Koch-Oil Part 3: The Unspeakable Contradiction: Jobs, Environment, and Prosperity Lost by Raw-Crude Pipeline and US Refinement

No-one yet recognizes the Koch-led US Big Oil plan to extract Saudi-like treasure from Canada’s boreal forests and to transport its toxic crude through and out of Canada with ever-rising environmental damages at all levels is actually throwing away all the Alberta “jobs”, “investment”, “tax revenues” and “prosperity” which it promises to deliver. All of these economic benefits would actually materialize and multiply many times if the tar-sands were processed and refined for Canadian, US and global sale inside Alberta.

Most ironic of all, the biggest immediate danger of Alberta tar-sand crude is that is irreversibly toxic because it is not processed first before transportation over land, aquifers, shorelands, and inland ocean channels. This is what the BC resistance on the ground is most motivated by – the irreversibly disastrous consequences when this unprocessed toxic crude spills anywhere along the rocky, ocean-tempest way. The spills are an historically demonstrated certitude, but like climate destabilization itself are denied by the Big-Oil beneficiaries in future tens of billions in private profit.

As always in the ruling narrative, there is ‘no alternative’. ‘It must be done now to create jobs and get product to market’Astonishingly, no-one in government or the mass media observes the fact that many more well-paying permanent jobs, far more oil revenues, and infinitely more safety from tar-oil spills and dirty-oil carbon effluents are assured by processing the raw bitumen in Alberta itself.

On closer examination not yet considered, the political stampede for the trans-mountain pipeline of toxic Alberta crude through  the BC mountains and coastal waterways is based on a very big lie. If Alberta and Canada’s government, globally competitive Canada oil firms and working people really want to “create jobs”, “get product to market’, “achieve environmental  security”, “provide needed investment and revenues for the Canadian people”, and “reduce climate-destabilizing gases” the option is economically self-evident.

Process the tar-sand product in Canada and Alberta where the uncleanable toxins can be stripped out first by rigorous regulation and safety precautions before flooded through huge breakable pipes across mountains, aquifers, forests, and ocean coasts and the world-renowned lands and waters of a 5000-year-old ecological wonder larger and more unspoiled than any in the world.

Yet just as climate science does not matter to rogue Big Oil, so too the prevention of toxic Alberta crude running through Canada by processing it in Canada first is erased from discussion. No public voice even mentions the environmental risks of pipelining the toxic crude through the mountains and coats of BC when it could be cleaned up in Alberta first. None yet flags all the lost Canadian fortune and economic development going down the drain by raw-crude pipelines straight to the control, refineries and global sale of foreign Big-Oil multi-billionnaires like the Koch brothers. As for the foreign interference in Canada’s elections manipulating every step, no-one reports this either.

For what? The driver is not “jobs and prosperity”, “creating and sharing wealth”, and “making the indigenous people independent” (what a Canada Senator incredibly just wrote to me). The truth is the opposite on every count. Tens of thousands of high-paying jobs, escalated tax revenues, immense new domestic profits and investment opportunities are now all wasted for Canada by letting four times more of the value-added go South to US Big Oil management, refineries and high-grade global sales.

The real driver here is dispossession of Canada’s workers, first peoples, taxpayers and the common wealth by ever more multi-billion private profits extracted from its public lands at the lowest oil-royalties in the world to further enrich the already obscenely rich who are mostly not tax payers and are, in effect, lead destroyers of the life support capacities of the planet. SOURCE

Koch-Oil, Part 1: Big lies and ecocide writ large in Canada
Koch-Oil, Part 2: Canada’s love-in with US Big Oil

Koch-Oil, Part 2: Canada’s love-in with US Big Oil

Athabasca tar sands. Photo from CounterPunch. Source: NASA Earth Observatory.

In Canada, the governing corporate media and parties have had such a media-transmitted love-in with Big Oil that even Alberta’s NDP Premier Rachel Notley militantly demanded over years that the US-dominated tar sands mega project receive ever more rights and public subsidies to run its toxic tar-sand crude over neighboring BC mountains and the inland whale-inhabited ocean channels as a moral obligation to Alberta.

The spell of ‘national unity’ to sell Alberta’s US-controlled oil sands is not broken even as the forest fires and floods in BC and Ontario rage beyond all records from the fossil-carbon-destabilized climate. Now six new pro-developer premiers of Canada and the leader of the federal opposition are shouting that any more delays to the Big-Oil pipelines are “breaking up the country.”

