How do we push back on all the misinformation about Keystone XL – whether disinformation from U.S. foundations, naive Hollywood celebrities or even misinformed local activists? One way is to plan a few simple, key messages for your own personal use in conversation. Here are three important points to consider, in no particular order:
- The science
There’s strong science behind Canadian oil and pipeline safety. The Royal Society of Canada some years ago released a 414-page report, Environmental and Health Impacts of Canada’s Oil Sands Industry, in which scientists, academics, operators, government officials and environmentalists knocked down the worst of the anti-oilsands hype.
And during the Obama administration, the president’s own State Department, in a 2,000-page report, annihilated the argument for blocking Keystone XL, and discredited the claim it would have any significant impact on climate change. According to the Democratic-leaning Washington Post of the day, anti-Keystone activists should just hang up their misguided #NoKXL campaign.
“The activists ought to pick more important fights. Until they do, the president should ignore their pressure.”
- Indigenous support
Yes, there are First Nations who are unsupportive of the energy industry, including oil extraction and transmission. However, strong First Nations support also exists.
In Canada, more than 25 per cent of all First Nations produce oil and gas now, or want to in the future. As for the oilsands, more than 300 indigenous-owned companies are active there, and have carried out more than $10 billion in business over the last 15 years. For many indigenous communities, that spells real progress.
- Social and environmental justice
When the anti-Keystone XL campaign machine cranks up again, you’ll hear opponents say you should work to stop Keystone XL at the source – “in Canada, where the oil industry is ruining the Earth.” The truth is far from it. If the issue is truly environmental protection, worker rights and energy security, isn’t Canada the best international choice by far?
We’re the third largest oil reserve country in the world, and within that list we dominate in virtually every progressive category. We’re ranked at the top for freedom, democracy, equality, social progress, freedom of belief, freedom of the Internet, freedom of the press, top places to live, human development, best places to raise a family, transparency and environmental performance.
Energy from Canada? Absolutely!
Cody Battershill is a Calgary Realtor and founder/spokesperson for CanadaAction.ca, a volunteer-led organization that supports Canadian resource development and the environmental, social and economic benefits that come with it.