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article imageCanadian Resources Minister calls enviros 'radical groups'

By Lynn Herrmann     Jan 11, 2012 in Politics
Ottawa - Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, has called opponents of the country’s energy markets “radical groups” who threaten its energy market with their “radical ideological agenda.”
In an open letter on Monday, Oliver started a firestorm when he said Canada must diversify its energy markets away from U.S. energy demands, or else continue with the status quo, accusing “environmental and other radical groups” of undermining the country’s “national economic interest.”
Accusing these “radical groups” of receiving foreign funding to “kill” good Canadian projects, Oliver added,
Their goal is to stop any major project no matter what the cost to Canadian families in lost jobs and economic growth. No forestry. No mining. No oil. No gas. No more hydro-electric dams.
Stating Canada needs to “diversify” its energy markets, Oliver noted the lucrative Asia-Pacific economies should be part of the country’s oil, gas, metals and minerals market. He added the choice is clear, if the country wants to experience job creation and economic growth, as such increased trade will ensure Canadians and their families “financial security.”
Oliver then switches gears, laying blame on Canada’s “slow, complex and cumbersome regulatory process” denying the country of “thousands upon thousands of jobs.”
In his closing remarks, Oliver said
Our regulatory system must be fair, independent, consider different viewpoints including those of Aboriginal communities, review the evidence dispassionately and then make an objective determination.
Responding to Oliver’s letter, David Suzuki, the noted Canadian environmentalist, said, “Environmentalists want to ‘live within our means,’ ‘save for tomorrow,’ think about the ‘legacy we leave for our children.’ That strikes me as a pretty conservative approach,” Common Dreams reports.
John Bennett, Sierra Club Canada Executive Director, responded to Oliver’s open letter with an open letter of his own, questioning the minister’s “diatribe.”
“Mr. Oliver says ‘environmentalists and radicals’ just want to delay the scheme until it becomes economically unviable - an interesting charge. But is that really what’s happening - is that really what we do? Is asking government to make sure development is economically and environmentally sustainable and in the best interest of local residents and Canadians just a delay tactic?”
No, he answered his own question. Not asking tough questions can lead to devastating consequences for the environment. Bennett noted that were it not for “environmentalists and radicals,” the reestablishment of eagles in New Jersey may not have happened.
Questioning Oliver’s point on foreign investment, Bennett added “We are preached to every day that we are in a global market where goods and ideas no longer have borders. Soliciting foreign investment, we are told in the sermons of CEOs and government ministers, is key to our future. the oil industry certainly seeks foreign investment ($100 billion and counting), including from the government of China through its state-owned oil companies.”
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