US Big Oil led by the Kochs’ political war chest and already covertly dominating the US Senate and Presidency, has long gotten its way by such polarizing propaganda. Yet in Canada the line is swallowed whole and spread by the national media as the “unity crisis” facing the country.

Big Oil’s crucial step in putting the tar sands into the driver’s seat of Canada politics has gone beneath the radar. First of all it assumes a premise which no one questions that all the toxic raw product must be piped through Canada unprocessed “to market” (i.e., US refineries), and that Canada must duly enforce this off-shore refinement “as a national priority.” Once this full false premise is established as a given, it follows that the toxic Alberta crude must be piped raw across the BC mountain forests and aquifers, and then into its paradisal inland ocean channels for oil-tanker transport – now demanding a rising and rarely mentioned seven-times more oil-tanker traffic with toxic product that cannot be cleaned up.

Any ‘delays’ to this (never named) US-Big-Oil agenda with Canada juniors are then attacked as against ‘national unity.’ They are called ‘illogical’ and ‘punishing Alberta’- even when the time is legally required for amending legislation that has been ordered by the Supreme Court of Canada and for negotiating with the first nations whose lands and waters will be overrun by the the dirty-oil project in a period of ‘national reconciliation.’

In fact, the governing premises here are lawless and driven by what the Kochs specialize in – a fanatic anti-government agenda claiming to be for tax-payers and citizens. The rule of law is implicitly dismissed. Carbon pricing legislated by elected government – which sane oil corporations now accept as economically required – is ferociously attacked.

Even Parliament’s long-passed Bill C-48 protecting the Northern BC Coast from heavy oil-tanker traffic (tankers carrying over 10,500 metric tons of tar-sand crude) – a bill supported and voted for by over two-thirds of MP’s – is attacked in the Senate of Canada backed by Big Oil and Alberta.

Thus the single most important legal protection of Canada’s greatest environmental treasure, one that has been the negotiated decision of Parliament and a condition for the oil-pipe through BC, is marked for elimination. The federal Conservative Party goes along, and its ever-smiling leader Andrew Scheer has promised if elected in the approaching federal election to abolish Bill C-48.

The worst part of the whole multiplying Big-Oil tar sands mega-project may be the mammoth toxin-filled tankers ploughing through and despoiling the world’s most awe-inspiring green inland coasts in BC. It is like the Vietnam coast in this sublime natural beauty, but even more than Vietnam, it is an ecological paradise carrying a world of whales, eagles, biodiverse life and breathtaking music of nature with thriving Indigenous peoples protecting the environment since ancient times in a breathtaking music of life from rising green peaks to the fish depths of the ocean.

That the current Big Oil forces, Alberta Conservatives, the federal Conservative Party, many in the Senate of Canada, and various corporate media and fronts are all seeking to reverse the already-legislated Bill C-48 protection of even the Northern BC coasts from this grossest abuse of majestic life and beauty at every level and scale of Creation demonstrates how cancerous the Big Oil tar sands mega-project has become.

Yet in the unseen, historic shell-game going on behind the scenes, there is a convenient perpetual side-show of attacks on PM Trudeau whose unforgivable sin is not to push the oil-pipes and tankers through BC fast enough.

Led by Jason Kenney as Premier and the so-far invisible Koch brothers, the Conservative Party across provinces and federally has formed into an implicit war against any public control over and regulation of Big Oil. Any legal impediment to the massively toxic extraction and export through Canada’s most pristine natural environments to US control, refineries and far more profitable foreign sale is reverse portrayed as an attack on Alberta and a strike at Canada’s unity as a country.

The assumed absolute necessity of this pipeline and tanker extension of the multiplying tar sands project is, in fact, the demand of US-led Big Oil to loot and pollute Canada’s natural resources for value added in the US (including for oil sale back to Canada at multiplied prices). Yet every politician is supine before the transnational Big Oil powers involved. Even Liberal leader Stephan Dionne who won the Liberal leadership in 2006 on an environmental platform dared not question the Koch-led tar sands mega-project. “There is too much money in it,’ he responded to environmentalist concerns.

With all these unseen premises against Canada’s common life interests now cast as unalterable necessity, the trap is well set. As a federal election must occur before October 21, all the wheels are being oiled for Conservative toppling of the Liberal government and override of any resistance to the biggest force-play of US-led Big Oil in Canada’s history.

Read: Koch-Oil, Part 1: Big lies and ecocide writ large in Canada

Koch-Oil, Part 1: Big lies and ecocide writ large in Canada

A stop sign turned to protest sign against fossil fuels from Canadian tar sands. Photo by Robert Ashworth from Wikimedia Commons.

