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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

MUIR: To execute the key points of the Rockefeller document strategy, the group commenced a decade-long campaign to taint the world’s image of Canada, and turn Canadians against each other ... it was a brilliant success


RE-PRINTED with permission:

Canada’s debilitating inability to gain fair market value for its largest export commodity – crude oil – has become the top economic story of 2018. It will likely dominate headlines in 2019.

It’s so bad that heavyweight energy investors with large bets on Canada are now seeing fit to write courtly letters to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau explaining the nature of their business, since there seems to be no other way for him to know it. They’re probably wondering why they’re wasting time, with so many of their brethren having already hightailed it out of Canada.

Just a few years ago, oil executives encountered in Calgary seemed like a taut and eager breed of problem solvers — sharp-eyed and ready to spring on the next challenge. 

No longer.  So, “Why is the patient so ill?” 

The recent oil price crash threw an unexpected wrench into the works, yet broader economic conditions are favourable. Money is still fairly cheap. Success is not hampered by a shortage of labour or know how. New oil sands projects are coming online and the result is a record amount of our heavy oil being produced and ready for export.

All of this should add up to success, but that’s not what’s happening.  The simple fact that Canadian oil is being heavily discounted seems an insufficient explanation for the current funk. So, does the banal observation that a lack of pipelines is the problem. There is more to it.

The time we are living in right now, suddenly bears an uncanny resemblance to the future envisaged a decade ago in an environmentalist strategy document.  A document now infamous in the Canadian energy business: The Rockefeller Strategy, so named because of the foundation on whose letterhead it was circulated.

The basic strategy was to raise the negatives of the oil sands, raise costs, slow down and stop infrastructure, and enroll key decision-makers in opposition to Canada’s oil industry. Ten years later, all of those things have come to pass.


The Rockefeller group, based in the United States, laid down five specific tracks to solve what they saw as the Canadian problem:

  1. they would stop the expansion of pipelines and other infrastructure
  2. they would forcibly cause reforms to the governance of “water, toxics and land.”
  3. they would “significantly reduce future demand” for oil sands product
  4. Next, they would leverage the debate to policy victories in both the US and Canada
  5. Finally, they would persuade policymakers that oil wasn’t going to be needed in the future because we’d have electric cars.


To execute this strategy, Rockefeller commenced a decade-long campaign to taint the world’s image of Canada and turn Canadians against each other. It was a brilliant success.  Rockefeller’s funders must be pleased with the Trans Mountain expansion expansion in limbo, the two next best pipeline prospects barely registering a pulse, and Alberta lowering its oil production on January 1st.

Next, the Trudeau government is preparing to pass legislation to permanently bar oil exports from leaving ports on the northwest coast of British Columbia and break up our distinguished National Energy Board after it was persistently criticized by Rockefeller’s partners in its anti-oil sands campaign.

Our oil is called “ethical” for good reason. Yet, few of Canada’s high environmental and social standards that apply to domestic production are imposed on the inward flow of imported oil. It’s another of those dissonant facts we have become accustomed to. Discriminate against ourselves? Well, if we must. Against others, like Saudi oil — we wouldn’t dare.

Thankfully, the environmentalists’ goal of reducing future demand for western crude oil has been less of a success. Based on current projections from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, crude oil production will jump 1.4 million barrels per day by 2035 to 5.6 million.

One thing the Rockefeller group didn’t predict was the ingenuity of Canadian oil marketers as oil by rail, truck, and optimized existing pipelines has ensured that even if it’s going cheaply to market, that oil is still getting to customers. Still, without changes, the Rockefeller strategy may yet prevail.

As 2018 closes, there is a rising bitterness in the West. A highly beneficial, ever-improving industry tooled for greener stewardship was targeted for a take-down that worked. No particular environmental benefits have resulted. The only clear winner here is the US economy. Landlocked Canadian oil means cheap feed-stock for American refineries. We are, unwittingly, helping to Make America Great Again where annual economic growth is almost four per cent versus a paltry two per cent in Canada.

The Trump energy and economic expansion, love it or hate it, means that every environmental measure in Canada is of trivial global impact.

