December 2011 Archives
My Dec. 26, 2011 Sun column:
Take off to the Great White North and join the Sun Media team
Hey, what are you doing on the weekend of Feb. 24 to 26?
I've got a suggestion: Come hang out with me and some of the Sun Media's most interesting personalities for a weekend of fun.
Along with my friends Charles Adler, Brian Lilley, Michael Coren and other great Canadians, I'm hosting something I call the Freedom Weekend.
And you're invited to join us.
We're all getting together at the gorgeous J.W. Marriott resort on the shores of Lake Rosseau, north of Toronto.
We'll have some panel discussions about current events — sort of like a live, in-person version of your favourite Sun News TV shows.
But the real fun is the informal part of the agenda.
For example, you'll sit with a different Sun personality at your table each meal.
So you can talk politics with David Akin over pancakes, or let the great Jacqui Delaney regale you with her tall tales over dinner!
Six meals, six chances to buttonhole your favourite Sun Media commentator.
And that doesn't even count the informal get-togethers, like the welcome reception.
But half the fun of being out at Lake Rosseau is being in the great Canadian outdoors.
It's absolutely gorgeous out there in the winter. We'll have outdoor activities too.
Come snowshoeing with me and Krista Erickson! (Don't worry, we'll actually have a skilled nature guide, too.) When you're out in the country away from the city lights, it's perfect for star-gazing at night.
We've got an astronomy evening, too. Seriously, this is going to be fun. My favourite — I just know it — will be sitting around the bonfire roasting marshmallows. I get the feeling that Charles Adler has some great campfire stories, don't you?
This idea is really unprecedented in Canada, the chance to spend a whole weekend with your favourite Sun Media personalities in a beautiful and relaxed setting.
It's great politics. And great food. And just plain fun. Of course, there's a theme. And it's right there in the name — the Freedom Weekend.
We'll talk about how to strengthen our freedoms here at home, and project freedom abroad to the world.
It's perfect for a political news junkie in the family — but even if your spouse isn't such a politico, there are so many other things to do at the resort, from hiking trails to the spa.
There's something for everyone. You can check out all the details, and see pictures of the resort, at our website — FreedomWeekend.ca.
It's my hope this turns into an annual event — a yearly winter getaway.
For folks who love the Sun newspapers and who are hooked on our new TV channel, this is the perfect weekend. It's a chance to actually be a part of the action — to really become part of the Sun Media team itself.
I hope to see you there — and don't worry about bringing your snowshoes, they have plenty to spare!EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
Yours truly, done up in-house celeb profile-style:
Pumping up the volume; SUN NEWS PRESENTS EZRA LEVANT
The Calgary Sun
Mon Dec 26 2011
Byline: JOANNE RICHARD
Ezra Levant is on a personal mission to save the world the best way he knows how ( "Given that obviously I lack any other skills," he says), and that's by turning up the volume and making noise.
Basically, by being a professional loudmouth -- an informed, funny and feisty one at that, who won't shut up or back down until he gets results.
Levant's energy, enthusiasm and let's-rumble attitude dominate the air as host of The Source, an informative news commentary show weeknights on the Sun News Network.
"I use my outdoors voice indoors ... and frankly it's been ever thus," says Levant, who's not the least bit offended by his nickname LaRant. "To be honest, it's fairly accurate, but that's part of the fun of the show -- to tee off on things that need teeing off on ..."
Attacked for his conservative politics and opinions, Levant is on the warpath to champion free speech weeknights on primetime Sun News. A lawyer by training, Levant prides himself on being loud and clear.
"I love my opening monologues or rants, if you like. They're a chance for me to let 'er rip on the issues of the day. Interviewing interesting guests is fine ... but I've got my opinions too, thus the rants!"
Some of it's dirty talk, including the Alberta oilsands -- it's one of his very favourite hot-button topics. Levant is Canada's ethical oil champion and it's no pipe dream to believe we can supply our own oil needs and wean ourselves off conflict oil that support reprehensible regimes.
