Common Sense Canadian

Province newspaper pulled cartoon under pressure from Enbridge

PostedJune 26, 2012 by in Canada

Pasted hereon is one of the funniest clips I have ever seen. It’s a spoof of an Enbridge pipeline video ad by Vancouver Province cartoonist, Dan Murphy. It’s brilliant and was on The Province’s website last Friday. It was pulled a few hours later after an enraged call to The Province by Enbridge.

I go back a long way with Dan, he and I both having drawn and written respectively for the late and much lamented Equity Magazine.

I have, over the Campbell/Clark years, complained that Vaughn Palmer of The Vancouver Sun and Mike Smyth of The Province were self-censoring with respect to the Liberal government. I could not believe that these two fine writers had not noticed the Liberal governments consistent egregiously bad behaviour on environmental issues like fish farms, rapacious private rivers, BC Hydro and, yes, the proposed Enbridge pipeline. I have always made it clear, as I do now, that if I were supporting a family I too would take care not to submit columns that displeased my boss.

A year or so ago, Wayne Moriarty, Editor-in-Chief of The Province, phoned me and complained about remarks as I described above and seemed to alternate between anger and tears. His parting question, where I thought I detected tears, he asked “do you really think I order my columnists what not to write, Rafe?” to which I replied, “Wayne, you don’t have to – that’s the point.”

Watch the above marvellous spoof – several times because it’s that funny – and remember that when The Province got its marching orders from Enbridge, The Province immediately pulled it!

Then ask yourself, doesn’t this demonstrate, beyond any doubt, why the Postmedia papers, especially The Sun and Province, have flooded their op-ed pages with industry propaganda and have avoided like the plague anything critical of this government in the environmental field? (One also must ask whether the full-page ads Enbridge has been running in the paper of late influenced the pulling of Murphy’s cartoon).

Does it not tell you that the only logical conclusion one can come to is that Postmedia papers, in Vancouver at any rate, do indeed censor and that in all probability their columnists self-censor?

This is, I admit, a delicious moment for me for all I have been saying, no doubt ad nauseum to many, about censorship in the media, has been amply demonstrated.

To continue the Latin, you may remember in high school math, after demonstrating the truth of a theorem, you would write QED.

For proving my theorem I feel I also have the right to say Quod Erat Demonstrandum.

“Thus has it been demonstrated.”


About the Author

Rafe Mair

Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, was Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. In 1981 he left politics for Talk Radio becoming recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists. An avid fly fisherman, he took a special interest in Atlantic salmon farms and private power projects as environmental calamities and became a powerful voice in opposition to them. Rafe is the co-founder of The Common Sense Canadian and writes a regular blog at



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    Ian Fromme-Nelson

    Hey Foghorn,

    instead of worrying about Rafe’s comma, why don’t you LIbERals try waking up from your collective coma?

    Benny Best

    Miro Jackanin said it partially right, except for the punctuation:

    Insulting, shortsighted and plain arrogant and stupid,
    Mr. Harper . . .

    The truth will set you free

    It is not only the Sun or Province, look at
    the Abbottsford News printing only what
    the city wants citziens to hear, no different.

    it;s the all is well mentality of those, who are
    under pressure from Big money to do as I
    say or your advertisng mooney will be gone.

    Is it really the fault of the media or the fault
    of the greedy people, who have a “my way,
    the highway’ mentality and desperate for
    power to achieve their agendas.

    Sad world, we live in.


    All hail the Petro Nation ♪♫
    Well, Ethical Oil is like free-range Molasses ♪♫

    Ethical Oil: the Puppet Rap
    2:50 min. long



    the video has probably got more distribution because of the Province buckling to corporate pressure than if it had just been let alone, would have been old news by now. By insisting on its removal, Enbridge has insured it will be seen by many thousands more than would have seen it originally, perhaps it will reach million views. And management at the Province have proved themselves to be cowards firmly in the pocket of big oil, meaning nothing they report in that regard in the future will be trusted.

    Jason L

    Rafe has never pulled punches when it comes to issues he feels strong about. I stopped listening to CKNW when he was let go. We all know the real reason was because he didn’t tow the Liberal line on fish farms. Keep up the good work Mr. Mair.

    joan clarke

    We never learn not to monkey with nature…..and even

    our animals know better than we, we forget when dollar

    signs blind the eyes…perhaps then we cannot see the

    human devestation.

    Miro Jackanin

    Communist poet at best. Insulting, shortsighted and plain arrogant and stupid.
    Mr. Harper has been A BEST Prime Minister in 30 years.
    Like it or not, leftist coalition of liberals and ndp is not capable and competent to run this country.


    If that is really one of our MLA’s commenting… I take him up on the offer to visit one of our rapacious rivers. I am certain Rafe would accompany us. Rapacious is defined in the children’s edition of Merriam Webster as “very greedy”. I will include a tour of high alpine lakes on the Sunshine Coast that are being drained for private corporate (not public) profit. I will show him places where rivers used to be….like the Ashlu. I will NOT be able to show him a lake or fjord from Harrison to Bute that has been left in its natural state. Other than a couple of good projects, I will NOT be able to show him any fossil fuel generated electricity that has been displaced. I will NOT be able to show him the economic benefit to us commonfolk. They really are in private hands for private profit, immune to the same environmental regulations the rest of us have to follow.


