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An Open Letter to Amnesty International’s Attack on Alberta and Canada’s Energy Industry – Lisa Bzdurreck

Alex Neve,

Secretary General

Amnesty International Canada

So, you’re joining the fight against a small province, and beleaguered industry, who have endured years of bullying, intimidation, discriminatory government policy, slander, and harassment, while accusing us of human rights violations? Interesting.

Jason Kenney campaigned on the promise to expose a coordinated effort to destroy the livelihood of entire communities, forcing them into poverty, or removing any hope of escaping poverty. He has a mandate and a moral duty to follow through.

Noun: War room: a room from which business or political strategy is planned-not to be confused with a literal war. Not to be used as a strategy to illicit contempt for Albertans.

‘Urging’ Albertans to stand down against its oppressors comes across as a thinly veiled threat designed to intimidate our government into giving up the cause. What are you afraid he’ll uncover?

The current Federal government was certainly concerned, they took office and promptly halted Revenue Canada’s investigation into foreign funded entities. Come to think of it, they also removed First Nations transparency reporting requirements.

What the chiefs are starting to see a lot now is that there is a lot of underhanded tactics and where certain people are paid in communities and they are used as spokespersons.” And, “Essentially (they are) puppets and props for environmental groups to kill resource development and it’s outrageous and people should be upset about that…the chiefs are….”

Calvin Helin, chair of Eagle Spirit Chiefs Council.

Perhaps you’d like to save us the trouble of seeking out our detractors? Ask your human rights fighters to reveal themselves. They pay handsomely for loud, bold action while lurking in corners and hiding behind fake grass roots organizations. The sophisticated efforts they employ to retain anonymity are matched only by the guerrilla tactics they employ to sabotage.

Albertans aren’t looking to commit human rights violations. In fact, they are fighting them! Characters using their excessive wealth and influence to subvert our electoral process (they bragged about it), who benefit from a lack of market access induced price differentials, or the ‘incentives’ influencers receive to pose as climate alarmists, while using those gains to leave an enormous carbon footprint, are the target of Jason Kenney’s campaign- not petroleum clad college students.

The oil and gas industry is fact driven. Call it part of our DNA. We are immune to propaganda, doomsday prophecies and government issued scientific reports obtained in the same manner as media coverage. Conspiracy theories aren’t our game. We seek the truth, and that’s exactly what this investigation aims for.

I imagine you’ve heard of Vivian Krause. Her findings, derived from public tax records, uncovered billionaires with an agenda that has nothing to do with furthering Canada’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions by 80%-is it me or does that number keep going up?

If their intent was noble they wouldn’t be hiding, nor would they fear exposure. And they certainly wouldn’t own companies on the receiving end of multiple environmental infractions, or that are themselves involved in the (American) oil industry. They certainly wouldn’t represent a nation with refineries that process Alberta crude. They wouldn’t oppose pipelines while condoning product shipped by rail and truck, both of which are far more dangerous and emissions intensive.

CEPA pipelines move product safely 99.99% of the time. Efforts to promote increased danger and environmental degradation shouldn’t be rewarded, nor should a nation suffer great economic consequences resulting from such nonsense.

The well-funded smear campaign against Alberta’s ‘Tar Sands’ and pipelines is transparent in only one thing; it’s efforts focus solely on the world’s most regulated and ethical oil producers. Perhaps you’d like to explain that? We would, hence the inquiry that deeply offends you.

It’s rather amazing that the US continues to build pipelines while opposing our nation’s efforts to merely twin an existing pipeline.  They possess far less stringent regulations, buy vast quantities of our oil, own refineries dedicated to processing Alberta crude, and even ship Alberta oil overseas from the Gulf coast.

Environmentalists largely ignore the energy sector, unless Canada is somehow involved, as is the case with the ongoing Keystone XL saga. Most amazing though, is that most Canadian politicians don’t seem in the least bit concerned.

Bill C-48 is amazing given that the only oil spill off B.C.’s coast was caused by an American tug and barge, and it’s even more amazing that large tankers filled with foreign oil churn through the St. Lawrence killing endangered Right whales with impunity. Most amazing though, is that Bill C-48 discriminates against Alberta oil (and its workers) in favor of foreign dictatorships whose human rights violations are well documented.  I believe you mentioned human rights several times in your attack on Jason Kenney.

