by Geoff Olson

Tuesday, November 18, was a day of unintentional humour, courtesy of several media outlets incensed by a local environmental protest.

To recap, Houston-based energy giant Kinder Morgan has designs on Burnaby Mountain, and supposedly wants nothing more than to consummate its relationship with the igneous formation in a discreet, respectful way. Mainly by giving the conservation area a Brazilian and drilling two narrow, 250-metre-deep holes, without disturbances from placard-wielding voyeurs. There will be no kinky pipeline stuff –  at least not until the B.C. Court of Appeal decides on the constitutionality and applicability of Burnaby’s by-laws when it comes to dirty energy dalliances.

By the 18th, protesters were still blocking Kinder Morgan’s access to its geological love interest, in defiance of a court-ordered deadline that came into effect the previous Friday. Over at Sun News  – “Canada’s Home for Hard News and Straight Talk” –  commentator Ezra Levant was shocked and appalled by events out west. He commiserated with “Straight Talk contributor” Ada Slivinski about the RCMP’s five-day long failure to launch, lynch, or whatever.

“Ada, when your or I or any other severely normal people break the law, the cops ticket us, arrest us, whatever….why is there this special political exemption for a favoured group of radical activists?”

Slivinski noted the “shocking double standard,” and how her car would be ticketed in mere minutes if a parking meter expired in Toronto. When she asked RCMP on Burnaby Mountain about the best vantage point for filming mass arrests, and why they weren’t enforcing the injunction, one cop purportedly told her: “Big oil companies don’t tell us what to do.”

“So they’re purposefully defying the court order out of their own political motivations,” Slivinski exclaimed of the anarchical, oil-hating fuzz, who had failed to immediately rid the mountain of Gortex-wearing grannies and their tree-hugging enablers (arrests began Thursday morning).
The most telling part of this online Sun News exchange was the ad next to the video, reading “$1 TRILLION DOLLAR BOOMTOWN? A remote region you’ve never heard of may be about to become home to three natural resource booms.” An arrow points to the BC coast, near Moresby Island. “Industry giants like Shell, Chevron, and Exxon are already lining up to invest billions. But there’s still time to get in on the ground floor.”

The laugh-out-loud juxtaposition of hydrocarbon clickbait  with Levant’s demagoguery about  the “little fascist thugs” occupying Burnaby Mountain demolishes SunTV’s pretence to objectivity on this controversy, or any other where the advertising tail wags the editorial dog.

Not to be outdone by hyperbole out of Hogtown, The Province ran an unsigned editorial on November 18th edition bearing the headline, “Mountain mob don’t speak for rest of us.”Apparently the Burnaby Mountain protestors have an “almost unlimited capacity for hubris and hypocrisy,” the latter vice expressed in their consumption of fossil fuels: “pitching tents made from oil-based synthetic fabrics, arriving in vehicles powered by oil and using tools made from steel almost certainly forged with coal.”

Come now, faceless tabloid editor. You know as well as anyone else that the protestors’ main tool is collective action, forged in the fiery hell of Marxist-Leninist terror-tweeting.

In the palsied spirit of T. Herman Zweibel, the 146-year old Publisher Emeritus of The Onion, the anonymous scribe closes with “Police! Do your jobs!” This just after lecturing university teachers and students “that their high salaries and education can only be supplied by taxation on industry.”

Fine, let’s talk about that. The day after SunTV and The Province lost their shit, The Common Sense Canadian published an open letter to Prime Minister Christy Clark from Robyn Allan, NEB intervener and  former Senior Economist for B.C. Central Credit Union. The letter cites the results of Allan’s research “into Trans Mountain’s tax obligation and how that fundamentally impedes the Province’s ability to receive revenue.”

In promoting its Trans Mountain pipeline to US investors,  Kinder Morgan “boasts of cash tax refunds—two in the past five years,” writes Allan. “From 2009-2013 Trans Mountain’s combined federal and provincial Canadian corporate tax contribution averaged just $1.5 million per year.”

A puny $1.5 million per year. This suggests the joke is on you and me: the taxpaying rubes who fail to see our bottom line is a punchline to the traditional energy sector.

The Vancouver Courier, Nov. 28

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