"We're an energy superpower and an ethical superpower so we have to stop being so meek and gentle with foreign critics, who would shut us down and strengthen the monopoly of the butchers in OPEC," rants Levant, who argues a moral case in his bestselling book Ethical Oil: The Case For Canada's Oil Sands which won this year's National Business Book Award.
Critics and lobbyists make the oilsands out to be inherently evil -- "unethical, dirty and even nasty ...," so distasteful that any debate about them is over before it starts, he says.
"Ethical oil is like fair trade coffee or conflict-free diamonds. Ethical oil burns the same as conflict oil in your gas tank. And it costs the same. But it is morally superior. And some people value that."
Seems the squeaky wheel gets greased and Levant's noise was heard on the other side of the world, sparking a war of words. "We made a little YouTube ad comparing Canadian ethical oil with the misogyny of Saudi oil, and we ran the ad on the Oprah Winfrey Network. The Saudis threatened to sue any Canadian broadcaster that ran the ad -- which proved our point about what thugs and bullies they are, and how scared they are of oilsands oil as a competitor."
The 39-year-old father of two loves a good fight -- and he won't back down. On air and in his regular Sun Media news- paper columns, Levant is a top defender of freedom of speech, of property rights, of gender equality and "freedom from creeping fascism in the world, be it the nanny state regulating every aspect of our personal lives, or a jihad against our western liberties."
Complaints are common and provide comic relief - actually his favourite part of The Source show is reading the hate mail from "various whiners, who instead of wanting to debate you or turn the channel, they want the government to gag you. We have a word for these people -- fascists, thin-skinned censors, the nanny state, know-it-alls, busybodies, meddlers ...
"Instead of debating stuff, they think you should duct tape your mouth shut!"
No one is shutting him up -- although they've tried. In our safe, western liberal democracy, unbelievably Levant was prosecuted by the Human Rights Commission for 900 days for the offence of hate speech for publishing the Danish cartoons of Muhammad in 2006 in The Western Standard magazine.
He was also interrogated for 90 minutes by a government agent for his religious and political views -- which he recorded and posted on YouTube.
He's shown the Danish cartoons at least five times on The Source -- "just as a symbol that I'm free and I don't care what some bureaucrat says, I'm not going to shut up."
Adds Levant: "That was an important fight for free speech, the independence of the media and the separation of mosque and state."
Being the only person in the free world prosecuted for publishing those cartoons also drives his fight to further safeguard freedoms. "Although freedom of speech and thought is stronger now because of technology like cellphones, cameras, Facebook, texting, etc., the forces of tyranny are on the march, too."
Levant really likes to shake things up and even dress up, too. A recent on-location comedy skit dressed up as Marg Delahunty, Warrior Princess, on the hunt for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, was a Sun News highlight. It's not the first time he's worn costumes to drive his point home, including segments dressed up as a lumberjack, a postman and cloaked in a burka.
He loves on-location reporting, too: Levant's brilliant and hilarious 4 a.m. surprise visit armed with a heat-sensing infrared camera to Occupy Toronto a few weeks ago turned up lots of empty tents -- an un- Occupy movement in fact!
It's all about building up some momentum to change things, says Levant. "It's like rolling a big boulder -- once you just get it started rolling, it can move on its own. But it's the first push that matters the most. I try to push things."
Born and raised in Calgary, Levant lived west of the city, in the countryside with a view of the mountains, near ranches and a native reserve. "So I had both cowboys and Indians as friends when I was a kid," says Levant, who earned a commerce degree from University of Calgary and a law degree from the University of Alberta.
He is the founder and former publisher of the Alberta-based The Western Standard and has written six books, including Shakedown and the soon-to-be- released The Enemy Within: Terror, Lies and the Whitewashing of Omar Khadr.
The Source is his first TV talk show and he's loving every minute of his hour in the Sun. Reaction? "Some love it, some hate it but both camps seem to be watching.
"I don't just want people who agree with me watching the show -- I want people on the other side of the fence to watch the show and think about it and maybe even once in a while to be persuaded."
