As almost everyone knows by now, Canada has some interesting challenges looming when it comes to transporting increasing oil production to markets both inside and outside of Canada. What many Canadians might not realize is how important oil exports are to Canada's economy, and how these exports may have become a crutch.
It wasn't too long ago when Canadians were shouting at the top of their lungs about George Bush, the Iraq War, Guantanamo Bay, Gay Rights and a myriad of other "American" issues. But the tides have turned quickly. Canada is now what the U.S. was in the George W. Bush days. I can't point to exact moment, but all I can say it happened really fast.
This year, something incredible happened and the planets appear to be lining up for the Northwest Territories. A major discovery of oil in shale deposits was made this year near Norman Wells (900 miles north of Edmonton and 300 miles south of Inuvik) and a bidding and drilling frenzy is underway.
To accept and use money from these companies is outrageous. It is an obvious contradiction: How can the organizers promote reconciliation while giving Big Oil companies a pass when those same companies are directly involved in damaging Indigenous ways of life? This was the exact purpose of Residential Schools. The Residential School system had sought (among many things) to displace Indigenous peoples from our homelands; yet again, these companies are seeking to displace our peoples from our homelands to reap the benefit at our expense.
TransCanada got schooled at their recent Energy East pipeline open house in North Bay, Ontario. Mixed in amongst the crowd of several hundred who dropped by throughout the evening, a group of 50 concerned citizens came with more than just their questions; they came in outfits that intentionally resembled TransCanada's own.
Filling up at the gas station is certainly one of the ways to use oil that is most familiar to us. But guess what: of all the oil we use, only 43 per cent goes to fueling our cars. Given this, can we seriously consider ending our "dependence on oil", as some would suggest? Someone who wants to stop using oil will have to say goodbye to smart phones, ballpoint pens, candlelight, clothing made of synthetic fibers, glasses, toothpaste, tires (including those on bicycles), and thousands of other products made from plastic, a petroleum derivative. Good luck with that program.
Our dominant economic paradigm is premised on a worldview that we are self-interested, wealth-maximizing beings that respond like automatons to price signals. I think we're more than that. Our labels engage this part of us and are ultimately more congruent with what we are as human beings.
Let's learn from the failure of the War on Drugs. We targeted supply: how did that work out? Squash one producer or dealer, up pops another. Block one pipeline for pushing product, and another channel opens up. Successful approaches engage demand. It's been said that we're addicted to fossil fuels, why not have an intervention?
There's a big dust-up between Barack Obama and Keystone XL proponents over how many jobs the pipeline is projected to produce.This debate can be summarized by asking the question: "How many jobs do you want it to produce?" Whatever your answer, it's not hard to find someone to support your claim.
By building a pipeline that further accelerates climate change, tramples Treaty and First Nation rights, and compounds already severe problems, we are not only building our nation on those injustices, we are also saying that we've lost our imagination, I'm not ready to do that. I think we have more in us as a nation.
Keystone watchers are in something of a swivet over comments made by U.S. President Barack Obama in a recent interview with The New York Times. Mr. Ob...
The grim news is that we've gone from bad to worse when it comes to how we move oil around North America. With oil prices now back in triple-digit territory, there is, at least, a glimmer of hope. The same high prices that are spurring producers to load crude on to train cars are about to, once again, curb our appetite for the fuel.
Approving or rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline is one of the critical decisions that will test whether the President is serious about his legacy to protect our shared climate. While the President has stated he will not approve the pipeline if it damages our climate (spoiler alert: it will), it's time to turn up the pressure to encourage President Obama to make the right decision for our future and reject the pipeline.
The fact that the Lac Megantic rail tragedy hit so close to home should motivate us that much more to find solutions to keep such things from happening again. What's really inappropriate is pushing fantasies -- such as "freeing ourselves from our dependence on oil" -- when we're faced with a very real problem. In the short- and medium-term, oil will continue to be a part of our lives. All methods of transporting oil will remain relevant and necessary for some time yet. Pipelines, though, have the advantage of being by far the safest method of transportation.
The picture of the small Quebec town engulfed in a sky high fireball after a train derailment in Lac-Megantic would make a macabre poster for all that is wrong with our fossil fuel addiction. The tagline could read: "Are we nuts?"
Even as investigators work to learn what caused the terrible accident in Lac Mégantic, Quebec, proponents of the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline are using this tragedy to press for their project. That is regrettable. If anything, this accident signals the need for a strategy to reduce the risks and hazards of transporting fossil fuels.