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Tom Kirkman

Deidra Garyk: Why I work in oil and gas

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Deidra Garyk: Why I work in oil and gas

Opinion: "When (environmentalists) attack the industry, they're not attacking some abstract corporate entity — they're attacking me"

I work in oil and gas. I don’t work on a drilling rig, I don’t work in the oilsands, and I’m not a male executive sitting around a boardroom table. I don’t fit those stereotypes. I am a female who works in an office tower in downtown Calgary for a natural gas producer, and I’m proud of the work I do.

When I was younger, I supported the Green Party when their goals were pragmatic protection of the environment and the economy. Caring for the environment has always been very important to me. It became even more important after I spent some time living in Asia. The city I lived in was densely populated, loud, dirty and polluted. I had to boil my water to drink it. I had to wear a face mask while driving my scooter. I could barely see the sun through the thick brown smog, and didn’t see blue sky for four months until I left the city to visit a beach.

This exposure to the ugliness of poor environmental policy impacted me to my core. I don’t want to have to live like that again, so I care about what we do to the environment, both locally and globally. It’s because of my first-hand experiences that I have unwavering support for Canada’s oil and gas sector.  


I may be one of the quiet majority, but I will not be silent. The anti-oil and gas activists have gone beyond wanting pragmatic protection of the environment. Their stated goal is to shut down Canada’s oil and gas industry. They oppose my work. This is misguided, short-sighted and is due to a lack of understanding of the people who work in this industry and our desire to be stewards of the resources and the environment.

Lost in the noise created by the opponents of responsible energy resource development is the fact that Canada has the highest environmental standards in the world. We set the bar for developing our energy resources in the cleanest possible ways. We also have a gold standard regulatory process, as witnessed recently by the National Energy Board decision that the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline does not fall under federal jurisdiction and that B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office is the correct regulator of this project. Not only do our regulators have high standards, they have a higher-than-usual degree of common sense.


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