Another source of irritation: The CBC. "$1.15 billion per year of your tax money for one channel on your 500 channel TV dial."
Well, there's a new channel on the block to provide honest TV narrative, other points of view besides the one sanctioned by the state broadcaster, the CBC. "It's a challenge and a pleasure to earn our viewers one at a time but it's frustrating that our chief competitors -- CTV and CBC -- don't have to."
Cable subscribers are forced to pay for these channels, whether they watch them or not. "I'm glad we're not in the pocket of government, but it is a tilted playing field."
From The Source, Dec. 23, 2011: Calgary street preacher Artur Pawlowski looks at the hypocrisy which allowed protesters to 'Occupy' Canadian cities but forbids him from preaching.
From The Source, Dec. 23, 2011: Kevin Taylor, owner of Cheesecake Cafe, has more on why he has decided to boycott Chiquita.
From The Source, Dec. 23, 2011: Lynn Gustafson, owner of The Guzoo, talks to us about his hard fought victory to keep his small-scale zoo going.
From The Source, Dec. 23, 2011: I look at the latest backup in getting pipelines built to transport Canadian oil south of the border and to the west coast.
From The Byline, Dec. 22, 2011: I speak with Brian Lilley about why Omar Khader does not deserve to be cozy in Canada for the holidays, despite what publications like the Globe and Mail think.
From The Source, Dec. 22, 2011: The world’s most published man on global warming skepticism, Lord Christopher Monckton, on the quasi-religion of environmentalism.
From The Source, Dec. 22, 2011: I point out the history of crime and immoral business practice by Chiquita and I have a message for the banana company.
From The Source, Dec. 22, 2011: Honour killings expert, Aruna Papp, on the latest casualty of multi-culturalism in Canada—young South Asian women—where suicide rates are among the highest at home and abroad.
From Canada Live, Dec. 22, 2011: A pair of ethical oil supporters showed their displeasure with Chiquita in Alberta Thursday.
From The Roundtable, Dec. 21, 2011: I address the Alberta premier's passive response to Chiquita's anti-oilsands stance on the morning show.
From The Source, Dec. 21, 2011: Mark Steyn shares his thoughts on the GOP race and why neither Mitt Romney nor Newt Gingrich are good candidates.
From The Source, Dec. 21, 2011: Danielle Smith from the Wildrose Party presents the pro-Canada, pro-oilsands position to oppose Alberta Premier Alison Redford's weak stance.
From The Source, Dec. 21, 2011: I look at Alison Redford's disgraceful reaction to Chiquita's oilsands criticisms.
My Dec. 19, 2011 Sun column:
Yes, we have no bananas
Chiquita banana thought it could fire a cheap shot at Canada's energy industry and get away with it. That didn't happen.
Last week, Chiquita announced it was asking all of its truckers to boycott Canadian ethical oil. Since no one has invented Star Trek's dilithium crystals yet, that likely means Chiquita will now run on conflict oil from places like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela instead.
Chiquita probably thought this would be a cost-free PR stunt. The company certainly needed a public relations boost. In 2007, Chiquita was fined $25 million for giving protection money to South American terrorist paramilitaries, including the notorious FARC.
If it sounds shocking to you that a fruit company would be financing terrorist groups, then you don't know the history of Chiquita — or the United Fruit Company, as it was known for most of the last century.
It was such a corrupt company that the countries in which it operated literally became "banana republics" - they were undermined democratically and became mere arms of the company itself. The rule of law, treatment of workers, civil rights all were subverted to the will of the United Fruit Company. We don't call them pineapple republics; we don't call them tomato republics. We call them banana republics, because of Chiquita banana.
Their terrorism fine shows that, as recently as 2007, their corporate DNA was still hard-wired to be unethical.
Not exactly the best folks to be criticizing Canada's oilsands, and implicitly supporting countries like Venezuela and Iran.
Hundreds of Canadians immediately expressed their shock at Chiquita shock at their smear that we're unethical, and shock that a company as sordid as Chiquita would be the smearer. Chiquita did what it does best — it simply deleted the critical comments from its Facebook page. Chiquita loves customer feedback — but not if it's critical.
