Pipe dream a nightmare

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Published: Nov 25 2014, 01:01:am

Saturday, November 25, 2014

     Are we finally getting serious about the environment? Reporters used words such as "groundbreaking" and "breakthrough" to describe the apparent meeting of the minds in Beijing. Meanwhile, Texas-based multinational Kinder Morgan, a pipeline corporation built on the ruins of the infamous Enron by that company's former chief operating officer, Richard Kinder, faces major opposition from angry citizens in B.C.

    As of Sunday, the day that environmental icon Dr. David Suzuki joined the protestors, more than 50 citizens have been arrested for violating a court injunction granting the energy company access to public land for surveying prior to a planned doubling of its Trans Mountain Pipeline from the Alberta Tar Sands. (Among those arrested, according to Rabble.ca, were J. B. MacKinnon, bestselling author of The 100-Mile Diet, Suzuki's grandson Tamo Campos, and Professor Lynne Quarmby, chair of the molecular biology and biochemistry department at Simon Fraser University.)

    Back in 1978, Suzuki narrated a documentary feature called Tankerbomb that set out the dangers of increased oil tanker traffic off the B.C. coast. Yesterday (November 24), The Tyee posted a Kinder Morgan Reader that noted the pipeline company's suspect safety record.

    A company that could be called Spills 'R' Us is moving ahead with a plan to increase tanker traffic through Burrard Inlet — that's Vancouver's harbour — by seven-fold. And the suits in Houston wonder why people are upset.

    Corporate press releases notwithstanding, British Columbians have done the math. Transporting Alberta's dilbit through our province is a high-risk proposition with no offsetting advantages, economic or social. China, the intended market for the pipeline's contents, has recently struck long-term deals with Russia for their oil, and with the U.S. to reduce emissions.

    Today, our air and water is relatively clean. A lot of good people have come to believe that civil disobedience is the only way to keep it that way.

    Tomorrow, visitors can expect to find two new postings to Reeling Back. My ten most recent were:

OUR FEATURE FILM FEST: 4 — In Part 4 of a 20-part series, Reeling Back continues the restoration of the 1997 Greater Vancouver Book Feature Film Festival, with notes on the four features in the program devoted to documentary features. (Posted November 24)

AMAZON WOMEN ON THE MOON — It took five directors working with an A-list budget to produce this 1987 parody of B-movie stereotypes, a star-filled feature that managed to include a cameo role for professional sci-fi fan Forrest J Ackerman.  (Posted November 24)

TIME BANDITS — Director Terry Gilliam's 1981 tale of a schoolboy's encounter with some renegade employees of the Supreme Being blazed the trail for today's many film and television re-imaginings of traditional literature and folklore. (Posted November 22)

OUR FEATURE FILM FEST: 3 — In Part 3 of the 20-part series, Reeling Back continues its restoration of 1997's Greater Vancouver Book Feature Film Festival with notes on the 13 features in a program called Cybercity. (Posted November 20)

SURFACING — The first feature film adaptation of a novel by CanLit diva Margaret Atwood, this 1981 North Woods melodrama was directed by Montreal's Claude Jutra. (Posted November 18)

LIFEFORCE — Mankind's first landing of a space probe on a comet brought to mind director Tobe Hooper's 1985 science-fiction thriller, the story of a mission to Halley's Comet and of the cosmic vampire it awakens. (Posted November 16)

JANIS — The legendary Canadian documentarist F.R. "Budge" Crawley demonstrated his mastery of a new film form, the rockumentary, with this 1974 musical biography of blues singer Janis Joplin. The producer discussed the business of filmmaking with me in two interviews, conversations from 1975 and 1976. (Posted November 14)

HEARTS AND MINDS — In his 1975 documentary on America's Vietnam War, director Peter Davis offered a valuable counter to the official "glory of war" narrative currently being promoted by Canada's government during this year's Remembrance Day ceremonies. (Posted November 11)

OUR FEATURE FILM FEST: 2 — In Part 2 of a 20-part series, Reeling Back continues its restoration of the 1997 Greater Vancouver Book Feature Film Festival with notes on the 12 features in a program called God's Country. (Posted November 10)

CITIZEN KANE — Events such as Vancouver's 2014 Media Democracy Days focus on the fact that journalism is a craft under attack as never before. In his 1941 feature film classic, Orson Welles told the story of one milestone in the growth of the corporate press at the heart of today's problems. (Posted November 7)