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When a clock strikes 13, you can never trust it again.

So it must be for anyone who lies about information he is using to back up a serious scientific statement upon which a great deal is at stake.

Mark Hume had an article in Sunday’s Globe and Mail BC Edition which, in a world of decent journalism, would be a headline story, titled ENBRIDGE CHEATS ON SCIENTIFIC PAPER ON THREAT TO CARIBOU.

In fact Mark does this a lot and our newspaper chiefs should blush with shame but they don’t do that very well. I leave it to you to read this superlative article but suffice it to say that Enbridge has been caught out big time and if it weren’t for Mark they would have gotten away with it.

in a 2011 paper in support of their ghastly pipeline proposal, Enbridge claimed that their project would have little or no impact on caribou.

This issue hasn’t been dealt with much but it should be.

Caribou, like deer, moose, antelope, etc., are ungulates whose main enemy is the wolf. When nature is left alone, wolves kill so many ungulates that their numbers get knocked down, whereupon the wolves, now short of food, starve, while the ungulates recover – and on it goes. Nature is cruel but has rules we break at our peril. The very last thing we should do is interfere with this cycle, which is why it’s so necessary that man’s imprint on the wilderness be as light as possible.

This is why Enbridge is getting concerned enough to put out a presentation, purporting to be based on science, demonstrating its innocence in advance. I add parenthetically, as Mark points out, Enbridge’s proposals cannot be taken in isolation of other impacts.

Enbridge clearly didn’t expect anyone to challenge their work and hung their hat on a scientific paper that simply did not exist. This gets interesting.

In a notation backing their “scientific argument”, the sort which one expects in scientific papers, they referred to “Francis et al 2002”. Hell, whoever checks these sorts of things out?

Of all the bad luck, an environmental lawyer named Chris Tollefson looked up this reference and it didn’t exist!

Ah, but Enbridge has an answer. Whoopsy Daisy, we filed an errata correcting that, and this really should have referred to “Salmo and Diversified (2003)”.

Just a silly little error we cleared up.

Except that pesky lawyer went further and found that Salmo and Diversified (2003) had based their findings on “Francis et al 2002” – the paper that didn’t exist!

Well, you surely ask, “Francis (2002)” must have been something.

Indeed it was. It referred to a power point presentation made by an independent ecologist who had nothing to do with Enbridge to a wildlife conference about, get this, Yukon Caribou!

One expects corporations to hire, shall we say, friendly scientists. In the Kemano Completion case some years ago, Alcan’s entire case was based upon reports from an engineering firm which was nothing more nor less than Alcan’s poodle.

What you don’t expect, God Damn it, is outright deceit!

Propositions you don’t agree with, questionable scientific propositions with, yes. Deceit, no.

Enbridge takes environmental matters so lightly that it expects to be able to publish whatever crap it wants and no one will bother to check them out. A nosy lawyer and a journalist with the guts to print and we know what we’ve always suspected of this company, better known for its disgraceful environmental disasters than its pipelines.

Now, about that clock that struck 13…

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