“Being There” for all Canadians

Dear Diary:

Whew! What a breathtaking week.

It all began with our glorious leader’s cringe-inspiring response to an under-employed oil worker who should “hang in there” – apparently for eternity while the PM steadfastly refuses to indicate that are any conditions possible under which he would approve a pipeline – Energy East – that would run through Montreal.

Nevermind that there has been a pipeline running through Montreal for close to 75 years – that being the Portland-Montreal pipeline that in a good year has carried close to 100 million barrels of foreign (Saudi, Venezuelan, who knows?) oil under the St. Lawrence river.

Suncor refinery in Montreal
Suncor refinery in Montreal

This probably comes as a surprise to most media such as Le Devoir’s Marie Vastel who regularly wonder – unchallenged by the likes of Rosie Barton – on political talk shows whether enough is known about pipelines, their safety, the threat of spills and whether they can be cleaned up. Hmmmm.

So, we dug around a little and here’s what your journalists – yes, yes, the same folks who have been whining all month about their craft’s demise and how it is vital to democracy, blah, blah, blah – aren’t filling you in on.

The Portland-Montreal pipeline is in trouble because the Energy East project involves carrying Canadian crude from West to East which means no one in Eastern Canada would have to buy oil from people who regularly conduct mass beheadings. A couple of years back, there was a proposal to actually reverse Portland-Montreal, which would have made it possible to not only get Canadian crude to Montreal, it could also then get loaded on tankers in Portland. But in a delightful confluence of the economic interests of the pipeline’s Montreal and Portland owners and the eco-kook lobby, civic leaders in Portland said no to “dirty” oil. This, as we all know, is because it is morally superior to buy oil from medieval kingdoms, west African dictators, South American tyrants, and various other mullahs than it is from fellow Canadians.

And as far as Albertans are concerned, as Ian Robinson – a good Timmins kid – points out: we don’t like them.

Anyway, we don’t think the eco-kook lobby’s biggest concern is that oilsands crude is so “dirty” – what with it being responsible for 0.15% of global emissions and all. No, it’s because there is a lot of it. And so long as there is a lot of oil, its price will remain low and people will still be able to heat their homes, drive their cars, etc at affordable prices – thus delaying the orgasmic day when “green” alternatives are economically affordable and the new Utopia arrives. (the parallels to the Social Gospel movement are unmistakable).

Anyway, the next time one of those journalists/saviours of democracy blathers on like some upper class twit about Quebec not knowing whether oil pipelines are safe, ask them how the, er, blazes they can not know – they’ve had one for 75 years.

#PMJT continues to insist the reason he can’t be sure whether Energy East’s $9 billion infrastructure proposal and its liberating influence on Canada’s largest industry – energy – is because Stephen Harper  “politicized” the National Energy Board process.

If this is true, it is an extremely serious charge. What is pretty much just as serious is that you can read, or watch, or listen to just about any report on this accusation without finding the slightest shred of evidence that even one of those doing the reporting asked the fundamental follow up question – how? Like, “Mr. Prime Minister, you just said that your predecessor of violating the rule of law by interfering with the workings of an independent, quasi-judicial administrative/regulatory agency. Exactly how did he do that?”

Nope. No one asked. Not one. We suppose we are expected to accept as the nation’s journalistic elite does, that just because someone says something, it is true. If it is, someone should call the cops about the former prime minister. If it’s not true, the current prime minister is telling lies. But we, the mere public in whose interest these noble guardians of the truth serve, apparently don’t have the “right to know.”

Staying on energy, we were all moved by the government’s speedy response to the economic crisis in the West, weren’t we? Sure you were. How can you resist those doe-eyed glances of sincerity, flanked as they are by Gallic locks and exposed, manly forearms? Come on.


First, it was announced next to his new pal “Rachel” that $700 million in routine infrastructure funding earmarked by the previous government for Alberta would be “fast-tracked.” We don’t know the details regarding over how many years this money was originally intended to be spent (mostly because, again, no one in our media apparently thought to ask) versus how it will now be spent. So, let’s assume it was intended to be spent over 5 years at $140 million annually and now will be spent instead over two years at $350 million annually. Here’s the problem: after two years, it’s all gone. What happens then?

being-there-peter-seller2We assume this what the PM – who some are saying is  revealing an increasing resemblance to a younger Chauncey Gardiner – means when he talks about Canadians “Being There” for each other.

