B.C. resource champion’s backing questioned – by Nathan Vanderklippe (Globe and Mail – April 8, 2013)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

CALGARY — The kid with the YouTube rant is young and approachable. He’s an actor sporting a black leather jacket, strolling through a West Coast forest and talking about pipelines.

“The environment. The economy,” he intones. “People think you have to have one or the other. But do you? So many things to think about.”

And then, he tells us how we might want to think about those things. How we don’t have to worry about pipeline spills, since pipelines are monitored 24/7 “by trained experts.” Tankers, too, shouldn’t cause sleepless nights, since they’re equipped with “state of the art navigation systems,” steered by “well-trained local pilots” and escorted by tugs.

“As a British Columbian, we want to make sure that we’re protecting our beautiful environment. But here’s the thing. Canadian pipelines have a 99.9-per-cent safety record.”

The YouTube video has all the hallmarks of a campaign orchestrated by big-money oil companies, with slick graphics and accompanying social media accounts and slick websites translated into Punjabi, Mandarin and Cantonese.

Except, if Bruce Lounds is to be believed, it’s not.

Mr. Lounds is one of the people behind British Columbians for International Prosperity, a new organization that calls itself “an independent group of concerned citizens looking to promote practical resource development.”

Or, as Mr. Lounds puts it: “The organization doesn’t want to promote the old rape and pillage.” It does want to support pipelines, mines and ports whose backers have done extensive reviews to mitigate environmental impacts.

But to environmentalists, there’s a lot about BC4IP, as the group calls itself, that doesn’t pass the smell test. For one, Mr. Lounds spent decades in the oil industry. Records dug up by Emma Pullman, a Vancouver environmentalist, show that Mr. Lounds has worked in the oil sands and held senior roles with ConocoPhillips Canada and BP PLC. He also served as president of the Canadian Heavy Oil Association.

“I’m highly skeptical of it being a citizens group, to say the least,” said Ms. Pullman. “I think there’s a high likelihood that it’s connected to industry. … It looks like there’s money there.”

That skepticism hasn’t been helped by Mr. Lounds, who would not identify any of the group’s other leaders, or say how many members it has or how much it spent on the online media campaign – which has included buying the YouTube advertising that drew Ms. Pullman to the videos in the first place.

For the rest of this article, click here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/bc-resource-champions-backing-questioned/article10823270/

 

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