Follow the money!!!


We have all encountered the statement in the title of this post. Usually the statement comes when discussing something of substance with a person lacking in substance. The aforementioned person will often wink and smirk conspiratorially while stating: “Follow the money.” and then act as if the discussion is now at a close. That statement alone apparently says it all. Read into it what you will.

Now the use of that statement is usually meant to imply that there is an individual or small group of them secretly in control of whatever was the subject of the conversation whether that be in politics, religion, economics or the leadership of the local geranium growing society. Apparently if you follow the money, you will eventually get to the head of whatever nefarious conspiracy is at hand.

When something is difficult to examine or explain, many people simply like to explain it away with a pithy statement rather than explore the issue more deeply. Much like those who love saying “God works in mysterious ways”, many try to close discussion by demanding that one follow the money. Unfortunately these people rarely if ever take their own council and actually follow the path of money or they likely would not fire out that vapid statement so often.

I am going to “follow the money” in a few examples where these statements are common.

The left loves to imply that conservative leaning parties are secretly and massively funded and controlled by evil faceless corporations. Well, if one begins to follow the money through looking at the means of federal political contributions, they will first find that corporations have not been able to donate since 2004. While individuals may contribute up to $1,100 per year federally, it makes it rather tough for an individual to control a national party on that scale does it not?

The entire breakdown for federal contributions can be found here and with only cursory examination it will be found that the federal conservatives are being funded by thousands and thousands of small individual donors. No hidden shadowy figure in control of the party or gross corporate influence. It took me about 3 minutes to google that information though, that is indeed much more effort than would be required in simply saying “follow the money” in a cryptic manner.

Ahh, but what about provincial parties particularly in capitalist Alberta? Corporations can contribute up to $15,000 in Alberta so surely that collection of corporate lackeys within the Wildrose Party is terribly beholden to those faceless organizations! Alas, in following the money it has been found that while the Wildrose Party has been setting new records in fundraising; 75% of those funds still come from individual donors. Assuming that a party acts solely based on where they can raise funds the Wildrose Party is clearly beholden to a large number of individual Albertans rather than those dark-souled corporate interests. People can find all the financial political information in detail here. It is not tough to follow the money in Alberta if a person wants to dedicate a little time to it.

With modern resources, disclosure and transparency it is becoming easier than ever to follow the money indeed. Environmentalist conspiracy theorists often demand that we follow the money when decrying the actions of the productive in industry. What is fun though is turning the gun around and following the money flowing towards our green little friends. When thinking of environmental extremists, the Greenpeace corporation is the first and largest one that comes to mind. Yes, in following the money, it can be found that Greenpeace is a $350 million per year multinational corporation that provides some pretty massive perks to line the pockets of their senior management teams. I mean hey, power to them. Greenpeace need only be accountable to it’s donors. Let’s not try to live under the illusion that Greenpeace is some sort of altruistic organization though. Even the founders of Greenpeace are pointing out how the organization is little more than a well funded corporation with an extreme left-wing agenda (seems almost counter intuitive).

Let’s face it, when we follow the money we find that there are big bucks to be made in the environmentalist industry. Thanks to people following the money, it has been found that Tides Canada has been laundering and filtering some pretty big foreign bucks to some extreme Canadian activist groups. Some of those patchouli scented punks you see at virtually every protest are actually rather well paid to be there. Due to listening to them and following the money though, Tides may (rightly) lose it’s charitable status soon.

Thanks must be given to Vivian Krause who has worked so hard to follow the money and has exposed so many of the rather well heeled fiscal shell games going on under the guise of environmental activism.

But what about those evil corporations in themselves? Who is benefiting from those boardroom monsters? Who are those suited villains really serving? Who really owns those megacorporations?

The answer to the above questions once we follow the money is: ALL OF US!!!!

It is frustrating how quickly people jump up to decry corporations when they won’t actually follow the money and see at least the basics of how these places work. Sure there are some individuals who we read about who have unimaginable amounts of money and assets. These people when added up still only make up a tiny portion of the ownership of large corporations. When looking into corporate ownership, banks, mutual fund groups, financial management, insurance companies and capital companies tend to be predominant. Where do those companies get their money? Well these companies get their funds from pension plans, insurance premiums and private RRSP type investments. Government pension plans are heavily invested in these corporations too.

Do you pay any kind of insurance premium? Well, it is the money made through the investments of your premiums that keeps the premiums within affordability. Do you plan to collect from the Canada Pension Plan when you retire? Well, the CPP is a huge corporate owner (in other words you are). If you are a part of any kind of private pension or savings plan, you are a corporate owner and are benefiting from corporate profits. Do you enjoy the lack of sales tax in Alberta? Well the revenues from investments by the Alberta Heritage Fund are much of what helps keep our taxes low (though there certainly is room to improve there).

