West Central Saskatchewan Ag and Oil Resources Forum
February 6, 2019 – 1:00 – 3:00 pm – West Central Events Center
Around 700 people, braving the coldest day of the year and in the middle of a work day, showed up to a presentation on the oil sector of Canada, with a few limited comments on the agricultural sector.
The organizing committee of Darla Dorsett, Gary Becker and Candy Gordon were present, overseeing a well produced educational event with strong overtones of activism.
The audience was greeted with presentations from political representatives from the federal government (Dave Anderson, MP), provincial government (Ken Francis, MLA), and local government (Rod Perkins, Mayor of Kinderlsey). Other speakers included James Robson (Canada Action), Vivian Krause (Vancouver researcher and writer) and Rick Peterson (founder of Suits and Boots).
Although one question was attempted from the floor of the arena, the organizers had arranged for no audience questioning to take place during the plenary session. There was some audience participation, as enthusiastic clapping erupted during times when the speakers made agreed upon proclamations.
Dave Anderson, opposition critic for the Conservative party in Ottawa and a farmer from Frontier, Saskatchewan, encouraged those gathered to work for democracy today – speak up and organize. He emphasized that the current federal liberal government won’t listen. The carbon tax is a tax plan, and bill C-69 will make the regulatory process more political and unpredictable. Anderson stressed the need for pipelines, and was disparaging of the anti-energy activists. The solution: Stop bill C-69, develop pipelines and elect a new government.
Ken Francis, local MLA began by reminding the crowd that today, in the midst of extreme cold weather warnings, needs the resources of the oil and gas sector. The carbon tax, disguised as a way to save the planet, merely adds taxes to those already in place. He emphasized that the provincial government hears. They continue to advocate, reminding whoever will listen, that Canadian energy is more ethical and sustainable that any other on the globe.
Rod Perkins, Kindersley Mayor, was fresh back from a SUMA convention, and reiterated the stand that the provincial government is taking. He reminded those present that this is a community that can make things happen.
The other speakers pointed out what needs to happen.
Jason Robson of Canada Action pointed out the need for an informed conversation on Canada’s resource sectors. As with other speakers, he predicted that the passage of Bill C-69 would be the termination of future energy projects in Canada. A point was made that we are importing oil from outside Canada, and that our oil is being landlocked from distribution around the world.
Vivian Krause, pointing to research she has completed, drilled into the conspiracies that have been working to disrupt the oil sector. She began to see a pattern of “demarketing” (pushing products our of the market) when she was working with salmon fishing. The funders direct intermediaries to distribute wealth to those who follow their mandates. Her greatest emphasis was on the Rockefeller Foundation. Here a concerted effort was put forward in what was called a “tar sands campaign”. The idea was to stop the development of the tar sands and the subsequent distribution of oil and gas through pipelines. Two particular intermediaries that were highlighted were the Tides Foundation and the New Venture Fund. These charities were labelled as users of the tax system, being political rather than charitable – she called on the elections act to be changed. A mention was made of LeadNow, which has stated that they were able to influence elections – with the implication that one of theirs campaigns has impacted the oil sector. In closing her talk, Krause described the current opposition as a monopoly – to break this monopoly will not be a cakewalk.
Finally Rick Peterson, of Kill Bill C-69 spoke. His talk was brief but pointed. He called Bill C-69 the son of the NEB (National Energy Board). He asked if any in the audience were around when the NEB was formed. The raised hands and the continued discussion around Bill C-69 would indicate that there is still a bitter taste decades later. Peterson felt that killing Bill C-69 was a fight against poor regulation. He called on the audience to help stop this bill in the Senate. Call Senators, particularly those who are directing who will be able to be heard in committee regarding the bill. He suggested that those calling should ask that the Senate committee visit Kindersley. A time frame of 90 days was put forward – the time the Senate will be looking at this issue. Peterson’s talk finished with a two minute video featuring a new country song called “Kill Bill C-69”.
As part of the activism of the forum, attendees were asked to sign a petition urging senators to vote against Bill C-69, the Impact Assessment Act. The petition mentions that “the bill is poorly written, non-transparent, and opens up too many avenues for litigation that would tie projects up in court for years after an already lengthy review process. . . We all agree Canada’s resource project approvals process can and should be modernized, and that projects should be held to tough environmental standards. Bill C-69 is not that.”
The attendees filed from the auditorium peacefully, with new or revitalized information and steps towards further activism.
Feature Image: File Image
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