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TV capitalist has a hate on for environmentalists

John Bell

July 6, 2018

W. Brett Wilson, one of the money men who populated the CBC’s inexplicably popular Dragon’s Den (he left in 2011), has a serious hate on for people who actively defend the environment. He regularly refers to environmentalists as “sick” and “traitors” for opposing destructive projects like tar sands development and bitumen pipelines. And he repeats ad nauseum the oil industry lie that protesters are on some mythical payroll.

Back in May he tweeted his characterization of protesters opposing the Kinder Morgan pipeline: “Fact - eco-terrorists pay and get paid to protest. Idea - am thinking we should just pay a couple of folks from #PremierHorgan @NDP team to cross the floor & give power back to the people of #BritishColumbia. I am in for $10,000. Should almost be enough eh? DM me to arrange.” Wilson has a cash and carry opinion of the representative democracy he purports to love, offering to bribe BC’s NDP MLAs to cross the floor to the Liberals, and bring down the governing coalition. His offer found no takers.

Now he is incensed over the activists who rappelled off Vancouver’s Ironworkers Memorial Bridge to blockade Trans Mountain’s mega-tankers. The initial Global News report said the tankers carried bitumen from the “tar sands.” After complaints from Wilson and other petro-industry shills, Global “corrected” its coverage to say “oil sands.” About the imaginative protest, he tweeted: “My suggestion is to block their return to the deck of the bridge. Leave them dangling their [sic] until they apologize for their stupidity. Then send them to #BaffinIsland for the summer - #MakeWorkProject.” Evidently Wilson considers a trip to Nunavut some sort of punishment.

When one of his fans suggested cutting the rappelling ropes he replied with his usual wit: “I was tempted to suggest cut the ropes – but then realize that would ruin a perfectly good rope. So then thought – just untie the knot. And throw down a life jacket. But then realize that might upset a Liberal Cabinet Minister. So I gave up.”

This Order of Canada award winner is a member of the Order of Canada board, advising the government on recipients for future awards. On Canada Day he tweeted: “To a nation struggling w/ regionalism and eco-terrorists acting in self-interest - I say let’s wake up to the amazing resource rich country we have built - and CELEBRATE!”

Oddly, he considers environmentalism to be self-interest, and capitalist speculation to be philanthropic. He made his fortune investing early in the tar sands boom, later selling out to a French energy corporation. By the way, he accuses environmentalists of treason for accepting foreign money. He controls a financial holding company that speculates in resources extraction, and is owner of the NHL’s Nashville Predators.

W. Brett Wilson was inducted to the Petroleum Hall of Fame in 2016.

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