Linkfarm: The Krause Chronicles

662-linkfarm1-thumb-150x120-661.jpgVivian Krause styles her self as an  “independent researcher.” Her work is increasingly a favourite of right wing columnists on Postmedia and now Sunmedia

The spin from the conservative columnists, now echoed by the Conservative government is that the environmental opposition to the Northern Gateway is all coming from US based environmental foundations, with the hidden agenda of undermining the Canadian economy.

Only one main stream media report doesn’t praise Krause to the skies came from Gary Mason in the Globe and Mail

The next great pipeline debate – and U.S. funding

Whether or not Krause has a legitimate point about American foundations funding Canadian environmental causes, there has, so far, been no balancing investigation of the money spent by American or other energy companies in Canada to promote their cause.

Here are a few relevant links

Vivian Krause’s site Fair Questions

Krause’s list (of mostly positive for her) media coverage. It is quite extensive but will give you an idea of how widespread her message has reached.

Coverage not found in Krause’s list at this posting

Enbridge boss points to ‘curious’ funding of pipeline opposition by U.S. charities: Edmonton Journal

Foreigners funding ‘mischief’ against Canada’s oilsands: Kent   Sunmedia
Environment Minister Peter Kent adds to the controversy.

U.S. billionaires ‘bullying’ Canada on environment: Researcher Sunmedia (with a quote showing that Stephen Harper supports Krause’s campaign)

Ezra Levant writes a  column for Toronto Sun, calling on the Joint Review Panel to restrict the number of people who will testify against the pipeline.

An “ethicial  oil” spokeswoman, Kathryn Marsall then adds to the mix with
The Big Money Behind the Anti-Oil Sands Movement in the Huffington Post

The National Post then claims the it also the UK that is funding the opposition

Anti-oil sands think-tank being funded by U.K.

and  finally a Black Press columnist named Tom Fletcher repeats it all again in The Alberni Valley News.  (I note that as far as I can find out, none of the northern newspapers in the Black Press chain ran this, or at least ran it prominently)

B.C. a playground for eco-stunts

(a Facebook friend linked to the article, somehow our subsequent discussion about Star Trek got posted, probably because Black Press lets you sign in from FB)

Now, the Minister of Natural Resources, Joe Oliver, is pushing the Northern Gateway pipeline every chance he gets despite the fact the Joint Review Panel hasn’t even started hearings. but in The Vancouver Sun in Protests won’t stop Northern Gateway pipeline, minister says

He wouldn’t comment on the argument heard in the oilpatch that American money is being driven by broader interests fearful of the U.S. losing its virtual monopoly on the
landlocked oilsands resource.
“I’m not into conspiracy theories.”

In contrast to this huge campaign, there is no one, no one, as of this date, in the mainstream media putting perspective on the story.

One blog from George Ghoberg at the University of  British Columbia is:

Foreign influence on Canadian energy and environmental policy: A request for some balance

I wrote two earlier columns on the subject.

Joint Review media analysis Part one: Calgary Herald columnist advocates
curbing free speech on the Northern Gateway Pipeline hearings

Joint Review media analysis Part two: Postmedia and The Great American Energy Conspiracy

From the Environmental point of view. the Pembina Institute has responded to the attacks on its integrity and credibility

Attacks on environmental group supporters are disingenuous and disturbing

The David Suzuki Foundation has responded to Krause’s separate attacks on Suzuki’s opposition to salmon farming

DSF responds to questions about salmon farming

And to put things in somewhat of a wider perspective, The Hill, which covers Capitol Hill in Washington DC had this story on all the companies that lobbied for the Keystone XL pipeline.

Lobbyists go to battle over Keystone pipeline

Oysters, mussels threatened by ocean acidification from climate change


A study from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute is warning that mollusks, especially oysters and mussels, are increasingly vulnerable to the acidification of the oceans caused by rising carbon dioxide emissions.

A news release from the institute  on Aug. 2 notes

As CO2 levels driven by fossil fuel use have increased in the atmosphere
since the Industrial Revolution, so has the amount of CO2 absorbed by
the world’s oceans, leading to changes in the chemical make-up of
seawater. Known as ocean acidification, this decrease in pH creates a
corrosive environment for some marine organisms such as corals, marine
plankton, and shellfish that build carbonate shells or skeletons


The new study, which was published online July 7, 2011, by the journal Fish and Fisheries, assesses each country’s vulnerability to decreases in mollusk harvests caused by ocean acidification.

It appears, that the higher latitudes, which would include the northwest coast, are, for the moment, at lower risk than tropical regions.

The news release goes on to say:

In order to assess each nation’s vulnerability, researchers examined several dependence factors: current mollusk production, consumption and export; the percentage of the population that depends on mollusks for their protein; projected population growth; and current and future aquaculture capacity.

Using surface ocean chemistry forecasts from a coupled climate-ocean model, researchers also identified each nation’s “transition decade,” or when future ocean chemistry will distinctly differ from that of 2010, and current mollusk harvest levels cannot be guaranteed. These changes are expected to occur during the next 10 to 50 years, with lower latitude countries seeing impacts sooner. Higher latitude regions have more variability, and organisms there may be more tolerant to changing conditions.

The author of the study, Sarah Cooley, says, “”Mollusks are the clearest link we have at this point,” Cooley said. “As ocean acidification responses of fin fish become more apparent, and as we learn more about the biological relationships between mollusks and other animals, then we can start zeroing in on how non-mollusk fisheries can also be affected.”

