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How the ENGO’s Destroyed Canadian Oil and Gas




David Suzuki

Tides Canada

Dear ENGO’s,

I’d like to congratulate you on the success of your “environmental” campaigns. Excuse me, I should say “sustainability” campaigns. That seems to be the new word you’re using. You’ve been very successful at destroying the reputation of Canada’s oil and gas sector, hurting thousands of people in the process.

Let me share my personal story about the impact of your actions. My company recently filed for CCAA – Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. CCAA gives Canadian companies dealing with financial difficulties an opportunity to restructure to avoid bankruptcy, the ultimate nail in the coffin. Regardless, for me as an employee, CCAA feels like a slow death sentence. It’s a stage four cancer diagnosis. I know the life of the company will never be the same, but I don’t know what the outcome will be. It may all end one day or they may find a cure within its lifetime.

So how will CCAA affect me, an employee? Well, I don’t know. None of us do. The only thing I know for certain is that it means uncertainty and disruption. It means that there are a number of people feeling very insecure about their financial future and how they’re going to take care of their families. My company isn’t a little mom-and-pop shop. We were not too big or too small to fail in this horrendously bad economic environment.

If you’re part of the ENGO’s or Extinction Rebellion or some other group that makes its living off of scaring people into believing the world is ending, then you may be laughing manically at our troubles. I would expect that of you. You don’t actually care about most people. You just pretend that you do. I know you see us oil and gas workers as “collateral damage” in your quest for a new social structure. There has to be an enemy, and we are that enemy.

Then there was the collapse of Houston Oil and Gas Ltd., licencee of over 1,400 wells that could end up the responsibility of the Orphan Well Association (OWA). The OWA now has more than 3,400 wells it has to abandon as of Nov. 1, 2019 due to insolvencies among Alberta-based oil and gas companies.

These were companies that would have taken care of their responsibilities if they had the financial resources to do so. Instead of companies having the money to properly operate, abandon or reclaim wells, pipelines, and facilities, these assets are now being dumped into the OWA to deal with. That’s a doltish consequence of the manipulative, misleading, demarketing campaign by your organizations. So much for “environmentalism”. You could care less about the environment. Anyone that has checked knows most of you don’t do your part to take care of it, flying all over the world to talk about the “climate emergency”. Can’t you use FaceTime?

Oil and gas companies are huge investors in renewables and clean tech. We have to be, particularly in remote locations where our infrastructure isn’t connected to the grid. But you don’t acknowledge this because your movement isn’t about protecting the environment. Your goal is to destroy us and what we represent. We’ve become a symbol.

Picture taken at one of my company’s sites -- a 3-light oil/natural gas well battery site. The site is zero bleed, meaning all controls, valves and pumps run off of solar and/or safecell electricity generation, eliminating venting or combustion-style electricity generation. We have several sites set up like this.

The immoral actions of your organizations are tearing communities and families apart in my province of Alberta. Crime is rampant; suicide rates are rising to alarming levels; domestic abuse is increasing; drug use is at epidemic levels. We have a responsibility to take care of the planet, but we also have a responsibility to take care of each other. Real humanitarian efforts don’t come with multimillion dollar paycheques. You’re profiting off the demise of the Canadian oil and gas industry and the workers, while demand for the product grows worldwide.

You’ve succeeded in destroying oil and gas companies and, subsequently, workers’ livelihoods, which has resulted in a devastating decrease in charitable giving at a time when more people are using these services than ever before. The energy sector gives in a big way. For example, the Suncor Energy Foundation, the charitable arm of Suncor Energy, has given more than $176 million since it formed in 1998. Canadian Natural Resources Limited gave $15.3 million in 2018 to communities. These are two of the big companies that we hear about, but every oil and gas company contributes to charities, as do individual workers. How much have each of your organizations contributed to real, local charities that have made a difference to the residents by creating community spirit and pride?

You’re trying to divide us. Indigenous activists are going after the Indigenous groups that want to buy the Transmountain pipeline for the benefit of Indigenous people dealing with poverty. Oil and gas companies that operate on First Nations and Metis land make huge contributions through royalties and other community investments. Destroying these companies destroys community prosperity. I thought you care about Aboriginal peoples?

If you are successful at destroying only the Canadian oil and gas sector (as the rest of the world grows supply exponentially), what industry will you go after next? Agriculture? You’ve already said consuming meat and dairy is a sin. Aviation? Bye bye, Bombardier and Air Canada. Not sure how you will be able to spread word about the “climate emergency” without this industry. Automotive? You’re already putting notes on windshields in Edmonton to shame drivers into giving up their vehicles. Forestry? Farmed salmon? Been there, done that.

Can I ask what is so terrible about our world right now that you are willing to destroy everything so you can build it back up into an unattainable utopia? Why can’t you just be grateful for what you have? Energy has brought prosperity to our world that wasn’t imaginable only a couple of generations ago.

I hope you don’t get your way. I hope Canadians wake up and stand up to people and organizations with sinister, hidden agendas before you have a chance to destroy everything.


Deidra Garyk

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