As we know, big lies can run free across borders with few joining the dots.

For example, no media are reporting that China’s growing dispute with Canada is based on Canada’s enforcement of the Trump administration’s unilateral and illegal embargo against oil-competitor Iran. A cynical reply is that this is predictable. Canada attacks any designated US enemy in junior partnership with global corporate command.

But this time there is a new twist. Canada is attacking itself without knowing it.

A US Big-Oil backed juggernaut of Conservative provincial governments and the federal Opposition are well advanced in a Canadian campaign to reverse longstanding parliamentary decisions, environmental laws, climate action initiatives, Supreme Court directions, First Nations negotiations, and to bring down the government of Canada. Yet no-one in public or media circles has joined the dots.

Canada’s vast tar-sands deposits are world-famous as surpassing Saudi Arabia oil-field capacities in total barrels of potential yield. Great Canada! Yet few notice that over two-thirds of the entire tar sands operations are owned by foreign entities sending their profits out of Canada, and almost all its raw product is controlled for refining and sale in the US.

What is especially kept out of the daily news is the incendiary fact that the infamous, election-interfering and oft-EPA-convicted Koch brothers have a dominant stake in the toxic crude of the Alberta tar-sands seeking a massive BC-pipeline out to their US refineries.

Koch-owned industries have already extracted countless billions of their near $100-billion fortune from the tar-sands and deployed their well-known voter-manipulations to change the balance of power in Canada as they have done in the US.

The objective is the same in both cases – ever more tax-free, publicly-subsidized and state-enforced control by US Big Oil of Alberta’s massive oil resources with no government regulations or interferences in the way.

A short history of the background facts

Prior to the wide-mouth pipelines of toxic Alberta crude planned through BC mountains, lands and waters to US processors, oil has to be extracted from the tar-sands first. This demands a continuous gargantuan depleting and polluting of the great Athabaska Lake, River and watershed to steam-boil the tar out of the vast open-pit mines. The immense open-pit mines are not formed or pumped out of desert as in the Middle East. They are torn in state-size chunks out of the earth’s mantle by monstrous wrecking machines ripping out the boreal forest lands by the roots to destroy the carbons sinks and water-hold stabilization they provide in the Northern region as well as pump out ever more climate-changing gases.

To boil the tar out of the endless open-pit mines already demands the equivalent of twice the amount of water the entire City of Calgary uses and recycles in a year. But water consumed by the tar-sand boiling is permanently polluted and wasted, and its fresh- water take from the great Athabaska watershed will only increase as the tar-sands ‘development’ is maximized, accessible oil fields are exhausted and prices rise. So too the annihilation of the boreal forests acting as a sink for carbon and holding the watershed together will be permanently lost.

Yet this is only the beginning of what ends up being the biggest single point-source of carbon pollution and climate destabilization in the world. It pollutes 2.5 times more carbon gases than natural oil. Extraction mechanisms cost almost eight times more fossil fuels than natural oil, and use overall almost as much energy as is produced!

For many years now, the Kochs have made most of their vast fortune from processing billions of barrels of tar-sand crude in the US, not Canada. This is why their octopi funding fronts have relentlessly pushed for ever more pipelines through others’ lands (including Dakota’s Indigenous Standing Rock) to control this bigger and safer business than tar-sand extraction itself.

This is also why the Kochs have led the huge financing of climate change denial against the known science, in which tar sand extractions and burning produce far more toxic carbon gases than high-grade oil. Most of all, the Kochs have acted out of sight to ensure control over elected governments that might regulate and control their above-the-law activities. They spent more than the Republican Party itself on the 2012 US elections.

They invented and funded the Congress-upending Tea-Party, and finance endless attack ads against all resisters to their will to dominate the US Congress and Senate (and behind the scenes the Trump presidency).

Read: Koch-Oil, Part 2: Canada’s love-in with US Big Oil

Todd Smith: Ontario shouldn’t make life harder for the poorest

Todd Smith, Ontario’s minister for children, community and social services.This year’s budget included no increases to Ontario’s miserly social assistance rates. Todd Smith is Ontario’s  minister for children, community and social services

A year after Doug Ford broke his first election promise by axing the province’s basic income pilot project, the future remains uncertain for Ontarians struggling to make ends meet.

The three-year, $150-million experiment was studying whether unconditional cash payments are a better way to support vulnerable workers and improve health and education outcomes for people living in poverty, including those on social assistance.

