Canadian Government Attempted "Myth Busting" Tar Sands' Image in Europe

Peter Blanchard/CC BY 2.0

It's not quite a revelation on the scale of what some of the Wikileaks documents have unearthed on the one-in-the-same relationship of government to industry in many nations, but Canada.com has a telling summary of the lengths the Canadian government is willing to go to in order to promote tar sands in Europe—in particular in attempting to head off any effort to brand the dirtier-than-usual fuel made from tar sands as anything other than ordinary gasoline.

Some of the top-line efforts included:

  • Spending about $2000 on brochures support tar sands industry efforts to combat European Parliament efforts to limit importation of tar sands on environmental grounds.
  • Staging a two-day retreat in February 2011, with a $54,000 price tag, discussing how best to advocate for tar sands.
  • Targeting European journalists, to engage in "myth busting on the oilsands."

I suppose the utterly ridiculous Ethical Oil campaign falls under the banner of "myth busting" as well.

All of it is quite in line with the ultra-close collaboration between Canadian government and the oil companies hoping to make large profits off tar sands—as well as the internal duplicity of the situation, which the original article points out:

The Canadian government has recognized that the oilsands are Canada's fastest-growing source of greenhouse-gas emissions, estimating that the sector now has a greater annual impact on the climate than all cars on Canadian roads, and almost as much of an annual impact as all of the light-duty trucks in the country. Senior officials at the Privy Council Office, the central department in the public service, has also warned that local environmental impacts of oilsands development could be causing permanent damage to the Alberta landscape that is posing a financial risk to the province.

While I still wouldn't support the tar sands industry, if Canada and the industry stopped trying so transparently and shamelessly shape the conversation with "myth busting" illusionist distractions, and just admitted something along the lines of 'we want to make billions of dollars off this and everything else be damned', at least I could respect the honesty.

Tags: European Union | Tar Sands