The Americas

Taxpayer-funded video game draws heat over depiction of pipeline bombings

A video game funded by taxpayers has ignited controversy in Canada for its depiction of pipeline bombings, CTV News reports.

The online game, “Pipe Trouble,” was released by TV Ontario, the public broadcaster in the province.

According to CTV News, TVO spent about $100,000 on the game and a companion documentary, titled “Trouble in the Peace,” which addresses local opposition to pipelines and the bombing of pipelines in Peace River, British Columbia.


The object of the game, according to the report, is to build a profitable pipeline without environmental dangers or angering local farmers.

Critics charge the game depicts eco-terrorism and that it is a tasteless depiction of the issues at the heart of the pipeline controversy.

CTV News reports that beginning in 2008, a series of explosions targeting Encana pipelines rocked northern British Columbia. Activist Wiebo Ludwig, previously convicted in oil patch bombings in Alberta, was arrested, but never charged. He died last year.

Mike Bernier, the mayor of Dawson Creek, said that the incident should not be treated lightly.

“It wasn’t a laughing matter and to have somebody really try to take away from the devastating experience that we had by putting it into a video game -- it’s just absolutely disturbing,” Bernier told the station.

TVO said the game does not take sides in the debate over pipelines, and denies the game is a statement on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Neither the game nor the documentary mentions Keystone.

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would ship crude from Canada to refineries in Texas; it is facing major opposition from environmentalists who do want to see the line constructed.

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