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The British press arrives in Alberta’s oilsands — armed with ignorance and fake news

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David Frum, the Canadian-born American journalist, once outed The Economist magazine as mostly written by unnamed freelancers who, in the style common to the British-based weekly, used an authoritative tone to persuade readers that its writers know more than they actually do. It was a devastating, but fair observation.

An example of Frum’s assessment — and why it matters — was on full display in a recent edition that slammed Canada’s energy sector. The Economist, in so doing, offered its readers misleading analysis. Its mistakes are relevant — and correcting them important — because the magazine’s readership includes people in elected and corporate head offices around the world.

So where did The Economist get it wrong? Let’s start with how in its December attack on energy extraction in Canada (“Justin Trudeau’s climate plans are stuck in Alberta’s tar sands”), the magazine claimed Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is “demanding that the federal government speed up construction of a new pipeline to the west coast.” This was in reference to the proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

But of course, Trans Mountain is hardly “new.” It was started in 1951 and was completed in 30 months, by October 1953. Today’s proposed project is an expansion — a twinning of its existing pipeline to triple capacity.

The Economist was........

© Financial Post