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TV Ontario to pull online game that shows pipeline bombing

Pipe Trouble, a game available on the website of TV Ontario on March 21, 2013. The TVO blog describes “Pipe Trouble” as a “companion ethical game” to adocumentary that deals with local opposition to pipelines and the bombing of pipelines in Peace River, B.C. TVO says the game uses “over-the-top satire to cleverly explore the two sides of the energy extraction debate.”

TV Ontario will pull an online game that depicts the bombing of a gas pipeline after drawing fire from the premiers of Alberta and British Columbia.

The public broadcaster paid to have the game developed as part of a documentary on the debate over a proposed oil pipeline that would run through B.C. Part of the game shows people protesting, followed by the line exploding, an image that harkens back to the bombings of gas wells and other such infrastructure in northern B.C. A few years ago.

"It's disappointing to see a taxpayer-funded game and organization depict the blowing up of pipelines," Alberta Premier Alison Redford said in a statement. "It's exactly opposite of Canada's interests given all of Canada benefits from a strong and diverse energy sector."

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B.C. Premier Christy Clark also weighed in: "There is no place in debate for positions that advocate violence, and it is disappointing this video would even suggest that approach is appropriate," she said in a statement.

TVO said late Friday it would remove the game from its website pending a review to determine if the game met its programming standards.

Two independent people, to be named early next week, will review the game and report back to the broadcaster's board of directors by the end of April.

"TVO takes very seriously the expenditure of public funds with which we are entrusted and would like to assure Ontarians that the organization is in full compliance with all related Government policies and directives," the broadcaster said in a statement posted to its website Friday evening.

Ontario Education Minister Liz Sandals said she would look into the game – which was paid for by taxpayers – to see if it fits with the broadcaster's educational mandate. But she said the station is at arms-length from politicians.

"TVO is appropriately free of government interference in editorial content," she said Friday.

TVO spent about $100,000 on the game and documentary.

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With a report from The Canadian Press

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About the Author
Washington correspondent

Adrian Morrow covers U.S. politics from Washington, D.C. Previously he was The Globe's Ontario politics reporter. He's covered news, crime and sports for The Globe since 2010. He won the National Newspaper Award for politics reporting in 2016. More

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