Demonstrators stage a "sit in" after crossing a police barricade during a protest against the Keystone XL pipeline on Parliament Hill in Ottawa September 26, 2011. Dozens were arrested in the protest against the pipeline that, if completed, will stretch from Canada to the gulf coast of the United States.
Credits: (REUTERS/Patrick Doyle)
On Monday, about 250 environmental extremists from across Canada and foreign countries travelled to Ottawa to protest oil.
Plus a couple of dozen "journalists" from the CBC, there to cheer them on.
Greenpeace, the $350-million per year multinational corporation headquartered in Amsterdam, was one of the organizers. So was a group called U.K. Tarsands Network.
So, foreigners. Foreigners telling us what to do here in Canada - and boasting about trespassing in secure areas of Parliament Hill.
Try that in Saudi Arabia. Or Iran. Try that in the United States, post-9/11.
These foreign meddlers pick on Canada precisely because we are the gentlest country in the world. And it would be too tough to try to protest in Iran or Saudi Arabia. The Saudi embassy is just a few blocks away from Parliament Hill, right on Sussex Dr. Saudi Arabia is the biggest oil producer in the world. They have the biggest oil reserves in the world. If this protest really was about oil, why didn't they go there?
We clean up our oil spills; Saudi Arabia covers up theirs. We engage with our critics; Saudi Arabia imprisons theirs. We use our oil money to finance peacekeepers. Saudi Arabia finances terrorists. We treat minorities and women with respect. Saudi Arabia abuses them through sharia law.
But don't tell that to the c-list celebrities like Dave Thomas, who have endorsed this Blame Canada approach to oil protesting.
No, not the famous Dave Thomas, the late president of Wendy's. The lame Dave Thomas - the least-funny cast member of SCTV who hasn't been heard from since then, for whom this protest was a great way to get a little PR. Though he couldn't be bothered to attend himself. Until a month ago, all of this was just normal: A bunch of self-righteous activists denouncing us for driving cars, and then getting in their cars to drive away.
But then we found out that the Saudi dictatorship was also orchestrating anti-oilsands skullduggery in Canada, by threatening TV stations who aired a pro-oilsands TV ad.
Sort of puts this whole Parliament Hill protest in a new light, doesn't it? And maybe it helps explain why the protesters haven't protested outside the Saudi embassy.
But here's a real head-scratcher: The boss of a big labour union came out against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would ship the oil from Alberta to the U.S. David Coles, the boss of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, bizarrely said it would cost Canadian jobs. Truth is, if the Keystone XL pipeline isn't built, tens of thousands of union jobs are in jeopardy. If the oil can't get to market, his union members won't have a job producing it.
The craziest part of Coles' comments was when he said: "Oil workers, whether they work in North Africa, Chile or Venezuela, are oil workers." But that's not true. Oil workers in Canada have the right to unionize. Even non-unionized welders and pipefitters can make $150,000 a year or more.
But in OPEC countries like Saudi Arabia, work is done by minimum-wage foreign labourers, who are forbidden from unionizing.
Since when does a Canadian union boss defend foreign indentured workers, and bash a domestic industry - including his own dues-paying members?
Perhaps this is a cry for help from Coles. Who knows? Maybe the Saudi embassy made threats against the Canadian labour movement, just like it did against Canadian TV stations who dared to criticize Saudi conflict oil.
Canada believes in open debates. But perhaps the first question we should ask anti-oilsands protesters should always be: Which foreign country is paying you today?