Saturday, December 31, 2011


Let's ignore the Mayans and their predictions and make some of our own otherwise toasting with a glass won't be enough. As we bid farewell to 2011 with all its challenges met or simply deferred let's rejoice in all the potential ahead of us for 2012. Many of us will make new resolutions fully intending to keep them, but time and life gets in the way. How about if we simply respect each other in our daily routines and not forget our joy of the first hours of the new year even as the months begin to roll on. As an environmentalist I would like to present a wish list of goals for the new year but that would be too cliched. Instead I'll ask you to choose a glass and toast to the future we all share. In the end it is your choice that matters.

As I ignore the Mayan bright prediction for 2012 I think of a beautiful piece of music called The Deguello used by composer Dimitri Tiomkin in the John Wayne movie of The ALAMO. This piece of music was played early in the morning on March 6th 1836 as a small band of brave men stood together against the might of Santa Anna and his army. The battle lasted only 90 minutes the memory of such bravery and sacrifice much longer.

Humanity stands as a brave small band (heck I know it's several billion but still small in comparison) against the might of nature's army. Yet we have shown courage, bravery, incredible genius for development and a drive for survival. We can win the battle depending on our decisions and the will to act. By the way the translation for The Deguello is Slit Throat, ouch! Yep, I know you'd prefer the action packed new movie like the disaster flick 2012, instead of a John Wayne oldie.

For me I look for more of the same as I had done in 2011 again in 2012 only better and much louder. For Mayorgate and no ad LIB blogs to upset more apple carts and bring forward information that some would rather stay silent or lost in the shuffle.

Tonight let's forget all the serious stuff, the Mayans, John Wayne oldies or even new ones, forget 'slit throat' and instead lubricate our throats, choose a glass and toast in the new year.


Friday, December 30, 2011

Royal Descent

How does one value his country or his own rights? Most of us have little reason to even think about such questions as we pass through our daily routines. In Canada we have had our most basic democratic system of government manipulated and mangled for one purpose. Those we elected have found a way, though apparent democratic means, to design and mold government to their own needs. A long trusted even revered third party, a referee if you wish, is nothing more than a puppet. A Monarch who only thinks either through arrogance or simple lack of care that responsibility can be put aside without consequence.

It has been reported how Governor General David Johnston had made a public statement endorsing the oil sands as a “great Canadian development.” He had no authority to make such a statement. As the representative of Her Majesty the Queen he has publicly committed Her Majesty to that endorsement. A letter from his predecessor as Governor General is clear proof that David Johnston is in breach of his authority. As the representative of Her Majesty, the Governor General is installed by Her Majesty and in the end only can be removed by Her Majesty. A Governor General's tenure though five years, is at the “pleasure” of Her Majesty.

In writing Her Majesty informing her of the serious breach of authority by David Johnston I had few expectations. I was aware that the Governor General was chosen by Prime Minister Harper, even though many were shocked at the time. The letter arrived at Buckingham Palace by Express Post (therefore signed for and trackable) on Friday December 16th 2011. A response is dated December 19th 2011 and was dropped in my mailbox in St. Catharines Ontario on Friday December 23rd 2011 at noon. Buckingham Palace found urgency in delivering the letter within three and a half days from London to St. Catharines during the height of the Christmas mail rush. Why was it so important?

Her Majesty's response is posted here. This response is nothing more than insult to the people of Canada. She refers to herself as a “constitutional Sovereign.” What does that mean? If she has no authority than neither does the Governor General. It stands then that Royal Assent is not necessary on our Canadian legislation and the farce of paying out billions of our tax payer dollars to a show piece comical and without purpose. We have people in Canada unable to feed their families, the government cutting services and the people of the First Nations surviving conditions that even representatives of the United Nations were shocked over. Generations of trust and respect washed away by this response.

Governor General David Johnston in public committed Her Majesty in an endorsement of the oil sands. There is no comment in the response from Buckingham Palace on that issue, which is the key. Whoever advised Her Majesty on this response has done so to protect the Governor General but more importantly to ensure that the Monarchy does not comment on his endorsement. It is now fair to ask was the decision of Her Majesty the Queen her own? Was this response designed to protect the interests of BP and Shell? Both British giants have massive investments in the Alberta oil sands.

Have we now seen the full circle of the British Empire to 'the good ol' days' of Sir Francis Drake. A pirate unleashed onto the seas under the beck and call of a British Monarch to murder and pillage only to be knighted for his services. Are the executives of BP and Shell to be thought of as the modern day 'Sir Francis' of the business world. After all their massive investments into the oil sands bring even more massive profit and in the end rather healthy returns to the British government in taxes. True the days of sailing ships, swords and blood are over and those executives of BP and Shell only wield their cutlass at the executive board tables. Yet it was the British who used the influence of their MP's to sway, or attempt to sway, opinion in favour of the oil sands with European decision makers.