Congratulations, Canada, you’ve been thoroughly had by a US eco-campaign that hurt our economy but hasn’t slowed US oil interests one iota.



Stewart Muir of Resource Works

Stewart Muir is Executive Director of Resource Works, and a historian and award-winning journalist, with a passion for the natural legacies of British Columbia.

A graduate of Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia, he was a director of The Nature Trust of British Columbia from 2006 until 2014. During a fellowship at the renowned Centre for the Study of European Expansion at Leiden University in The Netherlands, he studied economic botany and the long-term consequences of deforestation and climate change.

Stewart Muir was a contributing author to The Sea Among Us: Life and History of The Strait of Georgia, an award-winning book edited by Richard Beamish and Sandy McFarlane. Published in November 2014, The Sea Among Us covers the natural and human history of a body of water that is of fundamental importance in every sense to all British Columbians. In April 2015, the title was awarded the BC Book Prize as "the most outstanding work that contributes to an understanding of British Columbia." 

As lead writer of a civic-provincial review of Vancouver's 2011 Stanley Cup riot, Muir helped to frame recommendations to prevent such incidents in future.

In his work as a public historian, Stewart has shed light on incidents of racism and censorship from British Columbia's past. 


The following comments are from Alan Yu, Founder and Chairman of Ft. St. John for LNG 
suggested by Stewart Muir, and used with permission --

Rendering of the LNG Canada site
When North East B.C. received good news in late 2018, it wasn’t just a positive turn of events for the region. The final investment decision to proceed with the LNG Canada project heralds a project of national and global significance. 
A flat year for LNG investment worldwide was lifted by the October announcement. 
As recognition travels far and wide of fully how trans-formational Canada’s largest ever private investment will be, nevertheless there are strong signs that the NDP - Green alliance in Victoria can barely contain its contempt for anything to do with natural gas and LNG.
At first blush, that will sound like a puzzling statement. Wasn’t it the NDP - Green alliance that went out of its way to create tax conditions favorable to the LNG Canada approval? That is most certainly true. 
However, what is easy to overlook is the same alliance’s decision in November to forbid any future LNG development. The government has pulled off this incredibly short-sighted feat by imposing emissions limits so strict that no LNG proposal could possibly meet them.
Within days of the government releasing its job-killing Clean BC plan, a prospective LNG project worth $25 billion was by shelved by Exxon / Imperial. WCC LNG had been in development for three years until Premier John Horgan’s plan delivered the death blow.
The climate plan now counts as the most damaging economic policy ever seen in British Columbia ... and it is only weeks old. 
Two major LNG projects have now been lost during John Horgan’s short time as Premier.
The greatest irony is that crushing LNG hopes will actually do great harm to the planet, a fact that the eco-fanatics running British Columbia are refusing to acknowledge.
LNG Canada alone will effectively remove more global emissions than all of British Columbia produces. Building three more LNG plants would mean BC would be doing more than any other jurisdiction in the world to reduce harmful climate emissions.
Sound like a good arrangement? Not to Premier Horgan. In a December 20 interview with the Tyee online publication, he stated: “We are now government and we have decided that one plant, LNG Canada, can fit in and we’ve built our plan around that.” 
Even though practically everyone else in the world recognizes that emissions are a global, not just a local, issue, anything to do with fossil fuels is bad, bad, bad to the hardcore zealots now ruling BC’s future prosperity - or should we say poverty.
Any other LNG projects will have to be zero emissions, a standard that would be extremely challenging if not impossible to meet with current technology.
With at least three other project proposals in the works for west coast BC exports, it can only be imagined the dismay that the job-killing Horgan government has unleashed.
For those who understand both the economy and the environment, there is only one realistic hope for 2019: that the Horgan government do the right thing and test its reckless LNG policy with the electorate by calling an early election. 
The same voters who rejected Horgan’s crooked Pro-Rep referendum are highly likely to react the same way to his anti-climate climate plan: by saying no. 
For a fleeting moment, 2018 looked like it would be one to remember. The NDP - Green coalition waited until the last minute to jam a shovelful of coal into B.C. residents’ Christmas stockings. This treacherous act must not be forgotten in 2019.

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