This isn't the first time that a foreign company has tried to pull itself up by pulling Canada down. Lush Cosmetics did it — they operate in Saudi Arabia, where women must walk around in body bags. But they hate our Canadian oil. What hypocrites.
But this time the response from Canadians was different — and overwhelming.
Maybe it's because Chiquita is so odious. Maybe it's because we all eat bananas, and boycotting Chiquita bananas is a way to fight back. (Chiquita also makes Fresh Express salads, so boycott them, too.)
But it's bigger than that. Canadians are sick of being bullied by foreigners. Those foreigners include dictatorships like Saudi Arabia which threatened Canadian TV stations that dared to run ads favouring Canadian oil over Saudi oil. They include even allies like the British government which paid $60,000 to Alberta's Pembina Institute to trash our oilsands. They include U.S. billionaire foundations that have funnelled hundreds of millions of dollars into Western Canada to block our resource development.
We're sick of being interfered with. And we're fighting back.
Let's all fight back. Follow BoycottChiquita on Twitter, as hundreds already are. Visit Facebook.com/BoycottChiquita. Almost 1,000 Canadians had signed up as of last night.
Do what cabinet ministers like Rona Ambrose and Jason Kenney have publicly promised to do: Buy Del Monte or Dole bananas instead, not Chiquita.
Canada has the most ethical oil in the world. We won't take false and slanderous attacks from disreputable companies like Chiquita or anyone else.
The fight back against the foreign lobbyists has begun!EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
From The Source, Dec. 19, 2011: The U.S. has miles of oil pipelines, so why has the Keystone XL line become such a big issue? Energy expert Jerry Taylor explains.
From The Source, Dec. 19, 2011: Monte Solberg weighs in on a hypocritical fruit company combating our ethical oil.
From The Source, Dec. 19, 2011: Events in North Korea have me reflecting on 'The Source' of freedom and I tell you how you can take an active part.
I'm hosting the Sun News Freedom Weekend Feb. 24-26, 2012. All your favorite stars from Sun News; stay at the gorgeous JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa; enjoy great food and company and have tons of fun.
EthicalOil.org has the Chiquita Boycott Radio Ad ready to go. You can listen to it here.
From The Source, Dec. 16, 2011: Flowing to fight oil sands, why European financing of Canadian environmentalists should end, with Sun Parliamentary Bureau reporter Daniel Proussalidis.
From The Source, Dec. 16, 2011: Growers celebrate the end of the Wheat Board monopoly with Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.
From The Source, Dec. 16, 2011: Chiquita banana launches its ban against Canada's oil sands. Here's a little background.
From The Arena, Dec. 15, 2011: Michael Coren and I talk about the hypocrisy and immorality of Ottawa lawyer Richard Warman.
From The Byline, Dec. 15, 2011: Brian Lilley and I look at how the CBC and the government continue their incestuous relationship by selling exclusive broadcast rights to the Canada Day party in Ottawa.
From The Source, Dec. 15, 2011: It seems my favourite politician got his beautiful hair in a tizzy, it will all be okay, shiny pony.
From The Source, Dec. 15, 2011: Congressman Pete Olson on the House Republicans’ new bill to see Keystone XL pipeline built.
From The Source, Dec. 15, 2011: Selling broadcasting rights to Canada Day festivities is un-Canadian and unfair.
From The Source, Dec. 14, 2011: MPP Randy Hillier talks about how he's fighting back against the war on Christmas from his riding of Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington.
From The Source, Dec. 14, 2011: Professor Aurel Braun has details on why Iran has its eyes set on the Strait of Hormuz, a very important passage for oil tankers.
From The Source, Dec. 14, 2011: Many are saying Canada leaving Kyoto is a shame, but do they really know what they're talking about? I give you a brief lesson on the document and article 27.
From The Roundtable, Dec. 14, 2011: I fire back at a Calgary Imam who says Canadian Muslims are treated like Jews in pre-war Nazi Germany.
