH! 49.29%.
Now, there IS a variability in the small added factor of Volcanism but it IS small: Volcanism is at one of it’s lowest ebbs in centuries (And the geological record in general).
And I agree that Climate Change is multi-decadal: Unfourtunately we’re at the point we’re at now because we’ve ignored the problem for (Wait for it) DECADES.
The Oil Industry has been ignoring it since 1972 (At best).
NASA and other scientific bodies have been studying it since…before there was NASA.
As a matter of fact: The study of Climate Change (The actual science of how the Climate Changes) began in a serious manner in the 1800’s.
It did take until the late 50’s for the realisation that we could be contributing to it.
Scientific discussion of our effect became serious in the 70’s. With a growing consensus that we were in fact causing a change due to our activity (This includes the Petro Industry’s OWN Scientists telling their corporate masters “This is so”).
I’m guessing that anyone who is still drinking denial industry kool-aid mustn’t have kids. As your foolishness will be visited upon them, and theirs.

GHG

Unsettled?
Apocalypse Never
False Alarm

…all goods read for you to get your feet grounded.

McKnight

Unsettled: Widely panned and debunked by the Scientific Community as a great piece of misdirection.
Apocalypse Never: Read it. It’s a very cheery rant. But has a very narrow, and privileged view. And also fails to recognise that using nuclear energy as a crutch has an exponential increase in cost as it ages (And nuclear is just as dirty as carbon. As it’s waste cannot be dumped and forgotten).
Everyone who thinks Nuclear is a great option, can store the waste in their houses then.
Until we harness Fission…
False Alarm: Please. A book written by someone who has no grasp of how the market actually works against us and not for us?
The authours also seemed to have no grasp of the actual long term damage we’re going to suffer.
Eg.
Ocean acidification – Already rising. And if it gets past a tipping point, deep ocean methane will be released.
Increasing temperatures in the Arctic: Oh look! More methane!!
Increasing extreme weather events and their cost: Until the day before yesterday we had this nice little town called Lytton in B.C. It became the hottest place in Canada three concurrent days in a row. With the final “high point” being 49.6 degrees Celcius.
And now? Lytton is GONE. Burned to the ground by a wildfire.
And that’s just the beginning.
Of the three books, only Apocalypse Never is vaguely worth a read. Really, it serves better as a doorstop.
The others are at best pap. And at worst, outright BS.
Here’s my counter proposal for reading:
HEAT by George Monbiot (Written back when we had a good chance of turning this around).
The Climate Deception Dossier (Oh look! All the BS memos that the big oil coalition was sharing though they KNEW about the impact of Climate Change possibly as far back as 1972).
How to give up Plastic by Will McCallum (‘Nuff said. The easiest habit we can break)

biff

amazing how ignorant people CHOOSE to be. the entire planet – its diversity and systems – has been degraded the past 200 years, and incredibly so just in the last 50 years. thanks for the information you have shared here, but the likes of the ghg’s on the planet have chosen to shut out every reality that compromises their limited view and understanding of the living planet.