So many people howl about corporations yet never give a second thought to how their investments grow. What makes your RRSP (hopefully) get bigger? It is not a magical fairy out there that makes your money grow when it is out of your hands, it is corporate profits and you are a beneficiary of them.

Just for a little more fun in following the money, I always love exposing union hypocrisy. While unions love to claim solidarity forever and supposedly support each other, that goes out the window when it comes to padding their own pockets. Follow the money to the Ontario Teacher’s Union pension plan.  Worth over $117 billion dollars, the OTPP is a major corporate player. The Ontario Teacher’s Union plan investments read like a who’s who of apparent evil corporate interests. The union invests billions in oil companies, pharmaceutical companies, banks and some very anti-union type organizations.

When one has over $100 billion in leverage, one could very easily control the actions of the company that one invests in. Why does the Ontario Teacher’s Union not wield that power for good? Why won’t the union come down on those vile corporations and make them clean up their ethical act? The answer is very simple; to do so would impact return on their investment. To put it in one word: hypocrisy

Yes, I finally listened to the left and followed the money. I think they may not like the conclusions. The next time somebody tells you to follow the money, may I suggest that you respond with another overused cliche: Be careful what you wish for…..


The facts will win in the end (not to mention economic reality).

Over the years we have seen nothing less than a barrage of hyperbole and outright untruths spread about the development of Alberta’s oilsands. Eco-zealots set aside all principle as they determine that the end (not that they can define that end) justifies any means in their cause against modern life.

The oilsands are an easy target. The scope of the resource is vast and the operations are large. Oilsand development happens in the deep Northwest end of Alberta along a dead end highway so very few Albertans will ever actually go up there in person to see what is actually happening in Alberta’s oilsands development. This allows those with a questionable agenda to fabricate whatever scenario they like and we can rest assured that these unprincipled environmentalists do not hesitate to do so.

I have worked up in Fort McMurray/Fort McKay many times. I will be the first to admit that the development is ugly at a glance. Large areas are strip mined (now most is in-situ) and the smell from the facilities spreads for miles. Water is used and on cold days plants emit vast clouds of steam as they return water to the eco-system through evaporation. Those images are used in trying to exaggerate the pollution of the plants of course. Keep in mind that the steam in the washroom as you shower is the same harmless substance.

The picture below I have taken from a site that indignantly has howled that we are strip mining an area the size of New York state. That is utter B.S. of course but such hysteria helps these environmental groups as they go door to door looking for your money and claiming that they are saving the planet for your children. Keep in mind, with the right camera angle I can make my backyard garden look like an ecological disaster in ground disturbance.

Strangely, the eco-shysters rarely post the pictures of strip mining in China, Russia or many other parts of the world which are larger and have little to no environmental controls.

Another thing the eco-crowd loves to try and claim is that trees never grow back and that it is impossible to reclaim any developed land. We certainly see that when logging projects are irrationally opposed. The pictures below show successful reclamation of oilsands land though the eco-fanatics have forgotten to add those in their crazy press releases.

 All of the above pictures are of lands that had been mined and reclaimed. Bunnies and Bambis are indeed happily frolicking and the eco-world has not ended there.

How about the nasty stuff happening downstream though?  The green gang has shrilly claimed that oilsands development is causing cancer in people living downstream on the Athabasca river? Thankfully, like so many claims by the self-styled environmentalist crowd the cancer thing a is 100% complete and undeniable falsehood. The entire thing was yet another fabrication made to scare people. Science totally debunked it (at great expense unfortunately). Even the CBC had to admit it.

The CBC next jumped on and reported a terrible leak of toxins from a tailings pond. OMG OMG. Children will shrivel! Fish will scream in agony!!!! The moon will fall from the sky!!!

Ooooopps. Looks like that leak thing was 100% untrue.

CBC and left leaning media seem to bury their corrections pretty deeply however. Who can forget the nasty looking three-jawed fish? Oh dear!!!!! Clearly the oilsands have caused this nasty deformity!!!! Put the picture on the front page!!! Stop the world!!!


Eco-kooks even took the fish on tour with them in their crusade against energy development.

OOOOPs, looks like the oilsands had absolutely nothing to do with the fish looking that way. Oh dear. Well, lets just bury that retraction on the latest hysterical environmental fabrication.

If people are going to take sides in an issue, may I suggest that they tend to dismiss the side of the issue that constantly engages in spreading falsehood?

We hear endless claims that there is no environmental regulation in energy development (total lie, we are among the strictest in the world) or that we are giving away our resources for free (aside from the 100s of billions paid), or that there is little to no reclamation. These are effective fundraising claims. Speaking to real issues such as particulate pollution or third-world developments are not effective when rattling the cup at the door.

Have no doubt folks, this is about money. Greenpeace is a multinational corporation making hundreds of millions of dollars per year. They need constant donors in order to pay their hundreds of activists who altruistically travel the world and live rather well.

