Interests without borders

The Chronicle Journal
Date published: 
Wed, 2012-01-25

The Harper government says it doesn’t want foreign influence on opposition to a proposed oil pipeline from Alberta to the B.C. coast. The PM and his Environment Minister, Joe Oliver, say American radicals are funneling money into Canadian environmental branches to unfairly challenge the project at National Energy Board hearings that began Tuesday.

Canada pursues trade agreements with countries the world over, allowing foreign interests a say in how we do business. Northern Ontarians are familiar with the success of the American lumber lobby in thwarting forest product sales from this region.

Canada allows foreign interests to take over Canadian companies. In the case of Electro-Motive, after loaning millions to facilitate the takeover, Canada sits mute while U.S. owner Caterpillar locks out workers in London, Ont., while apparently preparing to move the operation to a U.S. plant.

Canada embraces the globalization of business such that myriad foreign interests are guaranteed direct input to policies and procedures affecting the Canadian people.

Does the federal government believe that foreign oil interests will have no input into the Northern Gateway oil sands pipeline hearings?

Canadian and U.S. governments work every day to open the border to trade such that North America is increasingly a single economy. As the line between corporate interests blurs, many environmental and other lobby groups must also share resources to be able to monitor and participate in oversight of those massive continental concerns.

Greenpeace began in Vancouver, is now headquartered in Europe and has chapters in 40 countries, including Canada. Active since 1963, Sierra Club Canada is an independent corporation with its own national structure separate from the U.S. organization. World Wildlife Fund Canada is a separate entity. All will join other Canadian witnesses at the hearings. If U.S. funds help Canadian environmentalists fully understand this pipeline’s implications, so be it.

Enbridge, the company that wants to build the pipeline, is headquartered in Alberta but has offices and miles of pipeline in the United States. Among its oil spills, most have been in the U.S., including two in 2007, spilling a total of 176,000 gallons from a single pipeline running from Superior to Whitewater, Wis.

Energy interests know no border and that includes environmental energy interests.


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