Franke James, the artist who was blacklisted by the HarperCons, lives in Joe Oliver's riding. She was excited to learn that he is open to meeting with environmental groups. So, she's issued a public letter, taking him up on his offer and requesting a meeting with him.
Yesterday in the House, Halifax New Democratic Party MP Megan Leslie wanted an answer from Oliver. She didn't get it. Nor does he, apparently, get it. Here's the video version which is really worth the 6:29 minutes of your time. Leslie is brilliant!
And speaking of the NDP, The Regina Mom received an email from Nycole Turmel, interim leader of the NDP. The message responded to an email sent to Turmel and other politicians regarding the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline. Turmel's is the first response.
Interestingly, one must ask themselves: whose interests are the Conservatives representing? Canadians or the interests of the American and Chinese companies who will profit from the pipeline?
For our part, we have been consistent in our call for the government to ban oil tanker traffic on the BC coast. Building on NDP past work that included a motion calling on the government to ban oil tanker traffic on the BC coast, in June 2011 NDP MPs Fin Donnelly and Nathan Cullen laid out a legislative proposal for a permanent ban on oil supertanker traffic off the north coast of British Columbia.
We have long felt that these supertankers are all risk and no reward -- it's all about shipping raw bitumen from Alberta's tar sands to Asia. Additionally, banning oil tanker traffic would effectively stop any move by Enbridge to ship oil through its planned $4.5 billion Northern Gateway Pipeline.
Her letter also pointed to the NDP platform on tackling climate change, to Section 4.2, specifically. That section, Ensuring Canada Becomes a World Leader in Renewable Energy, addresses how an NDP government will move subsidies from non-renewable energy sources such as oil and gas to subsidies for renewable energy sources so that a fairer system exists. TRM likes that the NDP have a plan for change.
And change is certainly needed! Yesterday (or very early this a.m.) TRM reported that the fossil fuel industry receives billions of dollars in subsidies from governments worldwide. Today, TRM learned that ExxonMobil raked in $41.06 billion in profits in 2011. That's the equivalent of $1,300 a second! Talk about greed! Exxon owns Imperial Oil which operates Esso and Mobil in Canada. Why do corporations making this kind of cash get any subsidy at all? And who is funding the mouthpiece for the greedy industry, "Ethical Oil" (sic)?
How well I recall the days when Canada's mere possession of a national energy program and the establishment of our own state-owned oil enterprise, Petro-Canada, was a free-market sin that cried out to heaven for vengeance. Now China is doing the nationalizing of our energy resources, and it's Chinese state-owned corporations intruding into our oilsands wealth. Sinopec revenues last year exceeded the tax revenues of Canada's federal government. We're supposed to behold the glories of the free market in this?
We don't even have a Foreign Investment Review Agency anymore. China's version of FIRA -- preferential bank loans to dozens of outfits like Sinopec that are run by Chinese Communist Party politburo appointees; draconian restrictions on foreign investment to favour the government's own enterprises; privileges granted to state-owned corporations at the expense of thousands of Chinese businesses they've driven into bankruptcy in recent years; labour-law exemptions gifted to Beijing's monopolies and their foreign joint-venture buddies; grotesque tariffs and duties imposed on imports to the advantage of the multinational corporations Beijing owns and runs -- all this makes us looks very much like the chumps we are.
Chumps and radicals, that's what Canada's made up of, eh? Well, there is a good news side to this horrid tale. Minister Oliver's open letter to Canadians, the letter that moved TRM into action, has moved others into action, too. They're digging into their pockets and sending donations to those "radical" environmental groups.
"We've seen an unprecedented surge of support," said Emma Gilchrist of the Dogwood Initiative, a B.C.-based group which has received $12,000 in unsolicited donations since Oliver's letter. "We've got cheques that say, in the memo section, 'Thanks to Joe Oliver."' Dogwood also got nearly 25,000 new signatures on its anti-tanker petition -- more than it got all of last year. Traffic to its Facebook site increased 10,000 per cent. "We're quite disappointed to hear the things coming out of the federal government, but it has brought people together," Gilchrist said.
Here's another example of generosity: John Oliver, composer and performer, is offering free copies of his new song, Pumpin' Oil.
How Canadian, eh?