From The Source, Dec. 13, 2011: Farzana Hassan from the Muslim Canadian Congress shares why many liberal Muslims living in Canada think the Niqab ban at citizenship ceremonies is a good start.
From The Source, Dec. 13, 2011: Professor Charles Burton exposes the lies China is using to hide the fact that it is going from boom to bust.
From The Source, Dec. 13, 2011: David Suzuki's 'charity' sure gets a lot of money from lobbyists and government supported organizations like the National Film Board and CBC.
My Dec. 12, 2011 Sun column:
Muslim women win
New rule shows sexual equality is non-negotiable in Canada
Canada's new rules forbidding women from wearing Muslim veils while being sworn in as citizens is such an obvious amendment that not even the opposition parties can muster their disapproval.
Certainly not the far-left NDP. There are few special interest groups that the NDP wouldn't favour over our own Canadian culture. But today's NDP is first and foremost a populist party of Quebec. And that is the province most frustrated with the ever-expanding definition of "reasonable accommodation."
It is not reasonable accommodation to obliterate the personal identity of a woman and to blur the separation of mosque and state. Our liberal democracy permits people to dress as they please, but let that be in their private lives. An oath of loyalty to our country and our Queen is not a private act that may be done behind a mask. It is a public promise, a vow that must be made for all to see — including the citizenship judge himself.Even Parliament's Shiny Pony, Justin Trudeau, knew enough to keep his mouth shut. Trudeau learned that lesson when he denounced Jason Kenney's last move against radical Islam, a citizenship pamphlet calling honour killings "barbaric." Even a fool can learn, and so Trudeau kept silent yesterday.
There are sputterers out there, of course, hinting that Kenney, the minister of Citizenship and Immigration, has dark motivations of Islamophobia. Such innuendo cannot be taken seriously when leveled at the same minister who has brought annual immigration numbers to record highs, and who in the course of his business attends mosques more frequently than most Muslims do.
No, Kenney is not an attacker of Islam, but a connoisseur of Islam — literally, one who knows it. Kenney knows the difference between the religion itself and a barbaric medieval cultural custom which has muscled itself into modern life through the threats of extremist imams, usually in the pay of Saudi Arabia.
A survey of Muslim women in Paris suburbs found that three-quarters of them wear their masks out of fear — including fear of violence. It is not an unreasonable fear, as more than a dozen Canadian victims of so-called honour killings have learned. The prosecution of the recent quadruple homicide in Kingston — three Muslims sisters and their step-mother — suggests that the evil that demands women not show their face to strangers is a close cousin to the evil that kills those same women for doing so.
Make note of those who object to Kenney. This will be an informative moment. Make note of the Muslim clerics who object — mark them as un-Canadian, who fail to understand that there are some non-negotiables in Canada, the equality of men and women being one. Make note of so-called feminists who decry this decision. Don't laugh — there are some. There's an old, government-funded group of feminists called LEAF that is right now are at our Supreme Court arguing for Muslim women to have the right to testify in court with their faces obscured by veils. That's the new ideal of women's liberation for LEAF — women in a cage.
Make note of those in the media who tut-tut this as intolerance. Nine out of 10 of them mock any Christian who dares utter the gentlest peep about his religion in the public square. Their new support for Islamic medievalism isn't tolerance — it's a proxy for their own anti-Canadian, anti-Christian intolerance.
Canada became a bit freer yesterday. And Muslim women were the big winners.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
From The Source, Dec. 12, 2011: Tarek Fatah explains why niqabs and their oppressive ilk shouldn't be worn in Canada and why it's not 'Islamophobist' to say so.
From The Source, Dec. 12, 2011: Immigration Minister Jason Kenney explains why Canada is telling Muslim women to show their faces at citizenship ceremonies.
From The Source, Dec. 12, 2011: I expose how a fictional pirate and multiple personalities have manipulated a bureaucrat into stalling Canadian interests.
