OpEd – Michael Binnion: 109 Nincompoops

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Michael Binnion is the CEO of Questerre Energy.

109 different groups who told you the planet was dying because of single-use plastics, just wrote a letter to their friends in the Liberal Government encouraging them to use the current crisis to end oil in Canada.  The very oil that is used to make the single-use plastics that have made dramatic progress in the fight against infectious disease.  The oil that makes the products that keep our food more hygienic.  The oil that makes the products for personal protection gear for front line workers in hospitals.  The oil that makes the single-use plastic ventilator tubes.  These delusional people didn’t think about hygiene and infectious disease when they launched multi-million dollar campaigns to ban single-use plastics.  They could have easily called it the ‘don’t worry about pandemics campaign because the planet needs you.’


These people also asked for new taxes, for taxpayer subsidies and created divestment campaigns to spend trillions on renewable energy.  Yes, there have been trillions spent already getting ready for a climate disaster.  Is there anyone who doesn’t now wish some of this money went into emergency response for pandemics?  Some of the more radical of these groups have even had celebratory posts about our current crisis.  Things like the “virus isn’t the problem, people are the problem”.  They spent even more millions, if not billions on this campaign of ‘don’t worry about pandemics because the planet needs you’


Normal people would be embarrassed that their nincompoopery diverted us from preparing for the current crisis.  Normal people would be so ashamed they would be grateful for the Government mandated opportunity to hide isolated in their homes and hope no one remembered their myopic single focus on one of societies problems to the exclusion of all others.  Reasonable people might have gone so far as admitting the crisis shows we need a balanced approach, but we can’t forget the planet as we fight for our health and society.  Principled people might have even publicly apologized and offered some of their millions in campaign funds to help save lives from COVID. 


Not our friends in the 109 groups below.  They are so out of touch with the reality people are facing today they think now is the time to double down on getting rid of the very product essential to keep us healthy and to fight the pandemic.  You can’t build a windmill with a windmill and you can’t fight a pandemic with one either.  There couldn’t be a worse time for our health care, for our society or for our road to economic recovery to be indulging these schmucks.   


Now is a time for grown-ups.  Courageous leaders and people are needed to make the tough decisions.  We need to bolster our health care system now and for the future too.  We need to make financial sacrifices and ensure we help our most vulnerable when there are no jobs.  We need to get ourselves on the road to recovery as soon as possible to save our society.  Nothing in that suggests reasonable people can’t care about the planet we live on at the same time.


Yet 109 groups actually thought a juvenile prank to lease an airplane and ironically pay for jet fuel, to advertise their ‘don’t worry about pandemics let’s end oil campaign’, was a mature thing to do.  That they choose to be a repeat customer of the oil and gas business they want us to end just as we need it more than ever is simply breathtaking in its shameless hypocrisy.  I wish I was making all this up.


Our Government has a choice.  Show their contempt for the 109 groups or show their contempt for average Canadians struggling with the COVID19 crisis.  For grown-ups this isn’t even a choice.

This is a list of the 109 organizations who participated in the letter campaign:

Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE),  Climate Action Network Canada, Nature Québec, LeadNow, Équiterre, Wilderness Committee, Environmental Defence, Council of Canadians, Greenpeace Canada, 350 Canada, Stand.Earth, ENvironnement JEUnesse, North99, SumofUs, Climate Strike Canada, The WaterWealth Project, Shift, Burnaby BROKE, R.A.V.E.N. Trust, Sierra Club BC, Georgia Strait Alliance, Leap Montreal, Friends of the Earth – Canada, Canadian Engaged Buddhism Association, West Kootenay EcoSociety, Trinity St Paul’s United Church, PIPE UP Network, CREW, Glasswaters Foundation, Mississauga Climate Action, Ecologos Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice, Earth Day Canada / Jour de la Terre, Centre de ressources sur la non-violence, Gazoduq parlons-en!, Green Wave West, ClimateFast, Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique (AQLPA), Le Pacte pour la transition, Green 13, MediCorner, Équipe de la Déclaration d’urgence climatique – DUC, Extinction Rebellion Québec, Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition, Extinction Rebellion Ville de Québec, Les Pollués de Montréal-Trudeau, Parkdale High Park for Climate Action, Mouvement écocitoyen UNEplanète, Eau Secours, Oil Change International, Transition Capitale-Nationale, Fridays for Future Guelph, Climate Justice Montreal // Justice climatique Montreal, L’Assomption en transition, Climate Justice Edmonton, MistEarth, Divest UVic, Noor Cultural Centre, Sustainabiliteens Vancouver, La Planète s’invite au Parlement, Fridays For Future Whitby, Sustainable Durham, Coalition Fjord, Climate Justice Saskatoon, Climate Justice Ottawa, Creating Healthy and Sustainable Environments, Coalition Anti-Pipeline Rouyn-Noranda, Sipekne’katik Grassroots Grandmothers Circle, Solidarity with Alton Gas Resistance, Extinction Rebellion Vancouver, Toronto Environmental Alliance, Extinction Rebellion Nova Scotia, Sierra Club Canada Foundation, Ontario Clean Air Alliance, Fondation Rivières, People’s Climate Movement (Toronto and GTA), MiningWatch Canada, La planète s’invite en santé (LPSS), Coalition solidarité santé, Green Economy Network / Réseau pour une économie verte, TerraVie, Association pour la Taxation des Transactions financières pour l’Aide aux Citoyens (ATTAC), Canadian Interfaith Fast for the Climate, The Healthy Forest Coalition, Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain-CSN, KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, GMob, New/Mode, Coalition Étudiante pour un Virage Environnemental et Social (CEVES),Canadian Voice of Women for Peace,  Concordia Students for Climate Justice, Creating Healthy and Sustainable Environments (CHASE), Mouvement d’éducation populaire et d’action communautaire du Québec (MÉPACQ), GASP – Grand(M)others Act to Save the Planet, Réseau québécois des groupes écologistes, Mobilisation environnement Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Divest McGill, Comité des citoyens et citoyennes pour la protection de l’environnement maskoutain (CCCPEM),  Rising Tide North America, The Climate Reality Project Canada /Le Projet de la réalité climatique Canada


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