Sympathy for oilpatch?

Have you noticed that Canadians seem to care surprisingly little about the bombings in northeastern B.C. targeting EnCana Corporation, North America’s largest natural gas producer?

Have you noticed that Canadians seem to care surprisingly little about the bombings in northeastern B.C. targeting EnCana Corporation, North America’s largest natural gas producer?

It’s as though the collective response to these explosions is a giant yawn.

Now why would that be?

Could it be that Canadians — especially those in the West — have had it with petroleum producers who appear to care little for the environment and even less about sharing the profits they are making from provincially owned resources?


CTV has reported repeatedly on the “animosity among (Dawson Creek-area) residents concerned about noise, the environment and the dangers of living next to sour gas projects” operated by EnCana.

And one need only visit the website operated by the Alberta Wilderness Association to learn about objections to EnCana’s activities in this province voiced by property owners and environmentalists.

The mayor of a community near where the latest bombing took place in B.C. told QR77 Radio talk-show host David Rutherford on Monday that it’s possible there is a bit of a Robin Hood effect occurring, in which people are losing sympathy for oil companies that plunder the environment for profit.

Meanwhile, the RCMP, who appear to be having little success in finding who is responsible for the six bombings since October, are trying to ramp up pubic interest by describing the bombings as “domestic terrorism.”

EnCana is offering a $500,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of whoever is responsible, but so far there are no takers.

Some people in the area of British Columbia affected are speculating the culprit is either a current or former EnCana employee.

No wonder people are losing faith in the oilpatch.

Remember back when Syncrude claimed only 500 ducks had died after landing on one of its toxic tailings ponds?

Then it took about a year for the company to come clean and admit the real number is closer to 1,600.

Who would trust Syncrude to tell the truth about such incidents now?

The oilpatch and the Alberta government have been trying to convince the general public that the oilpatch is as pure as the driven snow, but a recent opinion poll found that most Albertans don’t believe much of what the oilpatch says.

That’s hardly a surprise.

Of course, no one wants to see further bombings happen, and no one wants to see anyone get hurt.

That said, the oilpatch needs to clean up its environmental record.

If that happens, Canadians just may have some more sympathy for the industry.

Lee Giles is an Advocate editor.

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