Her Majesty the Queen in her letter states that she would not intervene in this matter, that she acts upon advice “of her Canadian Ministers.” The Queen does not say simply Canadian Ministers but “her” ministers. As per the Letters Patent Constituting the Office of the Governor General and Commander-In-Chief of Canada point XIV “Governor General's Absence” is clear. “And whereas great prejudice may happen to Our Service and to the security of CANADA without first obtained leave from Us for so doing through the Prime Minister of Canada.” Though these Letters Patent were effective as of October 1st 1947 and seem dated by some sixty-plus years little has changed, even though some individual amendments made such as the selection of the Governor General. The University of Toronto Law Journal Vol 7, No. 2 (1948) states, “there seems to be no change in the status of governor general and he still remains an officer to whom his majesty has committed extensive but definite powers and functions.”

In our parliamentary democracy the Governor General has rarely used his powers. Though Royal Assent was denied once to legislation in Alberta and the Canadian parliament sent packing and a general election forced this year in 2011. Some claim his position is more symbolic rather than in fact active in government. And true our democratic and stable government has had little reason for a referee to interfere. Yet as the University of Toronto Law Journal continues, “It would appear that, in spite of all the changes, he is still under legal liabilities and all the older judgements and case-law in relation to “colonial” governors are of authority, while special statutes of the United Kingdom, over which Canada has no control, still govern his conduct and certain aspects of his legal liabilities.

David Johnston does not do as he pleases nor as Prime Minister Harper dictates! As the Governor General his boundaries are definite and his conduct answerable to Her Majesty not the Prime Minister. It is only her Majesty that has full authority over the office of the Governor General. David Johnston as Governor General holds a post that is not chosen or elected by the people of Canada. He was chosen by Prime Minister Harper, and was chosen for one reason only. Yet he represents the Monarchy, he represents the Queen herself with his actions. In his endorsement of the oil sands he has brought public endorsement of Her Majesty to the oil sands. Cowardice has never been the currency of the realm as it is now. The honour and prestige of the Monarchy has been compromised by its representative and that cannot be ignored. David Johnston may make speeches and present his sanctimonious expressions but the puppet strings cannot be made invisible. He is the chosen one, and it is he who paid his dues in obstructing an inquiry into the actions of an ex-Conservative Prime Minister. It is he who put the seal of approval on the oil sands for Prime Minister Harper. Maybe David Johnston should print some decals and stick them on the barrels of oil from Alberta's oil sands, the way Crabtree & Evelyn does on their jams.

Her Majesty and the Monarchy has been compromised by Governor General David Johnston. It is not an issue of whether you support the oil sands or not. This is an issue of governance, of OUR CANADIAN DEMOCRACY. No one, regardless of whether it is the Queen, her representative in the role of Governor General, nor the Prime Minister of Canada may have the right to manipulate our Canada. We as Canadians cannot stand idle and allow this. This is the role and authority of Her Majesty to act and to remove David Johnston as Governor General of Canada and to issue a statement on her position relating to the endorsement Johnston made. The Governor General is responsible for his conduct only to Her Majesty. Or is the line of dialogue from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man's Chest – most appropriate in today's world - “No doubt you've discovered that loyalty is no longer the currency of the realm, as your father believes. I'm afraid currency is the currency of the realm.”

Have there been more amendments to the Letters Patent Constituting the Office of Governor General and Commander-In-Chief of Canada?

Raise your Canadian voices, sign the petition to remove David Johnston as Governor General of Canada. The position of Governor General may not be elected by Canadians but we as Canadians will not be ignored, not even by Her Majesty the Queen.

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Christmas Wish and a Chicken Dish

Christmas brings the joys of celebration, the wonder and excitement on a child's face to see the brightly wrapped gifts under a tree, a gathering of family and friends. It is a time for many of spiritual celebration and hope for the future. As an environmentalist I can't imagine the look on a child's face as he or she runs to the tree to see gifts wrapped in brown paper or re-used newsprint. Or imagine a sweetheart given a gift wrapped in yesterday's lunch bag. In our zealous attempts at at saving the earth we seem to lose our practicality, it takes our humanity to remind us. All of you from Suzuki's eviction of Santa to those who think or advise re-giving as chic, please let's not give away the meaning of celebration. The real issues for us are still out there waiting for action.

It is with celebratory joy that I greet people when I say “Merry Christmas,” not with an intent to insult. Nor do I feel any guilt or shame for my belief or conscience. Sadly we are coerced by what unknown forces to hide even celebration publicly from our children. Our school buses not permitted to display any symbols of celebration by not allowing decorations. Who in fact would be offended? Our politicians no longer use the words to express their own beliefs. Who do they fear? What forces are out there to try and force a public sterility or uniformity. I do not accept them nor do I fear them. In my own home town of St. Catharines a nativity display at our city hall has been brutally attacked and vandalized for the second year. Who and for what purpose? Somehow it is hard to believe that a drunken or drugged individual with no motivation other than no self-control had done this, yet it is better to believe that than any alternative.