With a sample size of 4,000 adults in three test sites — Hamilton-Brant, Thunder Bay and Lindsay — and another 2,000 acting as a control group, it was one of the largest and well-designed studies of its kind.

At a time when Western democracies are grappling with rising populism, technological change and the growing gap between rich and poor, researchers and policy-makers around the world were eagerly awaiting the results.

But last July 31, barely a year after it began, the Ford government cancelled the initiative, claiming it was a waste of taxpayers’ money to study an idea the province could never afford. Now we will never know, as there will be no facts to get in the way of this argument.

A legal attempt to save the experiment failed last winter. But the government may still be on the hook to pay compensation and damages as a result of a class-action lawsuit launched on behalf of participants who signed up in good faith and whose lives were thrown into chaos when the province pulled the plug.

Instead, Ford’s “Government for the People” has launched a massive overhaul of social assistance that it suggested in April’s budget will save taxpayers $1 billion over the next three years. MORE

Ford Government Slashes Toronto Public Health Funding By $1 Billion

The cuts will take place over the next 10 years and will touch all of Ontario’s health units, a Toronto city councillor says.

Image result for The cuts will take place over the next 10 years and will touch all of Ontario's health units, a Toronto city councillor says.

TORONTO — The chairman of Toronto’s board of health says the province has notified health units across Ontario their funding will be cut immediately as the government makes changes to a cost-sharing arrangement with municipalities.

Joe Cressy — who is also a Toronto city councillor — says the cuts will mean Toronto Public Health will lose $1 billion in funding over the next decade and all of Ontario’s health units will be impacted by the move.

The Ministry of Health delivered the news Thursday afternoon in a conference call with public health units ahead of the long weekend, he said.

Cressy said the long list of affected programs includes disease prevention, water quality testing, and immunization monitoring and surveillance.

Joe Cressy @joe_cressy

Today, late in the afternoon on the day before a long weekend, the Provincial Government announced that they are cutting $1 billion to Toronto Public Health over the next 10 years, effective immediately. This announcement is callous, and it is short-sighted. Full statement here:

View image on Twitter

Stop abusing land, scientists warn

Scientists are to deliver a stark condemnation of the damage being done to the land surface of the planet.

Palm plantations in Aceh
Indonesian forest being cleared for palm oil plantations

Human activities have led to the degrading of soils, expanded deserts, felled forests, driven out wildlife, and drained peatlands, they will say.

In the process, land has been turned from an asset that combats climate change into a major source of carbon.

The scientists will say this land abuse must be stopped to avoid catastrophic climate heating.

Uncultivated land covered with vegetation protects us from overheating because the plants absorb the warming gas CO2 from the air and fix it in the soil.

But the scientists meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, will say the way we farm and grow timber often actually increases emissions of carbon dioxide.

Between a quarter and a third of all greenhouse gas emissions are now estimated to come from land use. MORE


We must change food production to save the world, says leaked report

Cutting carbon from transport and energy ‘not enough’ IPCC finds

 Hereford beef cattle. The IPCC report says meat consumption should be cut to reduce methane emissions. Photograph: Australian Scenics/Getty Images

Attempts to solve the climate crisis by cutting carbon emissions from only cars, factories and power plants are doomed to failure, scientists will warn this week.

A leaked draft of a report on climate change and land use, which is now being debated in Geneva by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), states that it will be impossible to keep global temperatures at safe levels unless there is also a transformation in the way the world produces food and manages land.

Humans now exploit 72% of the planet’s ice-free surface to feed, clothe and support Earth’s growing population, the report warns. At the same time, agriculture, forestry and other land use produces almost a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, about half of all emissions of methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases, come from cattle and rice fields, while deforestation and the removal of peat lands cause further significant levels of carbon emissions. The impact of intensive agriculture – which has helped the world’s population soar from 1.9 billion a century ago to 7.7 billion – has also increased soil erosion and reduced amounts of organic material in the ground.

In future these problems are likely to get worse. “Climate change exacerbates land degradation through increases in rainfall intensity, flooding, drought frequency and severity, heat stress, wind, sea-level rise and wave action,” the report states.

It is a bleak analysis of the dangers ahead and comes when rising greenhouse gas emissions have made news after triggering a range of severe meteorological events. These include news that:

    • Arctic sea-ice coverage reached near record lows for July;
    • The heatwaves that hit Europe last month were between 1.5C and 3C higher because of climate change;
    • Global temperatures for July were 1.2C above pre-industrial levels for the month.