Don’t just take my word for it though. Pictured below is Dr. Patrick Moore.

  Now, on the left you can see a picture of Dr. Moore when he co-founded Greenpeace.  Moore’s doctorate is in ecology by the way. Moore left Greenpeace decades ago when the organization totally lost sight of their environmental roots and turned into a fundraising machine. Dr. Moore is still very much concerned about the environment. He has now moved on to dealing realistically with issues.

Yes, Dr. Moore does not hang from buildings waving banners nor does he dump loads of fish in the offices of politicians. Moore simply deals with facts and reality. He does not get the headlines that environmental extremists do but his work is more enduring as it is based in fact.

Dr. Patrick Moore has declared:  “There is nobody with a better environment or human rights record selling oil in this world.” when speaking of Alberta’s energy industry.

That is the fact and it is simply undeniable. That fact will win in the end but we will have to be vigilant in countering the exaggerations of environmentalists as they fund-raise. We have to be vigilant in looking into the claims of these groups and looking at their interests.

The outcome of appeasement.

I finished yesterday’s rambling post by mentioning how people occasionally use the word compromise in a derisive manner when what they actually should be saying is appeasement.

 We see cowardly actions of appeasement quite often when the law and politicians are dealing with protesters of all sorts of stripes. I observed the G8 summit protests in Calgary in 2002 to observe just where the trouble stems from when these left-wing protests almost inevitably go off the rails. The police handed out brochures telling just what the bounds of peaceful demonstration are as people gathered. Ironically (as many of these protesters are self-styled environmentalists) most of the brochures were thrown to the ground and they littered the area quickly. I watched masked people lunging at a fence and lifting their masks to spit on police officers who stoically restrained themselves from retaliating from these assaults. I observed windows being smashed from legitimate businesses who were unfortunate enough to be in the path of the mob. I saw a few people arrested when their activities went well beyond the pale.

 I later read that those arrested were given tiny, token fines for their activities. In light of that, is it any wonder that these violent protests continue?

 A couple weeks ago, the kooks from Greenpeace trespassed on a Shell oilsands facility and stopped production in that section for almost two days.  The protest was ended when:

“”As long as we removed ourselves, (they) agreed to release us without any charges, either criminal or civil,” said Mike Hudema of Greenpeace.”

 OK, so these clowns broke the law, put themselves and others at risk and cost Shell untold money as production was halted. For these actions they were allowed to go their merry way with no consequences. Guess what happened?

 Yes, Greenpeace moved on and decided to block production at a Suncor facility.  In this case, the idiots actually chained themselves to a conveyor putting themselves (which is fine by me) and the workers/police (not ok by me) at risk as these twits had to be removed.

 Is this really a surprise though? The attempted appeasement at the Shell site simply told these people that they may disregard the law with impunity. They got the press they sought, they halted production and they paid no price. Of course these guys were willing to do it again. It really does not take a genius to realize that this would be the outcome of appeasement.

 The fools have indeed been charged this time at least. Twenty-one nuts were arrested and charged with criminal mischief over $5,000. It is worthy of note that only one of these kooks was actually Albertan and most of them are not even Canadian. I hope the courts press these charges to the full extent that they can. This crap has to stop.

 Further to the charges to the individuals, I strongly feel that Greenpeace itself should be sued and possibly closed down for encouraging criminal activity. Greenpeace is a multi-national corporation who had a net income of $202 million CDN in 2006. They can surely afford to cover the lost revenue they have cost while attacking these energy facilities.

 David Swann demonstrated his usual disconnect from reality on this issue with this statement:

“These are massive projects with significant potential to impact the environment and human health, and I think it’s incumbent on both government and the industry to review their security measures,” said Liberal Leader David Swann

 WOW. Talk about blaming the victim there Swann. The criminal and dangerous assault on oilfield facilities was the fault of the facility owners for not having stopped the criminals from entering. I have spent time working up there. These are facilities in isolated areas and they are well marked. People don’t accidentally stumble into them. What would be more effective Mr. Swann would be charging these fools when they purposely break the law.

 Peaceful demonstration is a vital right. We keep appeasing when demonstrators cross the line of legality though and we really should not be surprised when the lawbreaking escalates.

 There are many rational and effective environmental groups that have good points to make and are worth listening to. Greenpeace however is not one of these groups. Filling offices with fish and countless expensive and criminal trespasses do not do anything to serve the environment and the allowing of these actions must stop. Greenpeace is a large corporation and they should be held accountable for their criminal actions.

 Oh yes, and I shed no tears when the Rainbow Warrior sank.

Rainbow Warrior


 Compromise is finding a middle ground. Compromise is impossible with criminal extremists such as those with Greenpeace. Greenpeace seeks no middle ground, they only seek more publicity to fund their giant corporation. Appeasement with extremists like these is pointless.