As humanity we are growing, stretching and hopefully maturing. We have conquered many diseases through science yet one we still struggle with and that is we still at times judge an individual by the pigment of his skin than by the individual himself. Maybe that guilt is forcing an over reaction and a stream of fear at simply being ourselves.

Today I wish you all a very Merry Christmas with no offence to my friends who celebrate in their own way. I will enjoy my six year old son ripping at the coloured paper covering his gifts without guilt that I betrayed Mother Earth or the work I do as an environmentalist. I will celebrate my family and the strength that they give me each and every day.

We come together at our feasting tables celebrating the gathering of family and friends. All races, religions and beliefs, each carrying their own traditions, their own dishes. In the end it all tastes like chicken! We are all the same below the covering of skin. We are part of a family, each and every one of us part of humanity. As waves on the oceans we do not wear labels of identification, or individuality. We blend and mix together. In the end we all taste like chicken. 

To all a Very Merry and Joyous Christmas.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Is the Queen (The Monarchy) interfering in our Canadian Parliamentary Democracy?

St. Catharines Mayor Brian McMullan's resume on ignoring legislation.

Recent events with the Governor General David Johnston have raised serious questions as to the role Her Majesty The Queen has taken in Canadian affairs. Now with the announcement by Environment Minister Kent that Canada has pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol greater and more alarming questions need to be examined.

In the past week at the climate change talks in Durban South Africa, Canada has acted in an intentionally disruptive manner. Other member nations of the Kyoto Protocol had been lobbied, even hard pressed by Canada to withdraw from the agreement.

On arrival back in Canada Minister Kent made his announcement of the Canadian pull out from the Kyoto agreement. Kent simply performs from cue cards there is no illusion the decisions even script is that of Prime Minister Harper. To justify Canada's pull out from the Kyoto Protocol and the international agreement to monitor and control greenhouse gas emissions, Kent has said that he is saving Canadians some $14 billion dollars in penalties. He broke this figure down per household to $1600.00 so as to have a strong shock value on the average Canadian. Kent also said that the weakness of the Kyoto Protocol to enforce any of the non-compliance was proof of how in affective the Kyoto was and that we should move on from it. Environment Minister Kent has never stopped pointing the finger at the US and China, as the number one and two of the highest emitters of CO2 in the world, and at the fact that neither had signed onto the Kyoto agreement.

Now the serious questions arise. The Governor General David Johnston on November 28th had publicly and in his official capacity endorsed and supported the oil sands production. In doing so as the representative of Her Majesty, he has committed the Queen in official support for the oil sands. Our agreement in the Kyoto Protocol is not simply a handshake with a bunch of guys all speaking a different language around a big table. In fact it is a piece of legislation discussed in parliament, given Royal Assent and signed into law. It was called the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, Bill C-288. I quote from the actual document itself: “An Act to ensure Canada meets its global climate change obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.”

In fact the signing of Bill C-288 was a fraudulent act by the Harper-led Conservatives. It was Environmental Minister Kent who said on November 28th 2011, “Our government believes that the previous Liberal government signing on to Kyoto was one of the biggest blunders they made.” Harper never had any real intention to honour Canada's obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, he simply had a minority government. Yet like the angry brat he never let go of the end-game plan. Is it a coincidence that Kent made this statement on the same day that Governor General David Johnston made his public support of the oil sands??

Bill C-288 continues, “Recognizing that, Canadians have a deep pride in their natural environment, and in being responsible stewards of their land, Canada is committed to the principle of environmentally sustainable development, a healthy economy and a healthy society depend on a healthy environment, Canadians want to take responsibility for their environmental problems, and not pass those problems on to future generations, global climate change is one of the most serious threats facing humanity and Canada, and poses significant risks to our environment, economy, society and human health.”

The strength and power of these words echo in the empty hypocrisy of Minister Kent's mouth. Kent has tried to justify Canada's pull-out of the Kyoto with lies and half-truths. In fact Canada had never really implemented policy to reach its targets under the agreement. Nor could it do so with the massive development of the oil sands. On September 19th 2011 Kent said, “We're doing all this with a sensitivity not to strand capital, threaten jobs or impact consumer pricing.” (National Post Sept. 19,2011). This was in response that Ottawa would not bring out new rules for greenhouse gas emissions for the oil sands. Carbon emissions from oil sands production has risen to approximately 6.5% of Canada's total, according to the Pembina Institute, and will most likely double by 2020. The National Energy Board (the NEB) in their recent report said that massive growth in the oil sands production will likely triple by 2035. It doesn't take a genius nor cue cards to understand why Prime Minister Harper and Minister Kent must pull out of the Kyoto Protocol.

