Mark Hume Nails Enbridge on Caribou Paper Cheat


When a clock strikes 13, you can never trust it again.

So it must be for anyone who lies about information he is using to back up a serious scientific statement upon which a great deal is at stake.

Mark Hume had an article in Sunday’s Globe and Mail BC Edition which, in a world of decent journalism, would be a headline story, titled ENBRIDGE CHEATS ON SCIENTIFIC PAPER ON THREAT TO CARIBOU.

In fact Mark does this a lot and our newspaper chiefs should blush with shame but they don’t do that very well. I leave it to you to read this superlative article but suffice it to say that Enbridge has been caught out big time and if it weren’t for Mark they would have gotten away with it.

in a 2011 paper in support of their ghastly pipeline proposal, Enbridge claimed that their project would have little or no impact on caribou.

This issue hasn’t been dealt with much but it should be.

Caribou, like deer, moose, antelope, etc., are ungulates whose main enemy is the wolf. When nature is left alone, wolves kill so many ungulates that their numbers get knocked down, whereupon the wolves, now short of food, starve, while the ungulates recover – and on it goes. Nature is cruel but has rules we break at our peril. The very last thing we should do is interfere with this cycle, which is why it’s so necessary that man’s imprint on the wilderness be as light as possible.

This is why Enbridge is getting concerned enough to put out a presentation, purporting to be based on science, demonstrating its innocence in advance. I add parenthetically, as Mark points out, Enbridge’s proposals cannot be taken in isolation of other impacts.

Enbridge clearly didn’t expect anyone to challenge their work and hung their hat on a scientific paper that simply did not exist. This gets interesting.

In a notation backing their “scientific argument”, the sort which one expects in scientific papers, they referred to “Francis et al 2002”. Hell, whoever checks these sorts of things out?

Of all the bad luck, an environmental lawyer named Chris Tollefson looked up this reference and it didn’t exist!

Ah, but Enbridge has an answer. Whoopsy Daisy, we filed an errata correcting that, and this really should have referred to “Salmo and Diversified (2003)”.

Just a silly little error we cleared up.

Except that pesky lawyer went further and found that Salmo and Diversified (2003) had based their findings on “Francis et al 2002” – the paper that didn’t exist!

Well, you surely ask, “Francis (2002)” must have been something.

Indeed it was. It referred to a power point presentation made by an independent ecologist who had nothing to do with Enbridge to a wildlife conference about, get this, Yukon Caribou!

One expects corporations to hire, shall we say, friendly scientists. In the Kemano Completion case some years ago, Alcan’s entire case was based upon reports from an engineering firm which was nothing more nor less than Alcan’s poodle.

What you don’t expect, God Damn it, is outright deceit!

Propositions you don’t agree with, questionable scientific propositions with, yes. Deceit, no.

Enbridge takes environmental matters so lightly that it expects to be able to publish whatever crap it wants and no one will bother to check them out.

A nosy lawyer and a journalist with the guts to print and we know what we’ve always suspected of this company, better known for its disgraceful environmental disasters than its pipelines.

Now, about that clock that struck 13…


About 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

6 thoughts on “Mark Hume Nails Enbridge on Caribou Paper Cheat

  1. “We have probed the earth, excavated it, burned it, ripped things from it, buried things in it. That does not fit my definition of a good tenant. If we were here on a month-to-month basis, we would have been evicted long ago.”
    Rose Bird
    (11/02/1936 – 12/04/1999)
    Chief Justice (CA)

  2. Why not read the original ‘Francis et al’ study report Mr Forseth ? Its a heavy and exceptional examination and analysis.. Somewhat weightier and evidence based than your subjective guess

    The original ‘Francis et al’ study is published.. are you having trouble comprehending that? You seem worried about the reputation of Enbridge.. as if its Rafe Mair that is sullying it.

    It may become quite obvious to you that Enbridge chose a valid caribou study.. but failed to comprehend its findings or conclusions.. and certainly proved they cannot understand Canadian geography.

    The questions, confusions really are moot to some extent. Its the coming unregulated environmental onslaught of fracking in British Columbia, Alberta and The Yukon that will completely decimate nature and the completely inter-related food chain.. species after species.. a cascade of extinction and collapse.. Read The Upside of Down.. if you don’t understand this phenomena ..

    G’day .. and Good Luck

  3. The point is that THERE WAS NO “ORIGINAL STUDY”. It was a complete and total fabrication by Enbridge. They’ve been caught lying outright, plain and simple.

    On a side note, while it may be true that moose have benefitted from human activity (seismic trails, roads), cariboo have not. They need large, undisturbed tracts of old-growth forest. Where roads and trails are cut, cariboo decline.

    Enbridge has zero credibility – just lots of money to throw around.

  4. If there is some investigation to be done, let us have that original study published, and have some more work funded to build upon it. Most scientific investigators always conclude, that their study could have more study.

  5. The point is, what did the study actually say. I think it likely said, that one season of bulldozing and pipeline construction intrusion into the wild, has no observable enduring effect on bush Caribou, and that the animals are somewhat adaptable, and can coexist, for a one-time construction activity, and that after the disturbance is over, there does not appear to be any lasting harm. In fact, the pipeline bush clearing can help create more scrub brush and brouse and kick-start a new ecological cycle. The moose population has certainly benefitted from the seismic cut trails through the bush in northern BC and Alberta, by helping to expand natural regions of movement in the biological hierarchy. The point is not the technical reference mix-up, as if a fraud was perpetrated, but to ask, what does the study actually say, and on what basis. Rafe never goes there, and just hypes against the “communications person” and the reputation of a company, without considering any actual evidence. If there is some investigation to be done, let us have that original study published, and have some more work funded to build upon it. Most scientific investigators always conclude, that there st

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