So much for Premier Wynne's meaningless promise to ensure environmental protections are in place for Line 9. So much for the Premier's promise to ensure First Nations' concerns are addressed. The Premier has thrown Ontario's environment, water and communities under the big oil bus.
Could rail realistically provide an alternative to the Keystone XL, aiding in the expansion of Canada's highly-polluting tar sands? The Keystone XL will undoubtedly support tar sands production, promote continued tar sands investment, and contribute to Canada's already-significant greenhouse gas output.
Mother Nature seems to be a little out of sorts these days. In excruciating detail, the IPCC documents her unhappiness with anthropogenic (a.k.a. man-made) activity. She is even giving some early warnings directly to the PM and his Minister of the Environment. Mother Nature is not impressed and neither are Canadians.
The Pipeline Bogeyman is the New Baby Seal Hunt -- a cause celebre for environmentalists and their fellow travelers as varied as meddling movie stars or Middle Eastern oil sheikhdoms that finance anti-development, anti-fracking, anti-oil sands efforts.My favourite example of the hidden and cynical geopolitical forces aimed at stifling Canada's economic development was the cinematic flop against natural gas fracking called "Promised Land" starring Matt Damon and financed by Abu Dhabi, the world's third biggest oil exporter.
The hotel bill for the luxurious New York Palace Hotel suggests Harper's speaking engagement was a staged promotional gathering for the Keystone XL, rather that a typical guest speaker event which is usually paid for by the host.The hotel charges include coffee services for $6,650.00, room rental for $33,500.00 and audio visual services of $14,709.15.
Harper should be commended for speaking truthfully to Obama and the US, that Canada's oil and gas industry is critical to Canada's future prosperity. And that Harper will continue to fight to transport Alberta oil to the US regardless whether Obama rejects Keystone. In a few years, Harper will still be prime minister. Obama will have faded into history.
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.