Then, it was announced with much fanfare that Newfoundland, Saskatchewan and Alberta could apply for some short-term assistance that they already were completely legally  entitled to apply for that in the case of Alberta amounts to $250 million.

Gosh and golly in Alberta that’s almost a whole $1 billion worth of “assistance” that the province was going to get sooner or later but will now get more of sooner and, near as we can tell, less of later. Impressive.

To be fair – and to relieve our incessant berating of the journos – the announcements were greeted with skepticism by most Alberta-based commentators (none of whom, we note, are ever asked to participate in CBC panels filled with people who live and work in Ontario/Quebec but apparently are, like Hollywood actors, experts on everything).

Most notable among this is the quite reliable Rick Bell who pointed out that $1 billion amounts to $60 per Albertan as compared to the $1,130 each and every Quebecois et Quebecoise gets every year in transfer payments, most of which come from Alberta.

In case you were wondering, as we were, the total amount Alberta has contributed to Confederation – the difference between what it sent in and what got sent back – between 1960 and 2002 at least – was $244 billion.

Following the predispositions of the nation’s national media, we are too lazy today to find out how much more was added to that total in the ensuing 13 years, but we did find this government document that shows that in 2011 alone, Alberta’s net contribution to “Confederation” was just under $16 billion.

You do the math. We are searching for amber fluids.


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This is the best damn article on this topic I have read all week. What I wouldn’t give to see Blair on one of the cozy CBC panels hosted by Rosy Barton. Facts. Questions. Research. Who knew these things were possible!

Sean M

Great article… The “media” will continue to shill, grovel and campaign positively for the clowny actor they helped to get elected. Clowny the PM can lie his ass off from now until the end of time and the “media” will accept the incoherent blather as the new gospel, a gospel not to be questioned, just like during the election. PM Clowny is an actor who “feels your pain”, he’s just not going to do anything to relieve that pain other than perhaps giving you a hug. In fact, the moron front man will probably inflict even more pain, “just hang in there”. In those rare occasions when non Liberals are governing the country the “media” proudly declare themselves as the “official opposition”, perpetually “outraged”, holding the Government to account, when Libranos are back in power the “media” consider themselves as lobotomized Liberal cheerleaders, eunuchs for the progressive cause. Thanks for the article.

old white guy

everything in Canada is politicized and everyone has an agenda. those agenda usually are never in the best interest of Canadians. usually all agendas are ideology driven, in Canada this means left of any rational thought.


Re no nothing journos I have had a back and forth via email with one Andrew Cohen who recently wrote a hagiographic piece on Maurice Strong – without mentioning Mr Strong being indicted for accepting questionable payments from one Tongsun Park, or why despite the fact that according to Mr Lawtons article that such an accomplished Canadian in the field of Climate Change is virtually unknown by average Canadians – since Climate Change is expounded on as the most important issue of our time by the media.

Mr Lawton made some excuses – then expressed wonder that I think that there is nothing wrong with the climate.

So I engaged him on the matter, and it became readily apparent that Mr Lawton either writes his articles based on IPCC and LPC press releases, that he has little knowledge of the subject or science behind AGW, or if he does he willingly suppresses it.

I was polite with Mr Lawton and provided him with factual basis for my opinion and asked that he provide me with information to support his position.

Mr. Lawton then quit replying to my emails for a subject he opened the door on.

So I am left with the conclusion that Mr Lawton as a “journalist” who’s first job should be to report both sides of a story, and ultimately try to find the truth, is actually disinterested on both of those aspects of his job.

I don’t think Mr Lawton is an outlier in the field of journalism in Canada

Jack Kent

The lack of any intellectual rigour by Canadian journalists is pretty amazing. I mean they believe in things just because “everyone knows” they’re true even though they haven’t exercised the first priority – one assumes – of their trade: checking the facts. So they know its true but they don’t know so they just believe.

Blair Atholl

The aforementioned Mr. Cohen appears to be a professor of journalism at Carleton’s esteemed program and a renowned journalist. I’m confused though Ward regarding with whom you were corresponding – Andrew Cohen or the Lawton chap?

Blair Atholl

No worries. Yes, Mr. Cohen is a much-honoured journalist. And well he should be in Canada as he has been very good at what everyone else is good at and he teaches young aspiring journalists to be very good at it too.

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