    Very old news that the Sun and Province don’t give the BC public balanced journalism on the topics of the Liberals or Big Business interests. They act more like paid mouth pieces for these private interests. Censorship through biased editorial policies and management YOU BET! Probably the worst two news papers I have ever read in terms of their conservative loving editors Shame on the ownership and lackeys who work there and call themselves professional journalists. Where are your critical voices ? Stop the censorship and give us some real writing or truth for a change.

    Chris Armstrong

    Well done Dan Murphy ! The Province and Sun newspapers are a disgrace to honest reporting ! Enbridge is an absolute PARIAH, with one of the worst oil spill records in North America: in short they have PROVEN themselves to be INCOMPETENT PIPELINERS ! They think nothing of destroying the lives of thousands of people with their incompetent oil spills, yet they can’t stand a little accurate and well deserved “political cartoon”. Oh, poor baby ! Until they can go for 5 years with ZERO oil spills, they must not be allowed to build any pipeline in BC. The NGP is a guaranteed DISASTER for BC !


    Very old news that the Sun and Province don’t give the BC public balanced journalism on the topics of the Liberals or Big Business interests. They act more like paid mouth pieces for these private interests. Censorship through biased editorial policies and management YOU BET! Probably the worst two news papers I have ever read in terms of their conservative loving editors Shame on the ownership and lackeys who work there and call themselves professional journalists. Where are your critical voices ? Stop the censorship and give us some real writing or truth for a change.

    Kevin Krueger, MLA

    Rafe, can you tell me where to see one of those “rapacious private rivers” you write about in this piece? The South Thompson, they say, is approaching a “50 year event,” and even at that, doesn’t look “rapacious” to me. Mind you, it’s a PUBLIC river! If you can tell me where to find one of those rapacious private rivers, if I find your missing apostrophe there, I will bring it back to you.

    I’m just kidding! I know, I know, you’ve partially given up on apostrophes, because you don’t believe in possessives.

    Internet Viewer

    The paper’s owner seems to be in hiding, as he does not, to date, make himself available to the rest of the Press for a comment about how his business runs. Not much respect indicated there for his own profession. Perhaps he thinks that “silence is golden” i.e the advertising income is retained.
    Mair”s “QED” seems to be justified.



    Upon attending the Snow White fairy tale, Mirror Mirror, at our local movie theater, we were bombarded with the propagandist petroleum ad hailing the Alberta tar sands project as some valiant effort by Canadians to create business.

    In the Snow White movie, the land is in the narcissistic grip of an evil beast known as the Queen. In a short leading up to the movie, oil companies would have us believe the one small visual of a small oil refinery in a greenbelt is a blatant lie, for in reality, the Alberta tar sands project resembles a Mars terrain and occupies a space the size of England.

    Use of environmentally devastating crude technology to extract the beast are grossly underplayed and misleading to a fuel-buying public, who most likely drove to the theater in a vehicle.


    Very funny cartoon. I aam sick to death of the real one.

    Enbridge doesn’t understand overkill, they need to fire their marketing people.

    elaine smith

    thanks for this….

    Update from CBC

    This website shows an update to the story that was on CBC radio…


    It is not about supporting or not supporting the enbridge project, it is not about whether or not you think it is a clever spoof, it isn’t even about whether or not you are sick of the enbrudge medua bombardment, it is about the role of the press. Thanks Rafe for laying it out so clearly.


    The poem says it all… yes we have been sold out.

    First Tibet, now Canada… do we really stand a chance when it comes to our leaders speaking with forked tongue.

    Jeremy Johnson

    This isn’t funny, it’s just stupid. I think the original ad is a bit preachy and smarmy, but can’t Mr. Murphy come up with anything smarter than fart sounds? Is his audience made up entirely of 7 year-olds?


    What a great cartoon!!!:) I love it, and it shows exactly what WILL happen!!..


    Thanks Rafe. I’m curious about how the Twitter world is responding to this issue, and to your post. I’ve posted this to track the chatter…


    Damien Gillis

    Jennifer, they told Mr. Moriarty his paper was “appropriating” Enbridge’s intellectual property…The Province doesn’t seem to have put up much of a fuss.

    Jennifer Moreau

    I’d like to know the specifics of Enbridge’s complaint, and the reason The Province capitulated and pulled it. Cartoonists are free to criticize as much as they want – that’s fair comment. They are not reporters, who are supposed to be fair and objective.


    Since the paid media won’t allow you to see this video, please share far and wide….


    We toil for oil for the chinese dude how crude?

    Harper thinks he’s sharper
    But really he’s a barber
    With evil thought’s he harbor’s
    He wants to shave all we have in common
    From our Canada, oh what a nave is he.

    Little does he know?
    Allot of us are committed
    To saving the country
    He thinks is dimwitted

    And the only dimwit I see is he!
    He is leading us into slavery
    With his tricky knavery
    To his lord and master

    Big oil big bad oil
    For now we all have to toil
    To get the Alberta crude
    To the Chinese dude

    Huh this is rude
    And makes no sense
    We have a red prime minister
    Who is more than a little sinister?

    I am asking him to step down
    He’s really looking like a clown
    And he’s not a real Calgaryian
    Just a tyrant Toronto Ontarian

    Whose become a real communist red rude dude!

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