Myths are easier to spread than facts.

 Last week some time while listening to an afternoon radio show a caller called in and claimed that he had spent most of his life working in the oilsands of Fort McMurray. He then went on a tirade about how there are absolutely no environmental controls, no penalties for environmental offenses perpetuated by operators up there and no monitoring of environmental impact up there. The show then went to the news and this idiot’s clearly untrue ravings went completely unchecked.

 Now this is significant in a couple ways. People with an enviro-chip on their shoulders will not hesitate for a second to completely fabricate a case in pursuing their anti-industry goals. I have worked in the oilfield for most of my adult life. In all aspects from exploration to development, the industry is heavily monitored, regulated and punished if found to be in infraction. In five minutes of google work, anybody can find that surface mining of oilsands so far has disturbed .01% of the boreal forest (which will be reclaimed) and only .1% of the entire forest is even minable. Documentation of the reclamation efforts, the regulations and the monitoring are exceedingly easy to find. Despite that, the latte-lappers of urban areas who oppose the oilsands would rather continue to blather outright untruths. If these people will lie baldfaced to us, what indeed is their goal?

 Another point to be found is how easy it is for a myth to get out there and how little effort the media makes to disprove untruths. Hey, if it bleeds it leads. It is much more exciting to forecast the pending (though unproven) end of the planet than to show that the environment and wildlife are perfectly fine. A desicated deer dying on a roadside provides more voyeuristic pleasure to the readership than presenting the reality that deer have been wasting away due to overpopulation.

 A great example of this was the mythical two-jawed Goldeye caught in the Athabasca river last summer. Below is the headline that the Calgary Herald printed:

Two-jawed mutant fish fuels oilsands dissent!

Good heavens!!!!! A mutant!!! Lock up the children!! Call in the army!! The world is ending!!!!

Here is the picture of this clear environmental atrocity:


 Gotta admit he is an ugly little devil. Of course this prompted Greenpeace and the usual subjects to cry out that we must halt all oilsands development and offshoot gang of eco-nuts; “Keepers of the Water” displayed this horrific specimen at conferences around the province as visible proof that oilsands development is destroying the planet. The media eagerly lapped this up and our little fishy made headlines across the world.

 When the hype finally played out, the fish was released for actual study.

 Well,  a few weeks ago deeply buried in the odd newspaper we see this news item: Freakish fish is really a normal specimen.  

 Yup. After biologists at the University of Alberta finally got to view the fish, it was quickly determined that this was a perfectly normal Goldeye. Apparently, his kind of fish has a rough, toothed tongue which after death commonly protrudes below the jaw looking as if there is a second jaw. Nothing unusual, nothing new.

 This of course hardly made headlines. Were the people who were hysterical about this myth at least a little bit sheepish? This comment following the story says it all:  “Hmm.. sounds like another government cover up. They are trying to convince the public that there is nothing toxic about pulp mills or oil sands.”

 Yes, when the facts come against them the eco-nuts dismiss it as a government conspiracy (unchecked of course by the media). There is no reasoning with these people.

 Another fallacy that the eco-crowd loves to spread is the apparent cancer increase in residents of Fort Chipewyan who live downstream of the oilsands. This began when a lone doctor up there claimed that there is an unusual increase of certain kinds of cancer in the area. Alberta health rushed up there and studied the issue. No increase was found. This clearly being a conspiracy, another study was demanded. That study did indeed conclude that there was a higher rate of cancer in the area!! It was found that the cancers were completely unrelated to those that the original doctor claimed were occurring but there was indeed a higher incident. The headlines trumpeted this claim of a new plague decimating the region of course. What was not mentioned very much however is that almost all of the isolated first nations communities in Canada have elevated cancer rates. This has nothing to do with pollution and everything to do with those communities being in a socio-economic nightmare with the majority practicing some terrifically unhealthy lifestyles.

 If pollutants were leaking into that water supply, rest assured that the massive monitoring system would pick up on that. Of course, if a person is disconnected with reality and feels that it is a global conspiracy of heartless animals who want to kill our entire northern population, how can you reason with them?

 I can see how some of the shallow readership of papers will absorb this garbage without doing research on their own. These eco-activists know damn well what they are spreading is utter B.S. however. These people lie in the face of the public without batting an eye. Apparently the ends justify the means to these unprincipled fools. Of course, something that is often overlooked is that groups such as Greenpeace and the Sierra Club are large multi-national multi-million dollar organizations. There are plenty of six-figure incomes that would be at risk in the eco-industry if facts were suddenly addressed. Why would people donate if indeed the world were not ending.

 Patrick Moore was one of the original founders of Greenpeace. He left when the organization changed from an environmental group to essentially a self-serving, multi-million dollar corporation. They hate Moore as he has been saying it like it is.

 But hey! Why lets facts get in the way of a decent myth?