Suncor Energy Inc (SU) chief executive officer says, “Kyoto no longer works.” I wonder why? Much of the region has moved to “in situ” harvesting instead of strip-mining according to Peter Fairley in the MIT Technology Review (more details found in Is the QUEEN selling the oil sands? ). This looks prettier, less trees destroyed and perhaps looks less like the aftermath of a nuclear attack, but it is more energy intensive. According to Farley “it creates more than twice the production emissions of conventional oil sands mining” and “it has already accounted for two or three times as much greenhouse gas per gallon of fuel of gasoline refined from conventional crude.” Oops, no wonder the Kyoto can't work for any of you there.

The Prime Minister has not told the people of Canada that when he signed onto the Kyoto Protocol and Bill C-288 he did so as an intentional lie and fraud. Minister Kent hasn't told the people of Canada nor any of the world members, some 191 signatories to the Kyoto Protocol, that Canada never intended to honour its obligations under the agreement and would face high penalties. In fact these penalties were quite useful to use for the selling job to the Canadian people.

Yet what is most alarming is the role Her Majesty might of played in all of this. The Governor General exercises virtually all the Crown's powers, he is the representative of the Sovereign in Canada and is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister. David Johnston has already proved his alliance and usefulness to Prime Minister Harper in the Mulroney inquiry. It was David Johnston who shaped the mandate and scope of the Oliphant Inquiry and in turn sheltered former Conservative PM Brian Mulroney. Mulroney who received cash stuffed brown envelopes and then made ludicrous explanations walked away from any consequence. Maybe Mulroney could say that he thought they were Playboy magazines and he wanted to be discreet. Still it was David Johnston who paid his dues to the Conservatives and PM Harper.

Prime Minister Harper should be considered as a great credit risk by credit card companies as he has proven to pay his debts. David Johnston got the Governor General's position even though many thought the public innuendo of the Oliphant Inquiry would keep him out of the running. The first spokesperson and co-founder of Alykhan Velshi has been given a plum position in the PM's office as director of planning. Is it coincidental that Alykan Velshi not only worked as director for communications for Immigration Minister Kenney and former Environment Minister John Baird before going over to run Velshi claimed that the organization ( was “100% independent of government and industry.” Now he has a senior position in one of the most powerful political entities in Canada.

So is it also a coincidence that on November 28th the Governor General David Johnston publicly and officially endorses the oils sands as a “great Canadian industry,” but also Environment Minister Kent says “Kyoto is the past” and as a coward refuses to say that Canada had already intended to annul its obligations to the agreement. And here lies the alarming question. Governor General Johnston commits the Queen to the endorsement of the oil sands as her representative in Canada on the same day that Kent makes his little statement leaving no real questions on Canada's position with the Kyoto Protocol. Yet the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, C-288 was an act of parliament given Royal Assent to become law requiring certain procedures and again Royal Assent to be repealed, how could Harper and Kent be so confident in their announcement. Have there been discussions privately between Governor General David Johnston and Prime Minister Harper and a deal struck before any public statements by Minister Kent? It simply doesn't make sense. True Harper has a majority and has a Senate stacked full of his hand-picked boys. Harper's confidence is running high that he can do as he pleases. Yet it is the Governor General who has to provide Royal Assent.

Elizabeth May Green Party Leader hinted at the possible legal questions in the announced pull out by Canada from the Kyoto Protocol. Though May did not go into any depth on the issue and hasn't mentioned that point since. The Federal Environment Commissioner, Scott Vaughan has said his office is consulting lawyers “to determine the implications of the Conservative government decision to withdraw from the Kyoto accord.” (Jason Fekete, Postmedia news, Dec. 13,2011). After all it is the Federal Environment Commissioner who has to report whether Canada is meeting its obligations under the agreement.

Environment Minister Kent used the 'salami method,' an old salesman's trick to break down cost to make the sale look more appealing. Kent wants the people of Canada to look at the potential cost of the penalties that Canada would face if we remain as a member of the Kyoto Protocol. First of all he has used inflated figures, or did he?, that's a question in itself. Second he has told the people of Canada that his government never really implemented policy to avoid these penalties and by selling the oil sands guaranteed that Canada would not be able to meet its obligations. Kent simply told an already financially overburdened people that it would cost them $1600.00 dollars each for his government's and PM Harper's fraudulent signing of Bill C-288.

Bill C-288, the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act also states: “the national science academics of Canada, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States declared the following in June 2005: “The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action. It is vital that all nations identify cost-effective steps that they can take now, to contribute to substantial and long-term reduction in net global greenhouse gas emissions.”, climate change is a global problem that crosses national borders.” There are no illusions on this issue. Yet Harper knows that we are sitting on enormous wealth in Alberta and it won't be capped, regardless of the massive damage it will create.

Kent eludes to the lack of any real enforcement mechanism in the Kyoto Protocol. The Greenhouse Gas Management Institute has this to say, “The compliance system under the Kyoto Protocol has yet to be tested. So what does this mean for the future of the Copenhagen Accord? Since we don't have a world government to enforce international law, the people of representative governments around the world must make it politically unacceptable for their governments to fail to comply with their treaty commitments and, equally important, they must make it politically unacceptable for their governments to look the other way while other countries fail to comply.”

