Letter to Rachel Notley

Letter to Rachel Notley

Committed opponents of oil sands must not have a seat on Advisory Group

Dear Premier Notley,

While we support your government’s action taken to establish an Oil Sands Advisory Group, headed by former CAPP CEO David Collyer, to provide recommendations on how to best responsibly develop our most valuable resource while meeting your climate change goals, our support is not unequivocal.

Three members of the panel, including one named co-chair, are professional anti-oilsands activists who play key roles in organizations with expressed goals of preventing new Canadian pipeline construction and, ultimately, preventing further oil sands development.

It is inappropriate for Tzeporah Berman, Tim Gray and Karen Mahon to advise Alberta’s government on Oil Sands development as long as they continue to play active roles in organizations with the expressed intent of preventing that development.

Barely three weeks prior to the announcement of Group membership, Ms. Berman gave an interview to major international media comparing oil sands operations near Fort McMurray to Mordor—and when challenged to explain her comments, admitted she’d been making these and other sensationally false statements in “stump speeches” about the oil sands for a decade.

As Executive Director of Environmental Defence, Tim Gray is responsible for their ongoing campaigns to block vital Canadian energy pipeline projects like Energy East and Trans Mountain. How can Mr. Gray provide objective advice to your government while at the same time calling for no further development at all?

Karen Mahon was a key leader with Greenpeace when that organization was running anti-logging campaigns against its partners in the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement. Greenpeace, as well as STAND where Ms. Mahon now works, are being sued for racketeering and defamation for their “malicious lies” and “sensationalist misinformation” by Resolute Forest Products Inc.

Albertans would be better served by bringing a diverse group of people together to work through issues provided all of these individuals commit themselves to objectivity, truthfulness and sincerity in their support for continued responsible oil sands and pipeline infrastructure development. This is a critical time for Albertans—we need new export pipelines to the coast to ensure we get full value for our resources. 

We call on the Alberta government to remove Ms. Berman, Mr. Gray and Ms. Mahon from the Oil Sands Advisory Group and find three representatives from science-based environmental organizations who are committed to being honest with Albertans—and the rest of the world—and sincere in their desire for responsible oil sands and pipeline development.


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