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General News · 4th September 2013
Bill Wheeler
I used to write letters to John Duncan. After the first one I got a form letter saying Mr. Duncan would be informed of my opinions. After that one he just ignored me. I gave up writing to him years ago but when I found out he was coming to Cortes on Tuesday I was eager to see him and have a word with him if I could.

I made up a nice sign for his visit to Cortes. That’s a photo of it at the start of this article.

Standing around on the gravel at the top of the soon to be up graded Gorge Harbor boat ramp with John and several Harbor Authority members I said in a somewhat heated manner something about how I thought the Conservatives were a bunch of crooks. John took this very calmly and allowed that every one is entitled to their own opinion.

When I got the chance I thanked him for the boat ramp money but asked him to keep his pipelines. He assured me that they were not bringing any pipelines to Cortes Island. Later, John was talking about the oil sands and how it is getting better. Barry Saxifrage, who studies government data extensively, states that the tar sands industry in Canada has failed to reduce the climate impact per barrel of tar sands since at least 2005.

John also stated that Canada has world class standards. In fact, the tar sands are giving Canada an international black eye. According to Gordon Campbell, Canada’s High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, the tar sands are “hitting directly on Brand Canada.” A German research facility recently withdrew from a tar-sands related research project for fear of the impact on its reputation.

John said they have put a lot of money into research of carbon sequestration. Given that carbon sequestration is not a practical means to provide any substantive reduction in CO2 emissions, such research is a green-washing ploy and waste of money. Neither of these things is something to be proud of.

On the radio, John said Canada is on target for the Copenhagen Accord agreements. This is just not true. Even if you do not include the emissions that will be created when tar sands oil is burnt, in situ extraction and tar sands expansion will prevent Canada from meeting this goal.

I asked John if they got that leak in the Cold Lake area fixed. He said he hadn’t heard anything about that. So I got to tell him that is the one where they injected steam into the ground and now oil is seeping up in multiple places and they have no idea how to stop it. He said I know more about it than him.

John Duncan is right. I do know more than he does, about the facts that are determining our children’s future. And it is a shame for an elected official to be so willfully ignorant. Canada’s petrostate is creating dead zones across Canada and changing the climate from one which enabled human populations to grow to one full of storms, droughts, famines, rising seas and other dangerous weather events. Many people, like myself, see this destructive greed as criminal. The younger generations from whom he is stealing most certainly will.