Prime Minister Harper sent Environment Minister Kent to the climate change talks in Durban with script in hand to undermine the Kyoto Protocol and act as the spoiler. He did this with full knowledge of his position and intent to pull out of the agreement. Yet at home the story reaches more alarming questions. Bill C-288 the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act is a piece of legislation. How does he tear that up and throw it away?

The Governor General has already endorsed the oil sands publicly and committed Her Majesty the Queen to that endorsement. Has the Governor General also committed himself and therefore Her Majesty the Queen in a secret deal with Prime Minister Harper that Royal Assent is guaranteed. Can it be that Harper's manipulations reach so far? The Senate really is his, he has the majority in the House and point in fact he has the Governor General. So the question lingers has the Queen Her Royal Majesty been a partner and interfered with our Canadian parliamentary democracy? The Governor General has played an important role in all of this for Prime Minister Harper. Can it be possible the stage has been set to tear up a piece of legislation, of law, as simply as unwanted paper? According to Bill C-288 page 2 of 7: “Now, THERE FORE, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada enacts as follows”: followed by II points of the Act. Point #4 states, “This Act is binding on Her Majesty in Right of Canada.”

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Saturday, December 17, 2011




Sunday, December 11, 2011

Is the QUEEN selling the oil sands?

Who and what is a Governor General? He or she is the representative of the Queen. The role and responsibilities cover constitutional responsibilities, he or she is the Commander-in-chief of the Canadian Forces, he or she represents Canada, encourages excellence, brings Canadians together and grants armorial bearings. All of this is clearly described on the Governor General's own website. The Governor General is not a cheap salesman hawking a product! Governor General David Johnston became just that on Monday November 28th 2011. He joined the ranks of Ezra Levant to sell the oil sands for PM Harper. As the representative of the Queen he has overstepped the boundaries of his authority and has to be removed from his position. Unless it is the Queen herself who wishes to publicly state that she, her Royal Highness approves of the Alberta oil sands, its production and sale. For in fact Governor General David Johnston has done exactly that.

I now quote from Derek Abma of the National Post, (November 28, 2011): “Governor General David Johnston waded into Canada's oil sands debate Monday, praising the industry as a “Great Canadian development.” According to Derek Abma of the National Post, Governor General David Johnston brought up the issue of the oil sands in a question-and-answer session after his formal speech. I have read the formal speech as presented by the Governor General and in it he avoided all questions or points regarding the oil sands. In bringing up these points after his formal speech he overstepped his authority beyond any acceptable level. Quoting again from Derek Alba of the National Post, Governor General David Johnston said, I know there's a controversy about the oil sands, but that's a great Canadian development, those are resources that were of no use to anyone {until} Samuel Hearne discovered them.” Agent Orange was thought to be a pesticide. Nuclear fusion and nuclear research thought to be beneficial till it devastated Japan and brought the world to the brink of mass destruction. We as human beings strive to explore, to discover it is our nature, yet hope in our maturity to know better is the only safeguard.

Governor General David Johnston has a position of power in the public's eye. He represents the Queen and all her powers with authority to dissolve the government of a sovereign country. He went on to say (again quoting from Derek Abma of the National Post's story) The challenge is for us to mine {the oil sands} in improved, increasingly economically sustainable ways.” There lies the very essence of the whole issue of the oil sands. It is not the environment, the future of our planet or that of our children and grandchildren, Canadian, British, Chinese and alike, it is pure economics. We simply live in a world where greed and a lust for power is overwhelming.

Regardless whether one accepts the reasoning behind the basic need of power and greed it is still difficult to fully understand the motivation behind Governor General David Johnston's public support and selling of the oil sands. As per the Governor General's web page: “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the Queen of Canada and Head of State. The Governor General is the representative of the Queen of Canada.” Governor General Johnston has in fact given the very public approval and support of the Queen for the oil sands. How was this possible, or why? Further research provides an alarming answer.

Governor General David Johnston overstepped his very public position and authority as the representative of the Queen. There is no question that he should be removed from his post by the Queen. To answer why he had done this is an alarming realization just how those in power see us all as pawns even acceptable collateral damage.

I quote Johnston's predecessor Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, in a letter I received from Rideau Hall, with full lion's crest. These were the words I read: “As you know, the role of the Governor General in Canada's parliamentary democracy is strictly non-partisan.” Governor General Johnston has shown the hypocrisy and the lies behind those words. Using the weight of his position and his title he sold to the world the oil sands. WHY?

