The Empire strikes back

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The Empire Strikes Back[1]

In a newspaper article in Le Devoir[2], we are told that 75 registered lobbyists are more active than ever in Quebec. This is just another indication of the petroleum industry’s counterattack to «promote» its interests in order to mould public opinion and to influence government policies. At the federal level, that’s one lobbyist for every Quebec MP [member of parliament] and at the provincial level, that’s three lobbyists for every five MNA(member National Assembly)! To promote its interests is one thing, but to reduce duly elected officials to the role of mere pawns is an entirely different proposition!

We can see that the government of Quebec is leaning towards the dark side of the petroleum Empire. This bias is observable in the way that an artificial social consensus is being marketed by the ministry of Natural Resources which has only invited «fossil fuel experts». Not surprisingly, most of these experts happen to have ties with the petroleum industry. This is at the opposite end of the spectrum of the real social consensus, based on the refusal of shale gas that has been clearly expressed by the population in two different BAPE (Quebec’s Bureau of Environmental Hearings)! The dark side of this government, heavily influenced by 75 lobbyists, is also evident in the almost obscene race to transport Alberta’s dilbit by rail or by pipeline while refusing to answer tough questions about the production of GHG (greenhouse gases), and their effects on climate change or about the safety of our supplies of drinking water.

We can also observe the dark side of the influence of the lobbies on government policy in its haste to drill in Gaspé, on Anticosti Island or at Old Harry in the Gulf of St Lawrence. Le latest public relations gem belongs to Resources Minister, Pierre Arcand, who goes along with the idea of drilling Old Harry in the gulf of St Lawrence because Newfoundland could drill nearby and supposely pull the economic rug from under our feet. To justify this haste, we are told that Corridor Resources is actively seeking a partner to begin exploratory drilling. «Coalition Saint-Laurent» has debunked this myth by showing that, since 1997, each and every yearly financial statement of Corridor Resources has a comment about the urgent need for a partner [4]. As Mr. Archambault has said in French« Let’s ask a simple question… If major oil companies(Exxon,Shell, Husky,etc) were convinced that there is a subtantial oil deposit in Old Harry, they would have purchased Corridor a long time ago!!! Old Harry seems to be a mirage that governments and medias have inflated for twenty years» (my translation) [5].

We can guess the power of the dark side of this industry when we see the disinformation that is fed to the media.. For example, Mr. Chassin, as a researcher for «l’Institut économique de Montréal»puts forward the following statement; « The moratorium , presently in force, is blocking the activities….»(my translation) [6]. That’s a falsehood! In Quebec, there has never been a legal moratorium on fracking in the St Lawrence lowlands!

An astute observer can detect the three-pronged approach of TransCanada [7]  ;«to promote, to respond and to apply pressure on its Energy-East opponents»[ It is also consistent with the plan proposed by the Edelman PR firm [8]. Among other things, this plan, which was brought to the limelight by Greenpeace, proposed to hire third parties to speak favorably about Energy-East and to act on its behalf. This action plan by Edelman would «…complicate the task of its critics, divert their attention from their initial objective and force them to use their limited resources differently ».

Creating a «social concensus» paid for by the petroleum lobby! Is it possible to find a better example of the dark force that the petroleum empire exerts on our democracy? When our governments willingly participate hand in hand with the industry, we feel the same nausea that Luke Skywalker felt when he fought his mortal enemy and heard him say «I am your father»!

Money from the black gold brings about a perversion of our governments by transforming them into clones of Darth Vador. Our manifesto «Élan global» is the symbol of the struggle of all the «Jedi» who want to usher mankind out of the «wasteland» of our dependency on petroleum towards the land of renewable energies.

Gérard Montpetit

Member of CCCPEM

(comité des citoyens et citoyennes pour la protection de l’environnement maskoutain]

July 30, 2015


2] Le Devoir, 22 juin 2015

3] À la table ronde des experts, le 15 juin 2015, il a dit textuellement : « [L]a question fondamentale qu’il faut se poser, est-ce que nous allons laisser Terre-Neuve faire l’exploitation, assumer tous les risques, parce que les risques vont être exactement les mêmes, sans en tirer nécessairement des bénéfices? »








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