My Dec. 10, 2011 Sun column:
Fire pipeline bureaucrat
Opening Gateway hearing to 'anyone' — literally any person, any child, any foreign citizen — just a waste of time, moneyStephen Harper must fire Sheila Leggett.
Leggett is the bureaucrat chairing the government's review of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline from the oilsands to the B.C. coast. That pipeline would create thousands of jobs and bring in $20 billion a year for Canada, based on today's oil prices.
It's a recession-buster, and it will open up Asian markets for us. It's as strategically important today as building the Canadian Pacific Railway was 130 years ago.
Leggett has been reviewing the project for two years already. Public hearings are set to start next month. But last week, Leggett announced she was going to add on an additional year for discussions. Just like that, this little environmental empress decided that thousands of jobs and billions of dollars will have to wait.
She's happy to explain why. There's a video of Leggett on her website.
"Our job is to make sure that everyone who wants to talk to us about this project has an opportunity to be heard," she says with a strange, 1,000-yard stare. "We'll take whatever time it takes to ensure that everybody's views are heard."
Foreign lobby groups like Greenpeace saw that bizarre video and responded with gusto — as of Friday, 4,453 people had typed in their names into Leggett's website, signing up for the right to make a presentation.
Her website allows anyone in the world — literally any person, any child, any foreign citizen — to simply type their name and address and get the right to testify before her panel.
It's as trivial as clicking "like" on a Facebook page. That's why Leggett needs another year. If another 40,000 people click on her website, will she delay things 10 years?
Skimming through the names is like reading petitions where wiseacres sign up as "I. P. Freely" or "John A. Macdonald." Much of it is just junk, to jam up the system.
The website allows people to write a comment. Many of them are word-for-word replicas of each other. It's a form letter campaign, arranged by professional environmental lobbyists. And it's working. The only question is whether Leggett is naive, incompetent or biased against the pipeline.
Some of the forms have been faxed in. They helpfully have the fax signature stamp at the top of the page, showing which foreign-funded lobby group is working to gin up names. Like the Sierra Club, which received a $909,000 contract from the U.S. Tides Foundation and their Canadian affiliate to gin up opposition to the "tar sands."
Those foreign billionaires are getting their money's worth — they've managed to delay the hearings by a year before they've even started.
Many of the names on the petition are real people, of course. One of the foreign interests that filled out the form is the oil company owned by the authoritarian leader of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. That company, called CITGO, wrote to Leggett, saying they don't want Canada to build a pipeline to the coast.
Leggett will listen with great empathy while a lobbyist for OPEC tells Canadians that we should not be able to sell our oil overseas.
So there are famous people. But there are unknowns, too. What will Jeanette Donato from New York have to say? What will Robert Coon from Chicago have to say? Who knows who these foreigners are? Leggett will soon. Because she's promised to listen to anyone.
She's Stephen Harper's bureaucrat, but she's taking direction from foreign meddlers. For "whatever time it takes."
What a fool. No court would permit such a gong show. And Leggett has court-like powers.
Last month, when Barack Obama delayed the Keystone XL pipeline from the oilsands to the U.S., Harper was appalled.
But Leggett was appointed by Harper. And she just pulled an Obama on our own country.
Leggett must be fired. Her job is not to listen to everyone in the world with an Internet connection. It's to make the best decision in Canada's interest.
Her Oprah-style hearings are unacceptable, and Harper should make that clear by sacking her.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
From The Byline, Dec. 7, 2011: Nova Scotia Health Minister Maureen MacDonald explains her province's decision to mandate ski helmets. Guest host John Robson asks me to comment.
From The Source, Dec. 5, 2011: American interests and the northern gateway with Environment Detective Vivian Krause.
From The Source, Dec. 6, 2011: Accountant Larry Rich takes another critical look at the Attawapiskat numbers.
From The Source, Dec. 6, 2011: Brad Wall talks about his recent trip to Phoenix and why he is pushing for ethical oil and the Keystone pipeline.
From The Source, Dec. 6, 2011: There is plenty of hate sent my way and Sun News' way, but why is so little directed at the law-breaking state broadcaster? I take a closer look at the Twitter trolls.