The world is joining in a voice that is alarming to Prime Minister Harper. He is sitting on a monstrous pile of wealth, and through wealth, power. It is detrimental to all, in its extraction and as a refined product. Not only environmentalists, but government officials, Nobel recipients, scientists and ordinary people are joining together to tell Canada that our oil sands are a danger in the end to us all. Yet PM Harper has a partner, becoming less silent through such acts as of the Governor General.

A recent headline in the London Guardian reads: “UK secretly helping Canada push its 'dirty oil' fuel,” (November 27,2011). In this UK Guardian story information is revealed how British top officials promised to help Canada to overturn the European Union's move to label the oil sands as a 'dirty' product or a high-pollution product. Whilst the British Prime Minister David Cameron “campaigned on a pledge to provide the greenest government ever” (from The Globe & Mail by Doug Saunders, November 28,2011).

British Petroleum, or BP on its own official website has this to offer. “BP is involved in three oil sands projects, all of which are located in the province of Alberta. Development of the Sunrise Energy Project, our joint venture with Husky Energy, is under way, with production expected to start in 2014. The other two proposed projects, Pike and Terre de Grace, are being appraised for development.” Who can forget that BP was responsible for the worst oil leak in US history, destroying not only the environment in the southern United States but putting innocent lives and livelihood at risk. As the facts slowly emerged surrounding that disaster one point was clear, cost cutting to increase profit was the major concern for BP.

As you read this official web page by BP, British Petroleum a frightening realization comes tingling down the spine from these words under the heading 'Commercial viability of oil sands projects.' “BP requires oil sands projects, like all its investments, to be commercially viable over the life of the project. In gauging this, we factor in BP's view on carbon pricing and carbon regulation evolution; economic forecasts, such as fluctuations in the oil price; and potential policy changes, such as national legislation intended to address climate change.” What can be more frightening than the realization that these words bring. Now put all the pieces of the puzzle together that have occurred slowly.

On September 19th 2011 Environment Minister Peter Kent states that Ottawa will not bring out new rules for greenhouse gas emissions from the oil sands this year. Documents obtained through Freedom of Information requests in Britain by The Cooperative and Friends of the Earth Europe and Greenpeace reveal high-level government officials from both the UK and Canada meeting with senior oil industry executives. Although many of these documents are heavily censored with page size black blocks, e-grams sent between high ranking British government representatives show intense lobbying by the British to bring about a compromise to the European Union Commission. The European Commission has recommended oil sands derived fuel be given a greenhouse gas rating of 107 grams per mega joule, 22% higher than the 87.5 grams rating given to fuel from conventional crude oil. Canada and its officials had been caught off guard by the EU Commission and had no real strategy to deal with this. Briefing notes on meetings held by British Foreign Secretary, British Foreign Offices America's director with Canadian officials leave no doubt how Canada was unprepared to handle the EU Commission and the FQD (Fuel Quality Directive). In one such note between the British Foreign Secretary and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird it says: “Canada was surprised by the rapid timetable for the Commission's FQD proposal but welcomed {the UK's} approach.” (from Jason Fekete, Postmedia News, November 28,2011).

Environment Minister Kent went on to say, “We're doing all this with a sensitivity not to strand capital, threaten jobs or impact consumer pricing” (National Post, September 19,2011). At home Harper and Kent used Levant's 'Ethical Oil' to sell its dirty oil. Though much of that has faltered. Levant and Ethical Oil rely on attack without any facts or evidence. Canada cannot afford a loud vocal opposition to the oil sands as dirty oil. Nor can it really afford the Kyoto Protocol to survive.

Canada has been caught flat-footed by the EU and has 'mama' Britain quietly helping. The British have a huge stake in the Alberta oil sands with both BP (British Petroleum) and Shell expanding their already huge investments. Yet the embarrassing truth is oozing out with documents showing how every attempt has been made by British government representatives to stall the EU and the FQD (Fuel Quality Directive) decision. As posted by The Guardian's Damian Carrington, a portion of a letter sent to The Guardian by LIBDEM minister responsible for the UK's transport fuel's policy Norman Baker, tries to defend the help the British have given Canada and the oil sands. Damian Carrington calls this letter “laughable.

Norman Baker's letter states this: To be clear, we are not delaying action in any way, but we are seeking an effective solution to address the carbon emissions from all highly polluting crudes, not simply those from one particular country.” The EU proposals do not target any one particular country, and the UK compromise to put crude into three bands of emissions: high, medium and low, is designed to stall the decision by the EU. Yet in a copy of an email (obtained through the Freedom of Information by UK environmental agencies and Greenpeace) dated September 27th 2011, between Deputy High Commissioner Corin Robertson and Assistant Deputy Minister at the Department of For Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAIT), Subject: Fuel Quality Directive, it states: “...we are now reaching out to EU member states through our diplomatic missions to explain the UK's position on the FQD.” Most importantly where Norman Baker claimed, “we are not delaying action in any way” in his letter to The Guardian in late November, this followed in the email. “We are acknowledging that devising an effective and practical system will be challenging, especially one that will avoid resulting in extra costs for industry and consumers. We know that working out how to track crude as it goes through the complex refining and transportation system will be difficult and may take time to get right.” So much for not intentionally delaying action.

