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Husky vs. Suncor

Megan Milton

If you're like us, you were raised in the utopic haze of Kratz creatures. They told you to make an animal friend today and by god we've spent our lives chasing the unattainable white whale of lemur friendship. Few companies in our bracket come close to the crimes against critters of two of Canada's largest and spilliest oil companies. 
It's Suncor and Huskey Energy. If you're not prepared to see oily fowl turn back now. 
A great blue heron from the Saskatchewan Husky spill in 2016 that is decidedly not blue anymore because of the environmental catastrophe. 

The name Husky may ring a bell to you if you grew up in a highway town and ever needed desperation pancakes at a weird hour after an early night of underage drinking. But it's also the public face of a truly terrible company.

Just a few months ago In Husky spilled 900,000 liters of "produced water" (aka: a byproduct of oil and gas production that sometimes contains residual petroleum and "chemicals") in northern Alberta. They seem to be on a mission to make the prairies as toxic as my mother, because Husky pleaded guilty to permitting the spill of 225,000 liters of "heavy crude oil in water frequented by fish" in the North Saskatchewan River.

They're also wreaking havoc on Newfoundland both environmentally and financially. 

  • In 2018 they had a leak of 250,000 liters offshore in Newfoundland. The spill was described as "nearly the length of Fogo Island".
  • The federal government gave Husky $41.5 million in 2020 with no guarantees the company would restart operations in Newfoundland and bring jobs back

 

A duck covered in oil in a Syncrude tailing pond
Suncor is also running afoul of fowl, regularly having birds get stuck in tailing ponds.

It's actually really hard to find any conclusive dirt on Syncrude because they have the best SEO I've ever seen. The entire first page of Google results for "syncrude emissions" was just links to the company's website, save for the Wikipedia entry at the bottom of the page.

We've added oil companies to our bracket knowing full well not a single one of them is actually Canadian. Most are American companies but Suncor is the largest partner in the Syncrude joint venture with Imperial Oil, Synopec, and China National Offshore Oil Corporation. That's a whole can of worms, but thanks to Stephen Harper's secretive FIPA deal we do have other nations extracting our resources. Kind of like Canadian companies have been exploiting Latin American resources for decades? Stay tuned for the mining company matchups...

We're going to cover Sarnia, ON, AKA "Chemical Valley" quite a lot when we get to the chemical match ups but the Aamjiwnaang First Nation are unfortunately used to insane levels of pollution and cancer levels that Suncor's highly-paid executives would likely find unacceptable anywhere near their own backyards.

They were fined for allowing a discharge of sulphur from its Sarnia refinery in 2018.

Like Huskey, Suncor's aged dinosaur juice can't be contained to one province. They were fined twice on the same day in 2009 - one for dumping wastewater into the Athabasca River for eight months, and one for failing to install pollution control equipment at a facility and not bothering to tell anyone. Alberta fined them less than a million dollars combined for both violations.

Somehow it wasn't enough to be an environmental menace - they got caught gas price fixing in Kingston and Brockville, ON in 2007.

They seem pretty evenly matched, so let's compare asshole CEO to asshole CEO shall we?

Husky's new parent company, Cenovus' CEO Alexander J. Pourbaix saw his pay rise to $9.05-million from $6.56-million in 2018.

CEO Mark Little made made $11.72-million in 2019, including a $1.7-million bonus and $7.14-million in share and option awards.


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