Sometimes reading the national press makes me giggle. From those news stories one would get the impression the residents of my community fight about things like lack of parking, high rental costs, and our shortage of women. The funny thing is that we certainly have boomtown issues of just that nature, and other ones, too. But that isn't what gets Fort McMurray residents all hot and bothered. What gets people going here are issues that arise over where this community is headed - and one of those issues raised it's head recently over a little body of water in downtown Fort McMurray, a body of water called the Snye.
Basing our national energy strategy on the oil industry would would lead to too many emissions and too few jobs. Increasing our dependence on oil drives up the Canadian dollar which in turn hurts export-oriented sectors like manufacturing and forestry. The petro-dollar also makes our economy vulnerable to the boom and bust cycles typical of oil. In short, it's unwise to put all our eggs in an oily basket.
This fall, hundreds of youth will come together in Ottawa for a weekend of education, training, networking and more to empower our generation to build the movement we need for a just and sustainable future. Called PowerShift, this is both a gathering but also a call for what Canada desperately needs. We need to shift the way we power our society and give people the power to build the future they want. Don't believe me? Here are 10 reasons Canada is in desperate need of a PowerShift.
Many things are written and said about the oil sands, and one of the allegations frequently made is that the oil derived from the naturally occurring bitumen is "dirty", tainted with the stain of environmental destruction. While that debate rages on one rarely hears about what happens to some of the money generated by that so-called "dirty" oil. One may hear about corporate profits, and royalties, and high salaries - but one very rarely hears about philanthropy.
You can talk about bad driving and negligence and speeding all you like and about how if we just address all those things the problem would end - but the reality is you cannot completely change human behaviour. While some people may change there will always be someone who chooses to drive 200 km per hour instead of 100, or pass a dozen vehicles and play chicken with oncoming traffic.
In the same week that China's National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) applied for federal approval for its takeover of Canadian oil company, Nexen, Kuwait's state-owned company was reported to have signed a deal with Canada's Athabasca Oil Corp. That's two countries, known for poor ethics, buying a piece of the Canadian oil patch. And yet, our oil remains as ethical as ever.
We don't have to risk the destruction of one of the world's most spectacular environments to get full value from our oil sands resource. Of course, we have to put refineries in environments that can best handle them and not in areas that can't. The recent proposal to build a refinery in Kitimat is an example of building one in the wrong place. That's why I'm saying no to the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline and yes to a more sustainable future for the Great Bear region.
There are also those who think that Fort McMurray is nothing but oil sands, nothing but workers in coveralls and enormous dump trucks, the landscape nothing but a sea of tailings ponds and smoke stacks. As with many things, though, the reality is nothing like the hype.
Speaking in New Mexico on Thursday, Mitt Romney announced an energy plan that promised energy independence -- not for the United States only -- but also for Canada and Mexico.
The Chinese government has a deplorable human rights record, but that has not stopped Canada from doing business with China while standing up for our values. The mix of state-capitalism with Western capitalism is the way of the world today. And besides the investment from the Chinese in Canada will increase Canadian prosperity and will allow our industry to grow.
Has there ever been a successful clean up from a massive tanker spill? Should an accident occur involving a large ship, serious inadequacies in B.C.'s response capabilities would hinder rescue and containment operations. And oil spill technology only works in ideal conditions with very little wind and waves; the behavior of diluted bitumen in the ocean is a complete unknown.
I am not exactly an environmental crusader. I turn off the lights whenever I leave a room. I use public transportation. I recycle. For a long time, I thought this was enough. It's not, and over the past few years, I have begun to question whether or not I should ever have children. Here's why.
Hartington became a stop on my cycling journey because opponents of the proposed extension, Keystone XL, have cited the leaks there as reasons to be wary of XL.
The Kalamazoo River spill undercuts all the safety claims about speedy response (it took them more than 17 hours to shut the pipeline down) and leak detection (the spill was identified by a staffer from a natural gas utility in Michigan).
Tar sands oil may soon be pumping through an Ontario pipeline near you. If you didn't know, it is likely because Enbridge doesn't want you to know that they are bringing the Kalamazoo disaster to your home province. It is called Line 9, and is part of the same Enbridge pipeline network as the pipe that spilled well over a million barrels of oil in 2010 into the Kalamazoo River.
On Monday, British Columbia premier Christy Clark was essentially slapped in the face -- politely but publicly -- by Alberta Premier Alison Redford -- who rejected B.C.'s demand for "a fair share" of royalties from Alberta's oil pipelines. It should make for an interesting backdrop to Canada's premiers getting together in Nova Scotia this week, where energy will be front and centre on the agenda.