Category: News & Media

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Feds met privately with oil execs to discuss ‘communications effort’

By Geoff Dembicki | July 23, 2012

Top federal government policymakers met with several oil industry executives during the summer of 2009 to discuss an oil sands “communications effort”, according to internal documents.

The meeting took place in the downtown Calgary headquarters of Nexen, a leading oil sands producer (which may soon be acquired by a Chinese state-owned company).

“While we understand Government and industry will not always have identical messages,” read briefing notes prepared for then deputy natural resources minister Cassie Doyle, “it is important to ensure that our facts are consistent.”

Doyle appears to have been joined in the “Meeting with Oil Company Executives” by Kevin Lynch, then-Clerk of the Privy Council Office, one of the Prime Minister’s most important advisors.

The list of confirmed and potential industry attendees reads like a who’s who of western Canada’s oil-patch, including executives from Nexen, Suncor, Shell, ConocoPhillips, Syncrude and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP).

The meeting’s itinerary and a list of “Points to Register” by deputy minister Doyle were obtained by Greenpeace through an access to information request.

The day before the meeting, CAPP President Dave Collyer wrote to Doyle about her trip to Calgary, explaining that “it would be desireble [sic] to have all of the companies involved in the [oil sands] communications effort represented at this meeting.”

The would “ensure a consistent and aligned approach,” wrote Collyer. That “approach” apparently referred to a government and industry-led campaign that would counter negative public perceptions about Alberta’s so-called “dirty oil.”

“Canada is developing a full-blown case of the ‘resource curse,'” said Greenpeace Canada climate and energy coordinator Keith Stewart in a statement, “where governments put what is good for oil companies ahead of what is good for the nation.”

The internal documents, along with a report summarizing them, were released by the advocacy group as Canada’s premiers meet in Halifax for the annual Council of the Federation talks.

The Tyee has sent a media request to Natural Resources Canada, asking what was discussed at the 2009 meeting, and what the federal government hoped to achieve by developing a “communications effort” with Canada’s oil industry leaders.

Geoff Dembicki reports on energy and climate change issues for The Tyee.

‘Culture of Deviance’ at Enbridge, Finds US Transport Safety Board

‘Corrosion’ of safety culture ‘throughout the Enbridge organization’ led to Kalamazoo disaster.

By Andrew Nikiforuk,

US National Transportation Safety Board today found Calgary-based Enbridge ‘took advantage of weak regulations’ leading to worst ever US pipeline spill.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has concluded that Calgary-based Enbridge “took advantage of weak regulations,” tolerated a “culture of deviance” on safety and failed to detect and properly respond to the largest and costliest oil pipeline spill in U.S. history.

NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman also noted that Enbridge’s poor handling of the rupture reminded her of the Keystone Cops and that the company’s pipeline safety management lacked integrity.

Another NTSB board member Robert Sumalt said that the accident demonstrated a “corrosion” of the safety culture “throughout the Enbridge organization.”

Added Sumalt: “If you are not learning from previous events, you don’t have a safety culture.”

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Victoria’s Pride Parade 2012!


WHAT AN AMAZING DAY!!! It was a fantastic day of record breaking at Pride 2012! Largest parade yet, largest festival to date, the most volunteers filling the highest number of volunteer hours yet! THANK YOU to everyone that volunteered, that participated as a vendor, that gave of their talents to provide entertainment, and to everyone that came to celebrate and support our community. We had the best Pride yet, and we can’t say thank you enough to express our gratitude. Check our site for photos, and to get information on Pride 2013!


Enbridge throws its advertising weight around.

Dan Murphy, a Canadian newspaper cartoonist has accused the paper’s parent company, Postmedia News of censorship after his animation was removed from the paper’s website.

Murphy, who works for The Vancouver Province says that the paper removed a satirical cartoon it was threatened by oil and gas giant Enbridge.

The original Enbridge advertisement was designed to promote its controversial pipeline project across the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. Murphy’s satirical cartoon mocked Enbridge, splattering oil across their proposed “path to prosperity”.

Murphy told CBC News that he was called into the office of The Province’s Editor-in-Chief, Wayne Moriarty, who told him that the chief revenue and digital officer at Postmedia was upset about the spoof, that Enbridge would pull $1m worth of advertising out of Postmedia and that Moriarty would be fired if the video was not removed.

Moriarty has since claimed that the video was removed for copyright reasons.

Todd Nogier, Senior Communications Strategist at Enbridge said in a statement, “Enbridge Inc. did not request the Province or Post Media pull the video […] Enbridge has not discontinued this campaign, nor its investments as part of that campaign, nor did Enbridge threaten to discontinue those investments.”

However, in a subsequent phone conversation, an Enbridge spokesperson said, the company “had a conversation with Postmedia and they apologised for the parody [… ] any further conversation would be inappropriate”.

Murphy said speaking out has been the toughest decision he’s faced in his 25-year career at the paper.

“I could lose my job over this. The company could interpret this as being disloyal. I would argue that it is the opposite.”

STUDY:Mainstream Media Avoid Climate Context In Wildfire Coverage

While numerous factors determine the frequency, severity and cost of wildfires, scientific research indicates that human-induced climate change increases fire risks in parts of the Western U.S. by promoting warmer and drier conditions. Seven of nine fire experts contacted by Media Matters agreed journalists should explain the relationship between climate change and wildfires. But an analysis of recent coverage suggests mainstream media outlets are not up to the task — only 3 percent of news reports on wildfires in the West mentioned climate change.