Yet as the war for the future of our planet heats up apposing politics and big business a new trend is coming to the surface that is alarming. In the letter by Norman Baker the LIBDEM minister, it is the last paragraph, where he blames environmentalists for the controversy. “I have challenged green NGO's to come up with a solution so we can address the carbon problems of all crude sources as soon as possible. So far I have been met with silence.” Damian Carrington of The Guardian had this response from John Sauveu of Greenpeace, ”together with the majority of European governments, we're enthusiastic supporters of the (existing) European plan to prevent the most polluting fuel from entering our filling stations. So Baker is completely wrong to say we haven't put forward a solution to the problem of tar sands.”

Here in Canada it is Sun Media that has led the attack against environmentalists. First with Ezra Levant and his Ethical Oil. Levant used a mythical creature he named Zoe, a make-believe
individual to ridicule and insult as an environmentalist. Most of what Levant had said has been seen for its real value, hot air, insults instead of fact. Still Alykhan Velshi who ran has been rewarded with a post at the Prime Minister's Office, he will soon become the director of planning. Velshi claimed that the “grassroots” was “100% independent of government and industry.” It is clear how much truth there has been in anything coming from or anyone associated to it.

British Minister Norman Baker accuses environmentalists in his letter to a British newspaper. Lorrie Goldstein Senior Associate Editor of the Toronto Sun goes much further. Goldstein calls environmentalists “dishonest cowards.” He goes on to say that “the green movement has deep roots in anti-western, anti-capitalist, anti-development and anti-growth ideologies...” he continues with, “environmentalists, particularly in Europe, are Marxists, who were put out of business when the Soviet Union collapsed...” Not surprising that Ezra Levant is part of the Sun Media organization.

True there are those who are recognized as environmentalists and who push the boundaries of ethics and credibility with elves, Santa evictions to raise a buck. As there are Sun Medias in the world of journalism, where truth, honesty and ethics may be seriously questioned. But the world is raising its voice to Canada, telling us it's time for honesty and ethics in the real sense. The realities cannot be ignored nor covered up with insults and attacks. Alberta's own Auditor General in his report, “pointed a finger at Suncor Energy Inc. SU-T which has submitted tailings pond emissions estimates that don't include carbon dioxide at all, and are based on old measurements at a pond that no longer exists” (The Globe & Mail by Nathan Vanderklippe and Shawn McCarthy, November 23,2011).

Now it is time to ask is 'dirty really ethical'? Reports coming from Durban South Africa are sounding off alarm bells not only in relation to ethics but of the integrity of a nation. Environment Minister Kent has made enough public statements to the effect that Canada is planning to dump the Kyoto Protocol. His reasons, or at least those given publicly are an insult to intelligence. In an interview with South African High Commissioner Mohau Pheko at the South African High Commission in Ottawa by Mike De Souza (Postmedia News, December 3,2011), Pheko said “she was particularly disturbed by Kent's recent suggestions that he would take a hard line approach against developing nations and challenge founding principles of the existing international climate change agreements that require developed countries to take responsibility for causing the environmental threat over the past 150 years.”

Canada claims that the world's two biggest polluters of carbon China and the US are not taking part in the Kyoto Protocol. South African High Commissioner Mohan Pheko said that her country has been approached by other nations in vulnerable positions that have been lobbied by Canada to leave the treaty. She said: “we must also recall that many of things are linked to aid packages and there's arm twisting.” How does this rate on the ethical scale? What is the reason for Canada to play such a game?

According to Bloomberg, “Canada the country furthest from meeting its commitment to cut carbon emissions under the Kyoto Protocol may save as much as $6.7 billion by exiting the global change agreement and not paying for offset credits.” Can it be that the consideration of the mighty dollar be a stronger motivator here? Or is it that Canada has a problem on the international stage, its reputation damaged as an environmentally ethical member of the world community. Out of the 191 signatories to the Kyoto Protocol Canada would be the first to annul its emission-reduction obligations. According to Keith Stewart of Greenpeace Toronto, “Canada is the only country in the world saying it won't honour Kyoto.” The reasons for this are becoming more clear than Minister Kent would like. According to the Pembina Institute emissions of carbon from oil sands production has risen to about 6.5% of Canada's total from about 1% in 1990, that figure will likely double by 2020.

