Contesting the Trans Mountain Pipeline: Carbon capital & corporate media vs local resistance

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Presented by Robert A. Hackett

Lectures, talks and seminars

Film & Media Studies Research Seminar Series

10 Oct 2019 12:00 pm to 10 Oct 2019 1:00 pm

81 Fairlie Terrace, Room 103 (81FT103)

This talk focuses on the important environmental struggle happening around Canada's Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project (TMX). What can be learned about the political and communicative resources, strategies and vulnerabilities of the pipeline's promoters, most notably Canada's “petrobloc” (eg, Texas-based Kinder Morgan corporation and its political and media allies), and those of its opposition from Indigenous First Nations, environmentalists, affected residents, and the provincial and many city governments?

Canada's Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project (TMX) catalyzed one of the world's 'top 4' current environmental struggles, according to Bill McKibben. If completed, TMX will triple the capacity of the existing pipeline to carry bitumen to potential export markets from the world's largest industrial project—the massive Alberta oil/tar sands—with implications not only for global heating, but for Indigenous rights, the economy, and political polarization in Canada.

This talk focuses on what can be learned about the political and communicative resources, strategies and vulnerabilities of the pipeline's promoters – notably the Texas-based Kinder Morgan corporation, and its political and media allies, all of which can be conceptualized as part of Canada's petrobloc. I pay particular attention to the local level in the Vancouver region -- "ground zero" for the TMX terminal -- where unprecedented opposition from Indigenous First Nations, environmentalists, affected residents, and the provincial and many city governments have delayed it for several years. Particular attention is paid to the contrast between corporate and independent/alternative media vis-à-vis the issue. The resistance led Kinder Morgan to walk away from TMX in 2018, albeit with a lucrative buyout from the Trudeau federal government, a 'nationalization' that has altered the nature of the struggle. What are the implications for the next steps?

For more information contact: Kathleen Kuehn

Speaker Bios

Robert A. Hackett is professor emeritus of communication at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver.  He has written extensively on journalism, political communication, and media representation.  His research interests include media democratization as a social movement, news media and climate change, and peace journalism, objectivity, and other journalism paradigms in relation to democracy.  Hackett’s collaborative books include Journalism for Climate Crisis) (2017), Expanding Peace Journalism (2011), Remaking Media: The struggle to democratize public communication (2006), and Sustaining Democracy? Journalism and the politics of objectivity (1998).