News Outlets Avoid Topic Of Climate Change In Wildfire Stories


Only 3 Percent Of Wildfire Coverage Mentioned Long-Term Climate Change Or Global Warming. The major television and print outlets largely ignored climate change in their coverage of wildfires in Colorado, New Mexico and other Western states. All together, only 3 percent of the reports mentioned climate change, including 1.6 percent of television segments and 6 percent of text articles.

Media Matters

METHODOLOGY: We searched Nexis and Factiva databases for articles and segments on (wildfire or wild fire or forest fire) between April 1, 2012, and June 30, 2012. News outlets included in this study are ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, The New York TimesThe Washington Post, The Associated Press, The Los Angeles Times,, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal. MSNBC and Fox News were not included in this analysis because transcripts of their daytime coverage are not available in the Nexis database.

Media Matters

Evidence Suggests Climate Change Worsens Fire Risk In Parts Of Western U.S.

Climate Central: “Wildfires Require Several Factors To Come Together.” A Climate Central article about the 2011 fire season noted that “major wildfires require several factors to come together,” and that wildfires are strongly influenced by regional climate conditions, which in turn are influenced by global warming driven by greenhouse gas emissions:

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The Robocall Scandal’s Vancouver Link

As Elections Canada investigation continues, complaints of calls in two ridings unfold.

Robocall protest shot

By Tom Sandborn, Yesterday,

Vancouver rally against dubious robocalls on March 3. Photo bychrisyakimov via Your BC: The Tyee’s Photo Pool.

The robocall scandal that recently rocked Canadian politics may have Vancouver connections. At least one voter, Andrew Schofield in Vancouver South, says he received a taped call shortly before the election that falsely claimed his polling station had been moved, The Tyee has learned.

“At first I didn’t pay much attention to the call,” Schofield said. “It was a taped voice announcing itself as coming from Elections Canada and saying my polling station had been moved. Since we always get calls like this twice, once for me and once for Suzanne, I expected another call for her and that she would keep better track of it than I would.”

(“Suzanne” is Schofield’s spouse, Dr. Suzanne Smythe. Full disclosure: This reporter has known Smythe and Schofield for several decades.)

“But after the election, when I heard news coverage of the robocalls events across Canada, I realized that the examples played on the radio sounded just like my call, which I knew by then had not been accurate. So we decided to report what looked like an attempt to keep us from voting.”

Vancouver Quadra MP Joyce Murray also claims that during the election her campaign staff received calls from voters complaining about late night and rude callers who identified themselves as working for the Liberals.

Elections Canada continues to investigate more than 1,100 complaints about voter suppression calls during the last election, all of which are being “looked at,” spokesperson John Enright told The Tyee.

‘No complaints’ against contractor: Young

After Smythe filed a report about the call online, she received an email apparently from the winner of the Vancouver South election, Conservative Wai Young, reading in part:

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Folk the Banks! Occupy benefit album now out – Pay what you can afford downloads!

An experiment has begun! ‘Pay what you can afford’ for the Folk the Banks album out now featuring Occupy supporting artists including Tom Morello, Ani DiFranco, Billy Bragg, Martha Wainwright, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, Chumbawumba, Ryan Harvey, Peggy Seeger, with iconic artwork by Jamie Reid – famed for the Sex Pistols’ ‘God Save the Queen album artwork. [1]
With all profits going to Occupy and related movements globally, which Occupation Records was set up to benefit, ‘Pay what you can afford’ digital downloads are now available from the Occupation Records website ( plus CDs, vinyls, limited prints of the Jamie Reid artwork and ethical fair wear Folk the Banks T-shirts by THTC. [1] [2] As a special thank you, those donating over £5 for digital downloads will be entered into a draw for an Occupation Records bundle!

Tom Morello said: “The wealthiest CEO’s reward themselves with million dollar bonuses while millions are out of work. What can we do about it? We can protest against it, fight back against it, and sing songs that do both.”

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The Right’s long history of using violent agents provocateurs to weaken the Left

Submitted to us by the author David Stuart | 12.06.2012 | Analysis | History | Repression | World

Right wing intelligence agencies and police forces have been using violent agents provocateurs to reduce public support for the Left in many countries from the 19th Century to today, as I explain in this detailed article. Violent provocateurs are currently being used, or are allegedly being used in at least 3 countries (the US, UK, and Canada) to reduce public support for the Occupy movement.

The December 15, 2010 “Guardian” article, “Italian opposition asks: Who led Rome riots?”, which was about the fact that “left wing” agents provocateurs were rioting outside the Italian Parliament that month, proves that an old right wing dirty trick, staging “left wing” violence to weaken public support for the Left, is alive and well, so I will discuss numerous examples of the Right using violent agents provocateurs against supporters of various left wing ideologies in many countries, to try to ensure that people are better able to spot such tactics being used in the future.

The Italian Right has a particularly notorious reputation for using that dirty trick, which is why in a July 29, 2001 “Observer” article about the G8 summit in Genoa that year, “‘You could sense the venom and hatred'”, you could read that, “Reports circulated of agents provocateurs who had started the violence, of [anarchist] Black Block activists being dropped off by police vehicles, of right-wingers from Italy and abroad infiltrating their ranks.”

Six days earlier, in “The Guardian” article “Men in black behind chaos”, it was revealed that:

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Leaked Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – A 1%’s wetdream

See the parallel legal structure being devised in extreme secrecy for foreign investing corporations to circumvent(or demand unlimited compensation) on any environmental, labour or regulatory laws now and in the future of any member country.

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