From The Source, Dec. 5, 2011: Dr. Lorrie Goldstein looks at Suzuki's partisan philanthropy and lauds the Tories for backing off the pointless Kyoto protocol.
From The Source, Dec. 5, 2011: Kathy Shaidle joins me to discusses the recent burka-clad thefts in Kitchener.
From The Source, Dec. 5, 2011: A Quebec town is giving newcomers a pamphlet basically outlining a code of conduct and integration. Eric Duhaime has more.
From The Source, Dec. 5, 2011: The delay of the Keystone pipeline shows it's time for Canada to put its strategic interests first.
My Dec. 5, 2011 Sun column:
Keep it to yourself
Obama may not want our oil, but let's not sabotage ourselves
Last month, U.S. President Barack Obama announced his refusal to approve Keystone XL, a pipeline that would bring almost a million barrels a day of Canadian ethical oil to the U.S. to replace Venezuelan conflict oil.
That's Obama's idea of promoting America's interests. He's dead wrong. But what crosses the border into the U.S. is his business. He made his choice.
Our choice has to be to putting Canada's interests first. We should do everything we can to press Obama to approve Keystone XL. But we've got to work on Plan B: Finding other markets for our oil.
Which is why the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline is such an obvious answer.
That pipeline would go from the oilsands to the B.C. coast, where it would fill up tanker ships from places such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan, India and China. Together, those countries are a far larger market for oil than the U.S.
It would sell about 550,000 barrels a day. That's about $22 billion a year.
It would be a win for Canada. And a win for the communities in B.C. ravaged by anti-logging extremists who killed their lumber industry. International lobby groups such as Greenpeace, along with billionaire foundations from the U.S., drove thousands of British Columbians out of work, and destroyed dozens of towns that depended on forestry.
This pipeline would help rebuild that damage, through construction and operating jobs and through tax revenues and benefits for Indian bands along the route.
Last week, Elmer Derrick, a hereditary chief of the Gitxcan Indian band in B.C., announced he'd come to an agreement with Enbridge for the pipeline.
Well, the foreign lobby groups who hate the oilsands blew their stack. Here was an Indian daring to side with the oil companies! How dare he!
Immediately these foreign lobbyists swung into action. Some claimed Derrick wasn't a real chief, or that he couldn't speak for the band — even though he is the band's official treaty negotiator.
This isn't a debate amongst Canadians. It's a war between foreign interests and Canada itself. Earlier this year, when EthicalOil.org, the NGO I'm involved with, ran TV ads comparing how Canada treats women to how Saudi Arabia does, the Saudi embassy threatened me with a lawsuit.
It's not just OPEC dictatorships. It's left-wing billionaire playboys in the U.S., too. The U.S. Tides Foundation has funneled millions of dollars to 36 different anti-oilsands groups in Western Canada. Canadians might think there's a wave of anti-oilsands feeling in Canada. But all 36 are cashing cheques from the same U.S. puppet master.
A handful of big U.S. foundations have given $190 million to undermine Western Canadian resource development over the past decade — including $10 million to David Suzuki's foundation. According to research by Vivian Krause, in 2008 Tides' Canadian affiliate paid two Indian bands $27.3 million specifically to oppose the Northern Gateway pipeline. (Ed. Note: See CORRECTION below) It's working.
Shame on those chiefs for taking U.S. money to oppose Canada's national interests — and the economic interests of their own people. So much for self-government: Some B.C. bands are selling out their people for cash.
This cannot stand.
Keystone XL was stopped by Obama. He's a fool, but it's his decision. The Northern Gateway pipeline is a completely Canadian matter. It's about our national interests. And it's time our government — and any self-respecting Aboriginal leader — blew the whistle on foreign interference.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCYCORRECTION: Researcher Vivian Krause did not report that the "2008 Tides' Canadian affiliate paid two Indian bands $27.3 million specifically to oppose the Northern Gateway pipeline." Ms. Krause reported the grant was "to fund conservation planning projects and conservation initiatives" and was earmarked for the Nuxalk and the Lax Kw'alaams." For her report, click here.
