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That the Harper government is savvy enough to pursue a second pipeline option is testament to its wisdom, but the fact that it also called out (finally!) the environmental movement for its unrestrained, unscientific extremism speaks volumes about its courage. In an open letter published at the Financial Times, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver put environmental groups on notice last week, letting them know that their tawdry little games would no longer be tolerated in Canada. He called them out in no uncertain terms:
These groups threaten to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda. They seek to exploit any loophole they can find, stacking public hearings with bodies to ensure that delays kill good projects. They use funding from foreign special-interest groups to undermine Canada’s national economic interest. They attract jet-setting celebrities with some of the largest personal carbon footprints in the world to lecture Canadians not to develop our natural resources. Finally, if all other avenues have failed, they will take a quintessential American approach: Sue everyone and anyone to delay the project even further. They do this because they know it can work. It works because it helps them to achieve their ultimate objective: delay a project to the point it becomes economically unviable.
How refreshing it is to hear a leader of a representative form of government speak in such a clear, uncompromising manner. Oliver’s words are a reminder why plain-spoken leaders like Reagan and Christie are so well-received: they are remarkable because they are so rare. And surely Oliver is correct on all counts. For what are massive, well-heeled environmental groups like the Sierra Club and NRDC if not special interests? What are rich, finger-wagging Hollywood celebrities like Streisand, Cameron and DiCaprio if not hypocrites? What is the reason behind the numerous, pointless lawsuits that greenies file if not to obstruct and demoralize those who seek to create wealth?
A little more than a month from now, President Obama will be forced to do something he hates to do: make an actual decision, all the more so because if he approves Keystone XL he will upset his green base, while if he kills it he will annoy his union base. History suggests he’ll look for a new way to waffle – perhaps by killing the project for now, while promising to revisit it in 2013 – but no matter what happens it’s clear that Canada is determined to find a way to sell its riches to someone. It ought to be us, yet perhaps this too is just another sign of the way power is shifting in the world today. For not only are China and India showing more leadership than Obama’s America, it seems that even Canada is too.
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