An apology to Gillian Steward.

Fair is fair. For years I have thought that Gillian Steward, a freelance journalist in Calgary who frequently writes for the Toronto Star, was an apologist for the oil interests. Her scathing indictment of the Kenney government’s public enquiry into anti-Alberta energy campaigns the other day helped correct my opinion.

Maybe we had got into the habit of assuming anything from Alberta was tainted. The east has become weary of the stories that describe bitumen and diluted bitumen, from the tar sands, as ‘oil.’ It is not until it goes through a highly polluting refinery process does bitumen become ersatz crude oil. It can then be further refined into various petroleum products.

Ms. Steward makes it very clear that the Alberta united conservative government is wasting $3.5 million investigating a claim that is nothing more that a conspiracy theory. It is based on the specious claim that the aboriginal and environmentalist groups in British Columbia are funded by American interests. Why Americans would want to fund these groups might be a mystery but it would hardly be worthy of a government-funded enquiry.

The truth today is that, with fracking, the United States does not need our bitumen. And the U.S. refineries can get more bang for their buck from the higher oil content of Venezuelan bitumen.

What really bothers this writer about the enquiry is the millions that have already been spent by Alberta tar sands exploiting companies trying to sell Canadians on their selfish view of what is good for this country.

And if we were into conspiracies today, we would be investigating the relationship of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and their lackies in Alberta’s united conservative party. The silly enquiry into anti-Alberta energy campaigns must include investigating the ongoing campaign of this commentator to stop piping bitumen out of Alberta. Let’s face facts, they could probably buy my silence for a reasonable share of that $3.5 million.

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