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Confessions Of An 'Existential Threat'

Dispatches From The Siege in Saskatchewan

by Daniel Johnson

Climate rally, Regina Legislature
Climate rally, Regina Legislature
Blocking the rail line from the Oil Refinery in Regina
Blocking the rail line from the Oil Refinery in Regina
Roof occupation at Service Canada in Regina
Roof occupation at Service Canada in Regina

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall made a speech yesterday, June 8, to a meeting of the Calgary Petroleum Club, organized by the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada as part of the 'Global Petroleum Show', an international expo for oil producers taking place in Calgary. The event itself has been noted for low attendance this year, with exhibitors plunging by 25% according to CBC. 

Wall's comments, following blow back from the May 17 throne speech which referred to climate science as "some misguided dogma that has no basis in reality", were an aggressive 'double down' on that statement, a hostile, conspiracy theory laden diatribe in which he declared that Saskatchewan's oilpatch was 'under siege' and that environmentalists were an 'existential threat' to Saskatchewan's oil industry. 

The resulting headlines from mainstream media outlets were eye-openers. One story on the Calgary Herald site declared "Saskatchewan's Brad Wall Warns Oilpatch Is Under Siege By Activists",  another Calgary Herald article was titled "Brad Wall Goes On Offense For Oilpatch". the CBC story had a sub-heading that noted Wall's subtle dig at his own ally, Rex Murphy "Canada's oil industry 'in the middle of a battle' Brad Wall tells Calgary Petroleum Club; 'The other side has the glamour of Daryl Hannah, and we've got Rex Murphy', Saskatchewan premier says".

Global News had a more subdued headline, "Brad Wall concerned energy industry is losing PR battle against environmentalists", while the Calgary Sun went more sensationalistic with, "Premier Brad Wall: Energy Industry Under Exisential Threat, And It's Losing PR War".

This flood of headlines is a little alarming, and maybe just a little flattering, to many of the activists who have been a part of this loosely-organized, mostly self-trained, unpaid, and unprofessional mess of a climate movement, a movement of mostly working class people, often in conflict with each other over virtually every topic not directly related to the environment and in particular, the oil industry and it's grip on Saskatchewan's economy.

From the perspective of the "an ever-growing matrix of activists," involved, to use the premier's words, it's been an uphill battle with limited success. But we've had success, and this news from Mr. Wall will hopefully re-energize a movement that is tiring from the long fight against an opponent that holds most of the cards. 

Your welcome, Brad Wall, and also thank you, this recognition is a needed boost for morale and couldn't come at a better moment. 

Activists were already working to promote an event on Saturday June 18, beginning at 1 PM in front of Regina City Hall, to address Brad Wall's throne speech statement. That event will likely broaden to include an update on the 'siege' and the 'existential threat' we pose. To find and share the event on Facebook, click here.


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Topics: Environment

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Daniel Johnson (Daniel Johnson)
Regina Sask
Member since August 2013


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