Michelle Bachelet claims that “the climate crisis now affects every region in the world.”  In saying that, she unwittingly makes the case for Canadian oil-ours is highly regulated and right here in Canada, which means its carbon footprint is miniscule compared to shipping barrels from the likes of Nigeria on tankers that gobble up bunker fuel.

Let’s be clear, we are on the defense, not the attack! We are the victims, and among us are First Nations. The oil and gas industry employs more First Nations than any other industry in Canada. Anti- pipeline/oil activists aren’t human rights defenders, they are eco-colonialists.

When a project is of interest to politicians, they immediately violate the basic tenets of reconciliation, as well as stakeholder engagement regulations, by completely bulldozing First Nations communities. In all this madness, it is they who stand to lose the most. The attacks against the oil and gas industry amounts to economic warfare. I won’t speak for them as eco-colonialists and politicians do, but I will offer a few quotes that can be obtained on the federal website under Bill C-69.

“I will go back to how we started the spring session. The first female indigenous Attorney General in our country spoke truth to power, and we saw what happened to her.

Bill C-88 is interesting, because it looks to reverse the incredible work our previous government did in putting together Bill C-15. –Todd Doherty Cariboo-Prince George, BC

“The moratorium was the “result of eco-colonialism. There had been zero consultation with northerners, despite consistent rhetoric about consulting with Canada’s indigenous peoples. Prior to decision making, the resolution was made unilaterally from the Prime Minister’s Office. The indigenous peoples and the people from the Northwest Territories had about an hour’s notice with that.” – The Hon. Bob McLeod, the premier from the Northwest Territories

Merven Gruben, the mayor of the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk, stated: Tuk has long been an oil and gas town. Since the first oil boom, or the whalers hunting whales in the late 1800 and early 1900s, we have grown up side by side with industry. We have not had any bad environmental effects from the oil and gas work in our region, and we have benefited from the jobs, training and business opportunities that have been available when the industry has worked in Tuk and throughout the north, the entire region.

Never in 100-plus years has the economy of our region, and the whole north, looked so bleak for the oil and gas industry, and for economic development, generally. All the tree huggers and green people are happy, but come and take a look. Come and see what you’re doing to our people. The government has turned our region into a social assistance state.

We are Inuvialuit who are proud people and who like to work and look after ourselves, not depend on welfare.

I thank God we worked very closely with the Harper government and had the all-weather highway built into Tuk. It opened in November 2017, if some of you haven’t heard, and now we are learning to work with tourism. We all know that’s not the money and work that we were used to in the oil and gas days that we liked. Nobody’s going to be going up and doing any exploration or work up there. We were really looking forward to this. There was a $1.2-billion deal here that Imperial Oil and BP did, not that far out of Tuk, and we were looking forward to them exploring that and possibly drilling, because we have the all-weather highway there. What better place to be located?”

On the subject of Northern Gateway, “Most aboriginal communities in northern British Columbia impacted by the Northern Gateway pipeline supported the $7.9 billion project…Elmer Ghostkeeper of the Buffalo Lake Metis Settlement, Chief Elmer Derrick of the Gitxsan Nation, and Dale Swampy of the Samson Cree Nation said they are disappointed in the “political decision,” which they say was made without their input. Their expectations were really raised with the promise of $2 billion set aside in business and employment opportunities,” Ghostkeeper said, “Equity was offered to aboriginal communities, and with the change in government that was all taken away. We are very disappointed in this young government.”

Despite promise after promise, ZERO consultation efforts were made, resulting in devastating losses for members of First Nations communities. While politicians and ‘humanitarians’ speak loudly on behalf of First Nations, they are denied the right to speak for themselves. When they speak, our leader is too busy blaming Harper for God-knows-what to listen.

You claimed that Jason Kenney’s goal “is to revert back to the Harper-era assessments process where Indigenous rights concerns were routinely excluded, provoking conflict and lengthy court battles.”

