There's something about a new Naomi Klein book that always seems to attract a lot of attention. And not just from middle-of-the-road Western Canadians like myself who work hard for a living and enjoy the beautiful, natural settings where we live, work and raise our families. No, Klein even seems to attract the ire of -- you guessed it -- "big environmentalism." It's a credit to her proven ability to lay out the controversial argument. People love that.
If Canada can make the right choice and tone down the 'dig baby dig, drill baby drill' mentality, not only would Canada not be worse off economically, but we would have a safer environment, and be able to seize the incredible opportunities to invest in the sophisticated clean technology that is going to power this century.
The HuffPost blog from the Fraser Institute's Senior Director, Natural Resource Studies, Kenneth Green, set out to make me look uninformed based on my submission to the U.S. State Department on the proposed Keystone pipeline. From his first words, it was pretty clear he didn't grasp the concept of writing a letter.
Recently, Green Party leader Elizabeth May orchestrated an open letter to United States Secretary of State John Kerry, urging the U.S. to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. In her note, Ms. May states that she sent Mr. Kerry "4 facts about Keystone XL." Unfortunately, two of Ms. May's facts aren't actually facts, and two of her facts are so lacking in context as to constitute merely factoids.
The truth is that the crime rate in Wood Buffalo, for almost all kinds of crime, is below Alberta averages, and often below Canadian norms as well. The rate of all forms of property crime is below national and provincial averages, and the rate of all forms of violent crime is below Alberta averages.
Both the people lauding the refinery proposal and those condemning it miss the point. In tying pipeline development to the building of a heavy-oil refinery in B.C., MLA Andrew Mr. Weaver is not so much accepting a reasonable compromise as he is floating still another costly, lengthy, prerequisite to new pipelines.
By the end of this month the federal pipeline regulator, the National Energy Board (NEB), is expected to approve Enbridge's proposal for its 38-year old Line 9 oil pipeline in Ontario and Quebec, which would carry shale oil -- known for its propensity to explode as it did in North Dakota. With that in mind, the province of Ontario must hold its ground on Line 9 and ensure its demands for a safer pipeline are met.
Environmentalists and union activists should be making common cause by explaining how tar sands profits that go to the rich and powerful cost Canadian workers hundreds of thousands of jobs. Expansion of the tar sands and the resulting bouts of Oil Sands fever may be good for capitalists but it will further weaken the job market and do great harm to Canadian workers.