My Dec. 3, 2011 Sun Column:
Crisis of management
Attawapiskat reserve plunged into despair while $34 million is squandered
Each family on the Attawapiskat Indian reserve in Northern Ontario gets about $70,000 a year from the government, user fees and casino revenue. So why is their town a slum?
The NDP MP who represents Attawapiskat, Charlie Angus, released video showing that some people there live in Third World-type squalor. He blamed Stephen Harper. Angus has been received as a media darling, as if he was an investigative reporter blowing the lid off a secret scandal.
Except Angus has been the MP there for seven years. This is his town.
These slum-like conditions didn't pop up overnight. It's not a news scoop.
He's not a TV reporter blowing the whistle on politicians who don't care. What has Angus done to relieve the plight of his own constituents? Not enough to fix the problem after seven years.
But it wouldn't be fair to blame Angus alone. At least it wouldn't be any fairer than his attempt to blame Harper.
What about the people who are directly responsible for the Attawapiskat town? The Indian band themselves?
Attawapiskat isn't poor. In fact, it's extremely rich. It's got about 2,000 people in it. But it received $34 million from the government and other revenues last year. And the year before.
That works out to almost $70,000 per family of four. That's just the official revenues of the local band council. That's not taxable income. That's money that the local band council spends in town every single year.
That's all on top of regular income — what you and I would call "jobs." So every family gets $70,000 as a starting point, tax free, before they even work.
But the money doesn't go to individual families, it is administered by the chief and council. Translation: Politicians. And because we're all so afraid to ask tough questions of the chief and council because they're Indian, we let them get away with corruption and waste that we would never let a non-Indian politician get away with.
That's the soft bigotry of low expectations. It implies that Aboriginal leaders can't live up to Canadian standards of fiscal responsibility and fiduciary duty. It's guilty white liberal racism. It's racist, because it implies that corruption and waste are "normal" for Indians. And it's racist because it sentences the whole town of Attawapiskat to living under such a wasteful, foolish political leadership.
What are they doing with $34 million a year?
Some of it went to a school, but that was cleverly built on a diesel fuel spill, so they tore it down. Is Stephen Harper to blame for that? Is racist, white Canada to blame for that?
So more money came in. But the local band council built a gorgeous hockey arena instead. And they brought in a Zamboni. Those cost about $70,000 each.
There actually is a lot of wealth in Attawapiskat. You can't spread 34 million bucks a year around without it landing in some people's pockets.
Like all the very important people who work with the chief.
Chiefs, that is. The former chief, the acting chief and the deputy chief are all on the payroll. So are 19 councillors.
Could you imagine a town of 2,000 people with three mayors and nineteen aldermen?
Charlie Angus and the NDP have turned the town into poverty pornography to serve their own political careers.
They didn't blame the local Indian band. In fact, they blamed Harper for sending in an independent manager to take over from this wasteful, corrupt band.
Yes, corrupt. Spending money on a hockey rink instead of a school is a breach of fiduciary duty.
It's not racist to say so. In fact, it's racist to make excuses for such a band, because we'd never make excuses for a white town council that did the same things.
Stella Wheesk lives in a trailer with her husband and one-month-old baby. In other words, she's a victim here, not a perpetrator.
Who does she think has screwed things up?
"I'm not angry with the government. It's mostly the band office."
Clearly, according to Angus, she's just a vicious racist.EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY
From The Byline, Dec. 1, 2011: Santa vs. Suzuki, who will come out on top? Brian Lilley talks to me, or is it Hanukkah Harry, or is that Santa Claus?
From The Source, Dec. 1, 2011: Senator Patrick Brazeau looks at how his fellow First Nations people need to start using money given to them more wisely.
From The Source, Dec. 1, 2011: Chartered accountant Larry Rich breaks down the dollars sent to Attawapiskat in an attempt to find out just where the money went.
From The Source, Dec. 1, 2011: I look at who is directly responsible for the current crisis in Attawapiskat.