As a matter of fact, Jason Kenney is bringing in a bill to help First Nations invest in energy projects, which they plan to avail themselves of.  He is also setting aside funds to support legal challenges to fight for their right to extract hydrocarbons-to oppose governments meddling in their right to choose how they use their lands, and to challenge the same shady characters Jason Kenney is fighting for all Albertans to expose.

Albertans are happy to see tax dollars look after our own, for once.  Canadians are being increasingly under-represented as billions in tax dollars flow overseas into a black hole, devoid of accountability, while First Nations across Canada live in abject poverty.  Now they will have the voice and means they’ve been denied over the past four years.

Genuine human and environmental rights activists wouldn’t cluster in British Columbia, ignoring that they have the dubious honor of being North America’s largest exporter of coal or home to one of Canada largest environmental disasters, which took place in 2014 when a mining tailings pond breached.

Where were they then? Why weren’t they up in arms when the government recently allowed the same company that caused the Mount Polley mining disaster to dump more toxic waste into B.C.’s pristine waters?  Mining tailings good, Alberta tailings ponds bad.  What’s up with that?

Why aren’t they fighting salmon farms, whose nets are strangling and killing whales? Alberta oil hasn’t killed any whales, but B.C. does a fine job of it. Some conservationist freedom fighters they are. Instead, Alberta has an embargo placed on its oil, the likes of which exists nowhere in the world. Embargoes are put into effect as a mechanism to cripple countries like Iran, forcing them to quit playing with nukes- not to strangle a member of the confederation one was elected to represent.

First Nations are stewards of their lands. Their knowledge and concern for the environment is well known and respected- at least by many members of the oil and gas community, which is why Alberta energy companies have spent billions engaging with them. If only your climate agenda recognized their contributions instead of reverting to colonialist heavy-handed “we know what’s best for you” policies.

The energy sector isn’t perfect, but they are responsible for approximately 45% of all environmental sustainability spending in Canada annually. Efforts that reduce environmental effects, unlike the anti-oil noise that does nothing more than cripple the environmental research and development efforts Canada’s oil and gas sector has engaged in long before social licence was a thing.

What’s with Tzeporah Berman who recently received millions from Americans for her efforts to destroy Canada’s oil and gas sector?  She says she plans to use those funds to continue her quest to support our southern neighbors- the world’s second largest emitter of GHG emissions per capita.  Perhaps you can explain why she is so determined to undermine Canada’s climate change mitigation efforts?

What of Premier Horgan who colludes with Washington State’s governor and officials from California and Oregon to fight TMX in what the governor calls “common interests with our citizens?”  Say what?  California is home to Bakersfield, a large oil field that resembles a post-apocalyptic scene that would shock any oil sands worker. And Washington is building a pipeline to B.C to provide them with refined Alberta oil.  Nope, nothing strange going on there…

All of this serves to prove Jason Kenney is right to expose foreign interests and the reason why B.C is the hotbed for Canadian oil opposition.  Something stinks, and we don’t like it. First Nations don’t like it.  This is what you would deny them self-sufficiency for?

Politicians and global humanitarian agencies preaching of reconciliation wouldn’t abuse their positions to silence and fire a female First Nations member of their cabinet because she stood for truth and democracy, nor would they ignore it. Furthermore, your letter supports a steadfast commitment to condemning First Nations to poverty by denying them the right to work, which I’m pretty sure is a violation of their constitutional rights.

I believe you owe First Nations an apology, and I especially think you owe Jody Wilson-Raybould an apology.  In all your blustering about vulnerable indigenous women, you forgot all about her.

I also expect that our current federal government will receive a letter of concern. Bribing the media, ethics violations, ignoring UN mandated reconciliation and consultation requirements as defined in UNDRIP, firing women for defending the law, and the obstruction of justice should have been your first concern. Given that it wasn’t is deeply concerning, in fact. Also of interest to Canadians is the timely receipt of your letter. I hope the upcoming election didn’t factor in.

Consider me a humanitarian who believes in fighting for the oppressed-for Canada’s interests.  We sure could use that oil and gas money to pay for more hospitals and schools, given that ours are stretched to their limits. Hydrocarbons belong to all Canadians, as do its proceeds.

I’m sure you’ll recognize and applaud my availing of constitutional freedoms when writing this open letter.


Lisa Bzdurreck

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