The Harper Government just sent a clear signal of the real agenda for the so-called “clean energy dialogue” with US government.
Under intense questioning from opposition politicians, Ottawa finally fessed up that former tar sands executive Charlie Fisher will represent Canada in these high level negotiations with Obama Administration.
Long-time observers of Canada’s already pathetic record on climate change were understandably apoplectic.
“Appointing Charlie Fischer sends a clear signal that this is about promoting the tar sands, period,” said Stephen Hazell, executive director of Sierra Club Canada.
“The government of Canada seems to be coming at this whole clean energy dialogue from the perspective of how can they get special exemptions for the tar sands industry so that, when a cap-and-trade system is implemented, the tar sands aren’t affected.”
Until last December, Fisher was the president and chief executive officer of Calgary-based oil giant Nexen, which has a huge stake in the continued expansion in the Alberta tar sands.
Just last December they ponyed up an additional $735-million in a property that has about 2 billion barrels of extractable crude locked up in tarry bitumen. The company also owns 7% of tar sands giant Syncrude.
If Fisher’s recent leadership of a major oil sands player is not enough to completely compromise his involvement in “clean energy” negotiations with the US, he also had (and may still have) a hefty personal stake in the tar sands.
As of December, Fischer owned over 500,000 common shares in Nexen, then worth about $9.5 million, as well as options on three million more shares. Since he is no longer required to report these trades, the public no longer knows what his personal involvement is.
Oh yeah, he was also a registered lobbyist up until January of this year.
In one of the better straight lines in modern Canadian political history, the Harper government deadpanned: “Every step will be taken to ensure the integrity of the working groups are maintained.”