03/25/2014 12:36 EDT | Updated 05/25/2014 05:59 EDT

Why Canada Should Invest in Beer, Not Tar Sands

Late last week I saw this graph and it blew my mind.

The graph comes from a recent report by CREDBC that looks at where BC's and Canada's wealth comes from. The graph, and the report, shows a much different story then one the Canadian Government and their friends over at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) try to flood our airways with everyday.

Not only does the report show that the tar sands make-up just 2% of Canada's GDP but they lag far behind the beer industry on the job front as well.

Yep beer! That staple for many a back yard party.

The "beer economy" (which includes retail sales, transportation and wholesale distribution, as well as the agriculture products to make the beer itself) employs more than 163,000 people. In fact 1 out of every 100 jobs in Canada is in beer. A report out late last year suggests that 44 cents of every dollar spent on beer goes to the government in taxes ($5.8 billion) making buying beer almost a civic duty.

The "tar sands" economy is a much dirtier and toxic story.

The Canadian government does a lot -- from gutting Canada's environmental legislation, to muzzling scientists, to spending millions on ads -- to prop up the tar sands industry. Tar sands production also destroys a lot. It poisons our rivers, decimates the land, pollutes the air, tramples treaty rights and is further accelerating a growing climate crisis.

It also needs a network of pipelines and refineries to support it's growth bringing the risk of spills, and blow-outs to communities right across Canada and the United States.

This week the IPCC will come out with its impacts report on climate change. The report will show that the growing climate crisis will disrupt food supplies, slow world economic growth and may already be causing irreversible damage to the planet. In addition to the growing damage and super storms the climate crisis is causing, the people and communities it's displacing, the climate crisis is also taking it's toll on beer supplies across the globe. In fact, according to Jim Salinger, a climate scientist at New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research climate change will mean, "there will be pubs without beer or the cost of beer will go up."

While beer is almost a necessity, especially at a hockey game or a family reunion, the tar sands are a nightmare that the world and Canada can't afford.

Better solutions are out there. Just imagine how much beer we could brew if we gave the $2.8 billion dollars the Canadian and Alberta government gives to the oil industry every year to craft beer brewers across the country, or how green industries could take off if they were just given an even playing field especially given the fact you get 7 times more jobs when you invest green than when you invest in oil and gas.

We have the ability to move to cleaner transportation fuels, and greener sources of electricity and create tens of thousands of jobs in the process. This would mean cleaner water (great for beer brewing), fresher air, healthier communities and less risk of a global climatic collapse. The solutions are here, they are being implemented around the world, we just need the political will to implement them here in Canada.

Let's keep the tar sands horror story in the ground and build a true Canadian dream full of green jobs, sustainable transportation, and, of course, the tastiest of beer.

A better, bolder, and hoppier Canada is possible. Let's make it real.


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