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An Open Letter to Tzeporah Berman – Julia McElgunn

Julia McElgunn

Petroleum Geologist & Energy and Sustainability Advocate, P Geol, MSc

Dear Ms. Berman,

I hope this finds you well during this intense time in Canada’s Energy and Climate Change history.

First of all, I wanted to say thank you for expressing yourself so clearly about your opinion on Canada’s energy situation. Unfortunately, you speak with many unfortunate misconceptions and non-truths about Canada’s leading industry and greatest resource: the oil and gas industry.

It has been frustrating to hear your ill-informed opinions because people look to you for advice and guidance. While I’ve avoided writing open letters as an energy advocate, I found myself with this communication method as the only option since you have and will continue to block those on social media who are on the opposing side. We need conversation, debate and dialogue to move past the limiting beliefs and the stalemate of this situation. As the decision on TMX was announced today, it’s utterly important that we break down the walls of ignorance and revert to civilized, mature public debate.

My hope in writing to you is to engage on some level so that we can move forward towards a common goal – to have Canada thrive again.

I’d like to point out that you do not know me, but we have some similarities that may allow you to think a bit deeper about my request. We are both mothers, both likely with a desire to want to best possible future for our children. We both believe strongly in our voices and the need to speak up for situations that need to attention. Lastly, I sense that as Canadians, we are proud of our country and the freedom we have. We are proud to call Canada home and have the privilege to focus on advocation rather than survival. We are blessed and lucky to have the standard of living where we can actually think about something more than basic survival. This is largely thanks to our vast resources: oil and gas, mining, agriculture, even forestry – yes I know how much you hate forestry, but do you live without wood products of any sort?

I’m not going to bore you with countless stats and facts, however I will say that unless you are willing to engage in a conversation with someone is who knowledgeable, passionate, and willing to speak up for this amazing industry, an industry that places Canada at the top in terms of quality of life, your words are empty, not driven by a desire for the best possible future we can provide for our children.

One last thing, I’ve read many of your articles and I am shocked that you choose to write with so many dishonest facts. For example, you use plural language for pipeline engineers that protest the Trans Mountain Expansion, but yet, it was after all only one. This makes it sounds like even the industry’s own are turning against themselves, which is not true.  The twisting of generalized facts is the same for the Indigenous communities who are in support of the oil and gas industry, and need the industry to survive. These people have never been given their voice and you have succeeded to silence them.

As I stated already, my only purpose in writing to you is to ask you to consider an open, respectful public engagement so that we can start to open up the dialogue and work towards a solution.

I assume, however, that sadly you will avoid this request.


Julia McElgunn

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