Conservatives tout fossil fuels as way to improve air and water quality

A new parliamentary report released by the Conservatives touts fossil fuels as a way to improve air and water quality and expand human lifespans.

Entitled The Cross-Canada Benefits of the Oil and Gas Industry, the report of the House of Commons committee on natural resources is the culmination of a four-month study undertaken by the Conservative-dominated committee.

(Both the NDP and Liberals refused to sign on to the report this week and instead wrote dissenting opinions, outlining how the process abandoned objectivity and balance resulting "in simply allowing cheerleading for oil and gas." That meant testimony about "the net benefit assessment of the oil and gas sector" was not permitted, and a more complete discussion about Canada's energy risks and opportunities could not be discussed, they wrote.)

The Conservatives relied heavily on the testimony of University of Toronto geography professor Pierre Desrochers, affiliated with right wing think tanks Montreal Economic InstituteFrontier Centre for Public Policy and the Mercatus Center, to conclude that the development of the oil and gas industry "generates various environmental benefits, including improved air quality, water quality, and reforestation."

Here are some other gems from Desrochers that found their way into the report:

"According to Mr. Desrochers, 'our planet is today much greener because of fossil fuels' because we use natural resources from underground, and not from the surface, as our ancestors used to do."

"Canada’s carbon fuel abundance is an economic and environmental blessing."

"As a direct result, every indicator of human well-being (from life expectancy, income per capita, hunger, and infant mortality to child labour and education) improved dramatically as soon as the use of carbon fuels became widespread."

And here are clips of Desrochers, a resident expert on Sun News Network and Fox News.

Photo: 4blueeyes. Used under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 2.0 licence.