Monthly Archives: February 2011

God’s Work


It’s been hard to miss the onslaught of television and full-page print ads trumpeting how environmentally friendly the oil sands are. (They’re called “oil sands” now, not the more apt “tar sands.” Big Oil: 1, Earth: 0.) They all feature photography of “real people” – do-gooders all – against a natural backdrop. You know the ads are authentic because the skies are not blue. They’re grey, and the lighting is all dark and sombre. This isn’t just a PR-job. This is a realistic assessment of the situation. And you know what? It ain’t as bad as it’s being painted by David Suzuki and his followers. And Big Oil is really trying to do a good job. Which is why they’re shoveling so much money into these ads.

When I looked for a spokesperson to use for this cartoon, I found that the person behind this campaign, Janet Annesley, VP Communications, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, had a video online in which she talks about her motivation, inspiration, etc. – all very much like the ads she has commissioned. Yes, her father and grandfather were in communications. (Since this cartoon was printed in the December issue of Alternatives Journal, the video has  been pulled from the Rising Stars feature, though her name is still on it. A screen capture is below.)

Believe it or not, the the second-panel sentence, “When I started in the oil sands, I was told, ‘You’re doing God’s work now,'” is a direct quote. I ran with it. Impossible not to. And thus, on the seventh day, my “day of rest” punchline was formed. Thanks Janet.

But nobody will know. They’ll think I’m just being over-the-top again. Sigh.