This last figure is particularly alarming, as the IPCC has warned that rises greater than 1.5C risk triggering climatic destabilisation while those higher than 2C make such events even more likely. “We are now getting very close to some dangerous tipping points in the behaviour of the climate – but as this latest leaked report of the IPCC’s work reveals, it is going to be very difficult to achieve the cuts we need to make to prevent that happening,” said Bob Ward, policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. MORE


Avoiding meat and dairy could reduce your carbon footprint from food by nearly three-quarters

Eating a vegan diet could be the “single biggest way” to reduce your environmental impact on earth, a new study suggests.

Researchers at the University of Oxford found that cutting meat and dairy products from your diet could reduce an individual’s carbon footprint from food by up to 73 per cent.

Meanwhile, if everyone stopped eating these foods, they found that global farmland use could be reduced by 75 per cent, an area equivalent to the size of the US, China, Australia and the EU combined.

Not only would this result in a significant drop in greenhouse gas emissions, it would also free up wild land lost to agriculture, one of the primary causes for mass wildlife extinction.

The new study, published in the journal Science, is one of the most comprehensive analyses to date into the detrimental effects farming can have on the environment and included data on nearly 40,000 farms in 119 countries.

The findings reveal that meat and dairy production is responsible for 60 per cent of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions, while the products themselves providing just 18 per cent of calories and 37 per cent of protein levels around the world. MORE

Summer isn’t over, but election season is already here

Every election offers an opportunity to help set us in the right direction. With barely three months to go until the October federal election, energy is building throughout the country.

All over the world, we are seeing that elections — and the priorities of those we elect — matter. Let’s work together to elect a federal government that supports clean jobs, upholds Indigenous rights, lifts up underserved communities and reduces climate risks.

Send your message to all federal candidates now

Because of our charitable status, David Suzuki Foundation is not allowed to suggest which parties or candidates you should or shouldn’t vote for. Instead, think of us as your election cheerleaders and assistants. We want to channel all the momentum and excitement of the election to ensure this election is a win for climate solutions, biodiversity and environmental rights.

We look forward to working with our amazing community (that’s you!) to make sure everyone’s voices are heard this election, whether or not you are eligible to vote. What are your priorities? What motivates you to vote?

Start by signing this voter’s pledge and we’ll keep in touch over the next 11 weeks to make sure this is a fun and meaningful election.

Election 2019… Here we go!

Why Are White Men Stockpiling Guns?

Research suggests it’s largely because they’re anxious about their ability to protect their families, insecure about their place in the job market and beset by racial fears

Why Are White Men Stockpiling Guns?
Credit: Getty Images

Since the 2008 election of President Obama, the number of firearmsmanufactured in the U.S. has tripled, while imports have doubled. This doesn’t mean more households have guns than ever before—that percentage has stayed fairly steady for decades. Rather, more guns are being stockpiled by a small number of individuals. Three percent of the population now owns half of the country’s firearms, says a recent, definitive study from the Injury Control Research Center at Harvard University.

So, who is buying all these guns—and why?

The short, broad-brush answer to the first part of that question is this: men, who on average possess almost twice the number of guns female owners do. But not all men. Some groups of men are much more avid gun consumers than others. The American citizen most likely to own a gun is a white male—but not just any white guy. According to a growing number of scientific studies, the kind of man who stockpiles weapons or applies for a concealed-carry license meets a very specific profile.

These are men who are anxious about their ability to protect their families, insecure about their place in the job market, and beset by racial fears. They tend to be less educated. For the most part, they don’t appear to be religious—and, suggests one study, faith seems to reduce their attachment to guns. In fact, stockpiling guns seems to be a symptom of a much deeper crisis in meaning and purpose in their lives. Taken together, these studies describe a population that is struggling to find a new story—one in which they are once again the heroes.


When Northland College sociologist Angela Stroud studied applications for licenses to carry concealed firearms in Texas, which exploded after President Obama was elected, she found applicants were overwhelmingly dominated by white men. In interviews, they told her that they wanted to protect themselves and the people they love.

“When men became fathers or got married, they started to feel very vulnerable, like they couldn’t protect families,” she says. “For them, owning a weapon is part of what it means to be a good husband and a good father.” That meaning is “rooted in fear and vulnerability—very motivating emotions.”

But Stroud also discovered another motivation: racial anxiety. “A lot of people talked about how important Obama was to get a concealed-carry license: ‘He’s for free health care, he’s for welfare.’ They were asking, ‘Whatever happened to hard work?’” Obama’s presidency, they feared, would empower minorities to threaten their property and families. MORE