Council of Canadian Academics a Harper Phony Think Tank

7 05 2014

May 6: Let me go back a few days……

The big news for today is the banner headline  on page 1 of the Times and Transcript. “Roads are a priority for Dieppe: Mayor” That’s right up there with keeping a full supply of toilet paper in city hall washrooms.Big story on A4, A local cat has been inducted into the Purina Hall of Fame for alerting its owners to a house fire. Well, we’ve had worse. There is, for example, our philanthropic hall of fame.

But let’s go back a bit on the shale gas report story.

This was the report of the Canadian Council of Academies on shale gas, touted as a study by experts on the safety of shale gas. This is the one that was featured in the Irving press, that has some members of our Energy Board on it, and that advised us to go slow on shale gas until we know more.

Though I was kind to the first news story that appeared on this, I was uneasy. I was kind because it was one of very few news stories in the TandT that was well written, and that appeared to be unbiased. For the same reasons, I was suspicious.

By the final story, I was convinced this was a con job. The Irving press never tells the truth in a story that has anything to do with its owners. And the repeated reference to a moratorium rather than a ban on fracking fit in to the Liberal platform (which is a sellout), and could even be accommodated by the Conservatives.

Reason? Frackers have no intention of immediate development. A go slow policy suits them fine. So they’ll come this summer to pretend they are doing research – when they are really checking the potential of the oil fields. Then, in a couple of  years, they’ll issue a report saying they have completed their research, and have suggested the world’s toughest regulations to make it safe.

So I checked to find out something about the people who issued the report, The Council of Canadian Academies.  Got the image in your head of independent university researchers with a full range of expertise for the job?

Forget it.

The CCA is a private corporation. It was chosen by Harper to do the job. In other words, this is the equivalent of those phony think tanks. Recently, I had a note from a very trusted information source who attended their meetings.

They refused to address well known problems of the shale gas industry, including high greenhouse gas emissions, unreliable pipe failure rates.

None of the members is an authority on public health. It refused to discuss recent reports on congenital birth defects and other abnormalities associated with shale gas.

This lying of the Irvinig press is more sophisticated lying than usual. But it’s still lying.

And, gee, is it possible to buy academics to play such a game? You bet it is. Most will refuse. But there are plenty left for a lifetime of phony reports. These private, ‘research’ companies routinely work the universities looking for people with titles who will say the right things. I was approached by one of them many years ago. It was like getting propositioned by a pimp.a

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