So what is the truth here? Rick George chief executive officer of Suncor Energy Inc (SU) said, “Kyoto no longer works, whatever happens with Kyoto won't change our direction.” (Bloomberg, December 4,2011). This is from Canada's largest oil producer, the same Suncor Energy Inc (SU) that the Alberta Auditor General pointed a finger at for submitting pond emissions for a pond that no longer exists, and submitting “tailings pond emissions for a pond that don't include carbon dioxide at all.” It is also the same Suncor Energy Inc (SU) that is responsible for an oil leak at the Commerce City Colorado refinery, potentially putting at risk the South Platte River the source of Denver's drinking water. Suncor Energy faces $130,000 in penalties for more than two dozen health and safety violations at the refinery in Commerce City. Suncor allegedly failed to test monitors properly for hydrogen sulfide, a toxic and flammable gas, and failed to follow safety standards while processing hazardous chemicals, according to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which issued the citations (National Wildlife Federation, Wildlife Promise November, 30,2011).

According to Josh Mogerman a spokesperson for the Natural Resources Defence Council in relation to the Commerce City refinery spill, “If the leak involves tar sands diluted bitumen, the contamination could be more severe, tar sands diluted bitumen spills are associated with significantly more submerged oil, which cannot be contained by surface booms.”

In response to the objections to the oil sands mining process there has been a change in the process of bringing up the bitumen. Peter Fairley's story in the current issue of MIT's Technology Review talks of “in situ” harvesting. The process pumps superheated steam underground to melt the bitumen in place before sucking out the mixture for processing. This form of deep mining for the bitumen reduces the number of trees brought down and erosion runoff into streams and waterways. Yet Fairley's warning is alarming. “It creates more than twice the production emissions of conventional oil sands mining. Independent experts say that by the time the bitumen is refined and delivered to gas stations across the United States, it has already accounted for two or three times as much greenhouse gas per gallon of fuel as gasoline refined from conventional crude.” That being said combined with the fact that “much of the region has moved to 'in situ' harvesting” (Forbes, Erica Gies, founder of then more light shines on Canada's fear of the EU Commission and the FQD (Fuel Quality Directive) and the Kyoto Protocol.

According to a Peter Fairley blog post “Cenovus Energy has achieved a 15% reduction in energy use per barrel of bitumen with a hybrid extraction method combining butane and steam, and says optimizing the process could cut another 15%. N-Soly is testing a purely solvent-based process, eliminating steam altogether in a bid to slash greenhouse gas emissions per barrel by 80 to 90 percent.”

One should warn Ezra Levant at and PM Harper that this is not really the answer. Butane and propane are extremely volatile and warnings by the US Department of Labour are alarming in relation to our human health impact. When industry uses the term 'solvents' they are quite vague and the results could cause toxicity to the nervous system, reproductive damage, liver, kidney and respiratory damage and cancer. More of a concern is with the potential leaching of these 'solvents' into soil or water supplies and the cost to human safety then. All of this looks good in the press, it shows that the industry is trying to address environmental concerns. Or is it only a public relations exercise that will result in a greater threat.

Canada and its partners, particularly in Britain, know that the voices against the oil sands are becoming louder. Pressure is mounting with the EU and its Fuel Quality Directive, something that Canada can not really afford. According to Greenpeace's Keith Stewart Canada has not implemented a policy to reach its targets, remember Environment Minister Kent delaying GHG (greenhouse gas) rules “with a sensitivity not to strand capital,” so the Kyoto Protocol is a threat. The British are doing all they can to help protect, shelter and promote the oil sands and its billions of dollars. New mining technology such as the 'in situ' harvesting or the testing of a combination of butane and steam or unnamed solvents is more frightening than exciting for the future of our environment.

When Joe Oliver, Canada's Minister for Natural Resources said, “you can turn off your lights and freeze in the dark, the alternative is to use the energy, which of course you are using, everybody is using,” the sheer arrogance of these words should of been both alarming and an awakening. I simply watch my seventy-plus year old neighbour across the road get in his red truck for the fourth time today for his journey to pick up the peeling lottery tickets, and realize how much does rest in our hands.

Joe Oliver went on to say, “If the world doesn't want our oil, it doesn't have to buy our oil.” It is such intelligence that has driven the British to shudder in embarrassment. When Governor General David Johnston made his statements at an official function in his official position praising the oil sands industry as a “great Canadian development,” are they to be taken as the words of Her Majesty the Queen. HE HAD NO RIGHT TO DO SO! Governor General David Johnston said “I know there's a controversy about the oil sands, but that's a great Canadian development.” Those words have put the endorsement of Her Majesty the Queen on the oil sands. Under no circumstances can this be allowed. He must be removed! Governor General Johnston said “I know there is a controversy...” The world is voicing its opposition even though Britain is trying its hardest to promote the oil sands. British Prime Minister Cameron, ministers like Norman Baker and others may also play their secret dirty games behind doors yet the Governor General has no right or authority to do so. Again from the Governor General's own website: “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is Queen of Canada and Head of State, the Governor General is the representative of the Queen in Canada.”

There is a great deal to examine regarding the oil sands. It is the future of our world, what we leave for our children and our grandchildren. A reality should tingle down Minister Joe Oliver's spine and that is the simple law of supply and demand. If we curb our demand then you simply have to cut the supply. But can we?

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