It's not Ottawa or Ontario that stands in the way of Alberta's success, nor will the rants of Thomas Mulcair or Justin Trudeau have any noticeable impact on the well-being of Albertans. An independent Alberta would face the same problems as now, and even worse, because British Columbia next door would be even less inclined to open its territory to a pipeline from the "Republic of Alberta".
We should learn from history. What the oil lobby glosses over is that this boom, like every other boom, could go bust. Instead of putting all our eggs in the oil sands basket, instead of digging up Alberta at a break-neck pace, we should be more balanced and strategic in our approach. And we should develop a plan to wean our economy off oil.
Kinder Morgan would like us to believe that their Trans Mountain pipeline project in British Columbia is a better proposal than the one Enbridge has put forward, and that they're a more responsible company. Of course, as a climate activist I don't see any oil company proposing to expand oil consumption as playing a positive role in today's day and age. But given all of Enbridge's bungling as of late, some folks may be swayed by this argument.
Apparently, American environmentalists have put huge areas of Canada off-limits to development as de facto trade barriers that enforce a U.S. monopoly on our exports, while at the same time as they want to drop our exports to the U.S. to zero. Or something. This supposed scandal has been hiding in plain sight for almost a decade, and almost none of the key facts holds up to scrutiny. A veritable cottage industry has grown up promoting one of the most politically convenient conspiracy theories in recent memory.
Risk perception isn't what it used to be. Ask the swelling ranks of Canadian junior oil and gas companies braving high-risk venues like Sudan, Iraq and even Yemen.
We looked at the $1.3 billion in taxpayer money our federal government currently hands to the oil industry in the form of subsidies and asked: what if, instead of subsidizing polluters, the money was invested in industries that cut pollution? We crunched the numbers and found that $1.3 billion invested in renewable energy or energy efficiency could create between 18,000-20,000 jobs.
I woke up this morning and checked into Twitter to discover some very self-congratulatory tweets coming out of the Alberta Legislature. The tweets weren't really about passing good legislation or having a good debate, though. No, they were about the heroism of politicians staying up all night long to debate that legislation and govern our province. And my response? I'm not impressed by that "heroism".
Why do political handlers confuse contrarianism with "substance"? The Justin Trudeau campaign, keen to put to bed allegations of its candidate being a lightweight, just put out an opinion piece embracing the takeover of Nexen by China's state owned CNOOC. Unexpected, eh? It must therefore be substantive. Who knows, a real debate about Canada with real options beyond the current narrow bandwidth may open up and engage Canadians in politics again. Goodness knows that what's currently on offer isn't exactly inspiring.
When I first read that Chen Weidong, chief energy researcher at the CNOOC Energy Economics Institute, had likened the oilsands to "leftover single women," I'll admit I was mightily aggrieved. This is because, well, I resemble that remark. It was flat out offensive. And women, especially single women, are becoming a powerful force in society.
Canada's entire "energy superpower" strategy hinges on high-priced oil, and a recent International Energy Agency report demonstrates that betting on high prices is risky. Canada should pin our future prosperity to the burgeoning renewables market, rather than doubling down on oil. It's the only choice we have for the sake of our environment. And it's the best path forward for our economy, too.
It is the sign I have come to dread in this community. It is the one that has all too often greeted me when I walked into the office of my family doctor, the sign that states: "As of date such-and-such this office will close and Doctor So-and-so will no longer be practicing in Fort McMurray. Please ask for referrals to another family physician." I despise this sign.
Ever watch one of those shows that make fun of Americans and what they think of Canadians? I mean, ha ha, they think we all live in igloos, or ha ha, they think we all drive snowmobiles in July. Except I find I am not doing much ha-ha-ing when I realize that my fellow Canadians - and Albertans - know so little about my region. I find myself saying not "ha ha" but rather "what the hell?"
As I write this thousands of people are gathered in Victoria, B.C. risking arrest to send a clear message that Canada's west coast is united in opposition to the expansion of tar sands pipelines and tanker traffic. There is no one size-fits-all solution to environmental issues, but that's exactly what PowerShift is all about.
You see, there is a gender imbalance in this region. There are a lot of men compared to women, and many women come here with their significant others, so single women can be a bit more rare (although they do exist, as I know several). This means men might have to work harder to impress those women, although some, like Steve from site, have a tendency to lose focus on what really matters when it comes to interpersonal relationships (and it isn't how many twenties you have in your wallet, incidentally).
In a presentation to investors this week, the company provided three quotes from anonymous local residents, fisherman and river enthusiasts, who gush about what Enbridge's tar sands spill has done for the community. Who are these people and where do they come from?
It's gotten to the point where people in this region are wary of journalists. I've had some visiting journalists comment to me that they were surprised at how reluctant people have been to speak to them, how they have expressed alarm at the idea of speaking to a journalist from the outside media. And my only response is "Well, if somebody came to your house, visited you, ate dinner with you, laughed with you, talked with you, and then went away and wrote a story about how filthy your house is would you throw open the doors to speak to them again?"