WEYBURN – Commentator Rex Murphy wondered aloud if the organizers of the 2022 Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Show had made a mistake in inviting him back for a second time, but it was clear from the applause throughout his speech he had many fans in the audience.
Murphy is well-known at the national level as a commentator, having hosted a show on CBC Radio for 21 years, and currently writes a column in the National Post along with hosting a YouTube channel.
He spoke at the Thursday luncheon for the Oil and Gas Show, but had been a visitor at the show since the kickoff supper on Tuesday evening.
Murphy touched on many aspects of the political issues facing Canada, and in particular how they have impacted and hurt the oil and gas sector, and offered his unique take on federal politics and the nature of being Canadian.
“One thing I would like to underscore before I talk specifically about anything relating to the oil and gas industry, is this country is, in so many ways, in such a mess. I’m not making a political speech, and I’m really not partisan despite what people say. This country is having some really strange moments. Of all the strange moments, and we’ve had so very, very many, is this whole business of the truckers protest,” said Murphy, who prefaced his comments by making note that he considers most protests to be theatrical and not driven by any fundamental impulse, but are organized with a goal in mind, often fundraising in nature.
The truckers protest in Ottawa, however, he considered as a real protest or “organic”, as in it grew from ordinary citizens making a protest over issues they disagreed with, whether people agreed with them or not.
Murphy’s main problem was with the unwarranted use of the Emergencies Act by the Trudeau government.
“We bring in the Emergencies Act, which at any other time is meant for a genuine emergency. There was not a single capital city in the entire country, and that includes Ottawa, that had the slightest whiff of any sort of menace from this protest. It was civil, it was demure, and it was actually happy. That we should bring down legislation to suspend civil liberties for the entire country for seven days, and it didn’t even make it to the Senate … I read yesterday in the newspaper it will be at least seven months before it’s possible to conduct an inquiry into whether the Emergencies Act was justified in the first place,” he said.
He noted it only took about two days around Trudeau’s cabinet table to decide to bring it in, and asked, “Why does it take seven months to tell the general public, whose civil liberties were interrupted so savagely, three reasons they figured out in two days? It really is amazing. We’ve gone through COVID. The political class is completely disunited from the public. This is the reason why I’m here – you’re second tier out here, you’re peripheral. I don’t say that with glee, I actually like Confederation, I actually like Canada.”
Murphy moved on to the environment, and said Canada now has a new national goal.
“What is this sterling reason that will stir us from our beds and from our fireplaces, with the cry of exultation, ‘we have a great national goal!’ What is it? It’s brilliant as a word formula: it’s net zero. When will a country marshal its energies behind net zero?” he asked.
“The slogan itself is meaningless, they don’t believe the end-goal themselves, and I’ll tell you something else. Climate change … you see the journalists ask, ‘do we have a climate change plan?’ You can’t have a climate change plan. The climate is going to do what it wants to do, whether Justin Trudeau puts a carbon tax on you or not,” he said to laughter and applause.
Murphy said the oil and gas industry has inexplicably, for the last 10 or 15 years, been vilified by the Liberal government and by environmentalists.
“The oil and gas industry in this country has for the last 15 years, tacitly or explicitly, you have been declared a menace to the world. You have been declared world destroyers, you have been made villains. To support the oil and gas industry, as I have done, has been a wonderful way to harvest all sorts of extreme abuse,” said Murphy.
He pointed out that half the countries of the world would weep to have even a third of the energy resources that Canada has, which God or Providence has bestowed upon Canada.
“We have resources of oil and gas and their derivatives upon which all modern civilization depends, on which the security of nations depends, and we have a cluster of politicians and eco-lunatics who keep telling you this is the material of Armageddon,” he said. “We have these dancers in Ottawa saying, ‘well, we can’t close down the oil and gas industry tomorrow’. They weren’t saying ‘omg, that’s too bad’, they were saying it with a tone of sorrow. This is insane! That is the word for it.”
The politicians and environmentalists would never hold a climate change conference in Red Deer or Fort McMurray, he added. “They haven’t met one of you, they know nothing of what you do. They are careless in the extreme, … (and they) demonize it and demonize the people that work in it. I can’t be alone in thinking, this transcends all reason, and goes on to be irresponsible.”
Murphy asked if a Third World country had these resources, “would they put in an embargo on pipelines? That’s another thing that really, really astonishes me. Pipelines are going to end the world?! You have a whole province basically being strangulated by a federal policy of its own government. How does this happen?”
It was his contention that energy of all kinds, including oil and gas, are needed by all sectors of society, including science and technology, and without any energy, “there is nothing.”