I’ve had enough of the recent advertising campaign launched by both Enbridge and Shell Canada, a major company involved in the development of the Alberta tar sands. Ads aimed to convince us that the pipeline and the tar sands are not just safe, but environmentally benign, economically beneficial and will provide a product – high-cost unconventional oil – the world will need far into the future. Unless we can’t breathe the air, drink the water or see each other through the smog in the years to come.  

These advertisements are particularly annoying as they are clearly aimed at Canadians who have not thought of these projects or have no particular interest. That in itself is a worrying idea. If I were a conspiracy advocate I would point out that these ultra-friendly, information free ads are flying under the ongoing controversy of the steroid-injected budget bill the Conservatives are pushing down Parliament’s throat. Anti-democratic actions and propaganda over an issue that is gathering negative momentum. When has that ever happen? Draw your own conclusions.

OK, maybe conspiracy fits. Certainly, the timing of these ads and the multi-headed bill raises many questions.

What irks me most is these ads might just as well be convincing us to visit Disneyland or the local waterpark. Soft-edged, pastel images of a pipeline fitting sumptuously into the environment. Two older fellas, who look like they would be dream grandfathers, extolling the needs and virtues of the tar sands and actually signing their names on a piece paper. So comforting.

Disneyland is more realistic and safe.

All very believable. In fact, they’re nauseating but they are feckless and fact free. Beautiful images – how you can state that the tar sands are environmental safe when there are huge open mining pits, mammoth machinery and horribly large ponds of the waste chemical slurry. But they seem to be in a glorious field.

It all seems very convenient and unctuously well timed. However and sadly, I put nothing past the Conservatives who treat Parliament and Canadians as bothersome nuisances that stand in the way of what they deem to be progress. As nuisances we need to be noisy and loud. We need to learn from the ongoing protests that are occurring in Quebec. Bang our pots and pans on Parliament, in front of the offices of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Shell and Enbridge and the many oil industry partners.

March, peacefully, on the streets of any city in which you live.

We need to take back control of the national agenda. And as much as occupy may have been a rally cry, it’s time that Canadians learn the issues and do something about these dangerous projects and injustices propagated by this government.

Otherwise, we’ll soon be crying real tears as our country falls to pieces, while Harper calls complete environmental failure and disaster a bold step into the future.

It’s time to turn desperation into action.


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