You have to wonder how oil executives sleep at night. Two recent media stories clearly show that Big Oil is willing to sacrifice the health of Canadians, the lives of the global poor, and the future of their children and the planet, as long as they can sell more oil.

Industrial pipe discharging tailings waste


The most recent story is the revelation that an oil company lobby group undertook a stealth campaign to weaken fuel efficiency standards for vehicles sold in the U.S. Research has shown that improving the efficiency of vehicles is a win-win-win-win. When cars burn less gas, our air is cleaner, our children and families are healthier, motorists have more money in their pockets, and that extra money is spent in the local economy.

But that’s not good enough for greedy oil executives. Why? Well, more efficient vehicles mean lower profits for their companies.

And of course, this kind of campaign has to be secret. After all, oil executives know that it’s not a good look to screw over citizens and the planet to improve their bottom line. It’s the kind of cartoonish evil that has invited ridicule in the past.

Another story that would be hilarious if it wasn’t infuriating is Canada’s oil industry’s demands to the next Alberta government. Some of them are boilerplate corporate wishes: more subsidies, lower taxes, fewer regulations. Sure, it was coming from Canadian oil companies that made $46 billion in gross profits in 2017, but no one is surprised by corporate greed.

It was the rest of the oil lobby’s demands that made me wonder if this was satire. Oil and gas companies want six more oil pipelines and four major liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals.

Was I reading that correctly? Was that really oil executives’ wish list, or did they get punked? And yet, there they were, five guys in expensive suits presenting a plan that would screw over the world and a significant portion of its species. Call it the Top 10 ways they’re going to fry the planet…couched of course in an argument about jobs (despite oil companies doing everything they can to eliminate the workforce.)


Heads of five oil industry associations: Chris Bloomer, Tristan Goodman, Tim McMillan, Gary Mar, and Mark Scholz. Photo credit:


Because let’s be clear—every Canadian will be worse off in a world that builds massive sources of pollution as envisioned by this energy plan. Well, except maybe for oil executives living in gated communities so they can ignore the suffering they’re imposing on ordinary citizens.

The Wilderness Committee represented best the insanity of the oil lobby’s plans:


Hyperbole, for sure. But how else can we match the unintended satire coming from oil executives?

Let’s not be fooled into thinking this is just American companies following President Trump’s lead. Canada’s largest oil producer and oil sands company, Suncor, is involved in both agendas as a corporate member of these oil associations.

These campaigns, both secret and public, put the lie to Suncor and the entire oil sands industry’s attempts to rehabilitate their environmental image. Given that Suncor and other oil companies have not unequivocally distanced themselves from these dangerous positions, the only conclusion that Canadians should come to is that oil companies on both sides of the border are willing to sacrifice a safe future in the interest of increasing their billion dollar profits.

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