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Joe Oliver says fracking is safe, so it must be

Posted March 6, 2015 by Rafe Mair in Energy and Resources
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Joe Oliver says fracking is safe, so it must be

Finance Minister Joe Oliver (Adrian Wyld/CP)

I must apologize for being an alarmist. I now discover there is no reason for concern about hydraulic fracturing, commonly called “fracking”. I have been alleging that this process of “mining” natural gas is dangerous not only to the atmosphere and the people around the process, but to the water used and the potential damage thereafter to the water table.

I now understand that there are no problems whatsoever with this process and that the scaredy-cats in places like New York and Quebec that have banned “fracking” – and the United Kingdom and the European Union that have limited it – are simply wrongheaded.

How do I arrive at my volte face?

I have examined the evidence carefully.

Harper govt gives seal of approval

First of all, we have our own fatuous Finance Minister, Joe Oliver, who insists that fracking is safe – chastising Nova Scotia for its recent ban – and then all you have to do is look up “safe fracking” on the Internet and you’ll see that he is right.

Further proof of my egregious error comes from the fact that the Prime Minister, in giving away bundles of cash to the LNG industry, mentions not a word about the “fracking” that would fuel it.¬†And we know that if it were any concern at all for his beloved flock, he would say so and take steps to shelter them, just as he is doing with the threat from women who wear veils.

See no evil, hear no evil

The Fraser Institute, which is, they allege, a “think tank” says nothing on the subject. Neither does the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation, which normally can’t keep their mouth shut about anything. If these two honest, independent sources of the absolute truth are silent on “fracking”, we can be certain that all is well.

Rumours of LNG’s demise greatly exaggerated

There have been three very comforting reports in the press lately. We can start with the head of the BC LNG Alliance, one David Keane, who tells us that LNG is alive and well in BC and in a speech to Calgary energy barons (obviously a tough audience) makes no mention whatsoever of “fracking” – and you could be sure that he would have if it were a problem.

In the Toronto Globe & Mail, we are informed that the consortium led by Petronas assures us that LNG is alive and well in British Columbia and that it will proceed. This is enthusiastically seconded by Rich Coleman, the premier’s pet poodle on the project, although neither of them say just when this will happen. The encouraging news, though, is that not a word is mentioned about the massive increase in “fracking” required to power the industry – so we can assume from these unimpeachable sources that there is no problem there.

Exxon CEO bullish on fracking’s future

In the Vancouver Sun of March 5, there is an article containing an interview with Rex Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil. In this interview, Mr. Tillerson is extravagant in his praise of shale mining and paints a very rosy future for this source of oil and gas. Again, encouraging to all, is that Mr. Tillerson doesn’t make any mention whatsoever about “fracking” so we know from the authority of ExxonMobil, that there’s no problem. (This is the same guy who infamously protested fracking-related infrastructure planned, literally, for his own back yard)

Fracking absent from BC LNG discussion

In our own province, the said Mr. Coleman makes no mention of “fracking” in any of his many statements, so knowing how trustworthy he is, we can assume that “fracking” is no problem in British Columbia.

Neither does Mr. John Horgan, Leader of the Opposition, and we surely know that if there were a problem with “fracking”, this talented opposer of wrong, would turn the full fury of his well-known temper on the government and the industry.

This evidence of the safety of “fracking” is fortified by the fact that our premier, known for her strict adherence to the facts, her candour and honesty, also doesn’t mention “fracking” – in fact calling BC LNG “the cleanest fossil fuel on the planet” – so we can assume by that omission that her credibility is behind the safety of this harmless process.

Science, Schmience!

It’s embarrassing to have to admit that I have relied upon scientific presentations from all over the world and actions taken by other jurisdictions. I cannot, for the life of me, understand how they can all be just as wrong and stupid as I have been.

It can be taken, then, that hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” for oil and natural gas is harmless to the people and to the environment.

It follows from this that suggestions I have made about the release of methane gas by this process are nonsense. So are suggestions that it pollutes water. It can also be assumed that statements from scientists to the effect that, taking everything into consideration, fracked natural gas is as harmful to the atmosphere and contributes as much to global warming as does oil or coal, are unprofessional rubbish.

Rest assured

The lesson I take from this is that we are fortunate indeed in this province and this country to have men and women of such integrity and honesty looking after our industries and our governments. It would be sad, indeed, to ever think that captains of industry or leaders of government would shade the truth, much last tell lies, in order to feather their own nests or advance their own political prospects.

We are, in truth, lucky people and we should think about that once in a while.

I must say that the Captains of Industry and our political masters and mistresses hope we don’t think about it too much or too often.

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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 continues to make regular appearances on radio and television, writes regularly for thetyee.ca, and writes a regular blog at rafeonline.com.

15 Comments


  1.  
    Ruth Amiabel

    Of course fracking is very dangerous. When the water is used to push out the fuel from the ground it is then very poisoness and undrinkable for humans, animals and fish. In California they are having great problems with the poisoness water being pumped into lakes,streams etc.




  2.  
    Westsider

    He has the confidence of his own ignorance!!




  3.  

    Oliver is the perfect caricature of what’s wrong with this country, quintessentially Bay Street, capitalist without a heart or a brain, mouth that matches, and the vision of a mole caught in brilliant sunshine. He represents precisely what the Harper government stands for and thanks to Quebec’s fear of veils and evil looking Muslim men, may reign over us for another 4 years.




    •  
      Don F.

      more and more everyday they are exposed Rafe, you and I see them for who they are, hopefully so do many. I believe the rest of the world does even if canadians seem to be blind.




    •  
      Bruce

      Rafe here’s a quote from the Fraser institute
      “There is no question that the technology poses risks to water quality, air quality, and ecosystem health”
      At least they go that far anyway.




  4.  
    Bob

    Corporate whore.




  5.  
    JasonS

    Hey if its good enough for Joe its good enough for us peons.
    And to prove its 100% safe Joe and his fellow conservatives and all the CEO`s of every company fracking in BC and Canada will drink nothing else but the untreated waste fracking water. Joe ? ….where did Joe go ?




  6.  
    Ron Wilton

    It boggles the mind how willfully ignorant and staggeringly deceitful the harpercons are in their constant, over the top promotion of this abysmally callous industry.

    When, in the name of all that’s holy, will Canadians wake up from this unrelentless con nightmare?




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  8.  
    Jeff

    What’s this IDIOT doing talking about fracking ? Isn’t he the finance minister?




    •  
      Dan

      Further, what is this IDIOT doing trying to fool us into thinking he knows something about finance.




    •  
      nonconfidencevote

      A VERY good question! But then again, he’s almost as uninformed when running the Financial portfolio so lets let him blather on and see where this goes……. Joe Oh….. Minister of Environment sounds about right in the Harper scheme of things.




  9.  
    David

    Thanks Rafe.

    I am embarrassed to be a Canadian. These politicians are dinosaurs!

    Will we be last country on this planet to make concessions for global warming? Even the Chinese are ahead of us in this regard.





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