The salmon study controversy. How to write a news release without answering the question


Fisheries minister Keith Ashfield and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans today issued a news release concerning the controversy over the muzzling of DFO scientist Kristi Miller and her genetic study of Fraser River salmon which suggests a virus may be responsible for the decline of the stock.  Although Miller published her study in the journal Science, she was not permitted to speak the media about it.

The DFO news release from this afternoon is a classic example of not answering the actual question while seeming to assure the public that the minister and department are doing their job. DFO also says it supports the department’s scientists, without mentioning that the DFO was originally willing to make Miller available to the media, it was Stephen Harper’s Privy Council Office that said she couldn’t.

You can read the full  news release. Response to Media Reports about Science at Fisheries and Oceans Canada

On Miller’s study the news release says:

 In fact, the research and report by Dr. Kristi Miller on Pacific salmon was not withheld from anyone; Dr. Miller’s report was published in a broadly circulated science magazine and remains widely available to the media and public through the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website, and as an exhibit through the Commission’s website.

(The Commission refers to the Cohen Commission on the decline of salmon stocks)

The publication of a scientific article in the journal Science is not at question.

What the Privy Council Office did was forbade a prominent scientist the opportunity to explain to the public in layman’s terms the significance of her findings.

Science journalism works like this. The major journals advise the media well ahead of time, under embargo, about the pending publication of major papers. The reason for this simple and supported by both the media and the scientific community. It takes time and effort to craft an accurate report of a scientific paper, whether reporting for a newspaper or the web. Creating an accurate and accessible television item on a scientific paper, a television item that also needs pictures and voice clips is both an art and science. Even in these days of cutbacks, the networks hunger for reporters and producers who can do it in under two minutes. If instead the media has to rush out a story on a scientific article on the day of publication, it is bound to be superficial and inaccurate. This was the process that was short circuited by the Privy Council Office when it, not DFO, muzzled Kristi Miller.

This is the question that the DFO news release ignores.

The news release then raises a smokescreen by saying:

Our scientists have also published hundreds of reports subscribed to by tens of thousands of people throughout Canada and the world. For example, this week, Fisheries scientist Dr. Kenneth Frank released a report about positive signs in the recovery of groundfish stocks off the coast of Nova Scotia. Dr. Frank’s research was published in Nature, the world’s most highly cited science journal, and he spoke to nearly a dozen interested members of the press on his report this week alone.

. While it is true, that the report on the rebound of groundfish stocks is receiving wide attention and as DFO says, Kenneth Frank was made available to the media, a cynical observer would be quick to point out that the Kenneth Frank story is good news for Canada and for the Harper government, while the Kristi Miller salmon virus could be bad news for both the country and the government.

So now it looks that the Privy Council Office is adopting a “good news” agenda. If it’s good, a government scientist can talk to the media, if it’s bad news, bury it.

 Finally the government relies in this case, on the “before the courts” excuse it used when the story of the salmon study first broke in Post Media News, referring to Justice Bruce Cohen’s commission of inquiry into the decline of the Pacific salmon stocks.

 Moreover, at Justice Cohen’s request, the government has provided almost 500,000 documents and many hours of testimony deemed relevant by Justice Cohen to his inquiry. Dr. Miller will also present her research findings at the Commission in the coming weeks along with several other scientists and officials.

Our government has been very clear that judicial inquiries are not conducted through the media. Evidence that may be relevant to Justice Cohen’s findings should be managed through the commission process.

What this means is that government may use the “before the courts” excuse in the future to muzzle any scientific debate on a controversial issue. In reality, of course, that simply means excluding the public and media from a debate on any subject that would likely be discussed openly at any scientific gathering or congress.

Of course, if the Harper government is in favour of something, then a “commission process” appears to be irrelevant. As has been widely reported, the Minister of Natural Resources, Joe Oliver, is ignoring the quasi-juidicial nature of the National Energy Board hearings into the Enbridge Northern Gateway project and the various LNG projects, all potentially using the port of Kitimat, by telling any reporter and any audience that the projects are in the “national interest” when finding the public interest is the mandate of the NEB.

Tar Sands Express – Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline or the Railway? Watershed Sentinel

Watershed Sentinel

As billionaires invest in the railways and oil tanker traffic skyrockets along the BC coast, it looks as though the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline may have been a ruse all along  – a classic “bait and switch” – with a number of PR payoff ….

 By autumn 2008, CN Rail approached the Alberta government with its plan to move tar sands oil.  Alberta’s Energy Minister at the time, Mel Knight, told Dow Jones Newswire that CN and his government have had “very good meetings,” with CN believing that it could eventually transport 400,000 barrels per day from eastern Alberta to the West Coast of Canada. 

Just six months later, CN was estimating that it could transport 2.6 million barrels per day to the West Coast if 20,000 railcars were added to its fleet.
On April 15, 2009, the Financial Post’s Diane Francis reported that CN “will deliver the oil sands production through the use of insulated and heatable railcars or by reducing its viscosity by mixing it with condensates or diluents. The ‘scalability’ of the concept – up to millions of barrels per day – means that the railway can ramp up production cheaply and quickly to provide immediate cash flow to producers which otherwise will have to wait years for completion of upgraders and/or pipelines.