This topic has raised my dander in the past few months. As it deals with Canadian politics, I fully expect the majority of this site’s audience to tune out at some point (although there are some pretty sweet videos down below). For those of with a genuine interest, I’ll give you a brief rundown of what’s happening.
Canada’s current Prime Minister is Stephen Harper. He’s been in the position for ages, thanks to the number of political parties we have (the votes opposing the Conservatives get split several ways). Much of the Conservatives’ support comes from Alberta, or “the West”. Alberta is a large province in Western Canada, and is between British Columbia (the one with Vancouver) and Saskatchewan (the flat prairie one).
Alberta can best be summed up as Canada’s Texas. It has cowboys. It has beef ranches. It has conservatives. It has oil.
Thanks to the vast amount of oil in Alberta (the 3rd most in the world outside of Saudi Arabia and Venezuela), Canada gets a lot of money. It helps us maintain our status in the world, even though we have an extremely small population.
The current government in Ottawa doesn’t believe humans have very much of an impact on climate change. To help maintain this charade, they prevent the media from talking to federally funded scientists. As completely asinine as that sounds, they’ve now gone so far as to propose denying scientific funding. Unless the science has social or economic gain. Read in between the lines a bit, and you can see where this is heading.
If scientific research on climate change points to fossil fuels as the culprit, then that will be bad for the economy. If you can’t sell oil, you can’t get money. If we lose money because of that scientific research, then that is bad science. Capiche?
If you’re American, you’ve probably heard of the XL Keystone Pipeline. It’s the pipeline that will transport Albertan bitumen down through your states from Canada. Then you can do with it as you wish. It’s supposed to be clean, and safe. And it will completely fix all your energy woes.
And now we get to the crux of the matter.
Harper was in New York recently to push for this pipeline.
“As the White House mulls whether to let TransCanada Corp. build the Keystone XL pipeline to connect the Alberta oil sands to the Gulf Coast, the Conservative government has ramped up the rhetoric around the measures it has taken to ensure pipeline safety, cut emissions and monitor oil sands pollution.”
There is an ad campaign now directly targeting the US audience, and it doesn’t aim to play pretty:
Can we back up a bit, though? Up above, I quoted “the Conservative government has ramped up the rhetoric around the measures it has taken to ensure pipeline safety…”. I want to draw you to this little segment, because it’s very important. They are trying to say Canadian oil is safer, because they’re going to ensure the pipes won’t break. They’re leaving something out though.
There are already pipes with Canadian bitumen (that’s the unprocessed glop Alberta has) being funnelled into the US. And the kicker? They’ve been involved in massive spills.
Here’s a news story from March. In 2010, a pipe burst. The result?
“The incident, near Marshall, Michigan, caused more than 20,000 barrels of heavy Canadian crude to gush into the Kalamazoo River system, the largest onshore oil spill in U.S. history. Line 6B carries 231,000 barrels a day to Sarnia, Ontario, from Griffith, Indiana.”
What are they doing about it now?
“It now estimates the total cleanup cost will rise by $175 million to $820 million. But it warned that "actual costs incurred may differ from the foregoing estimate as we discuss our work plan with the EPA and work with other regulatory agencies to assure that our work plan complies with their requirements."
Wait a sec, they haven’t cleaned it up yet? That’s right. The bitumen is sitting at the bottom of the river (it’s heavy, so it sinks).
Was that an isolated case? Nope. There was another oil spill, this time in Arkansas, a few weeks ago. How’d that go down?
“The size and speed of the release through a long opening, thin as a mail slot, shines a spotlight on just how quickly oil pipeline accidents can turn into catastrophes. Between 200,000 and 420,000 gallons of heavy oil spewed out of the 65-year-old pipeline without warning on March 29, Good Friday afternoon, forcing the evacuation of 22 suburban homes.”
Who’s to blame?
Canada. Canada is to blame. We collect the pay cheque and then watch as our high-polluting product wreaks havoc upon ecosystems worldwide. We are also massive hypocrites, and that is best illustrated by the ethical oil campaign. Sure, buying oil from the Saudis is TERRIBLE because of their record on human rights, but we’ll go ahead and sell oil to China, which has a glowing human rights record. No problem, eh?
And that’s the thing about Canadians. We’re so lazy, we simply don’t give a damn, as long as it doesn’t interfere with our insipid and vapid lives.
We were the first to leave the Kyoto Protocol, because we didn’t want our poor little economy harmed. The dumb bovine who supported the move pointed out that Canada’s carbon emissions were drastically lower than countries like China. True, true. But I wonder where countries like China get the fossil fuels to burn, which contribute to those emissions? Hmm, a real head scratcher, that.
The oilsands are not a clean source of oil. It’s one of the worst ways to actually get oil, due to how much energy is needed to extract oil from the bitumen.
The running joke in Canada, is that we have so much land, who cares if a tiny part of it gets polluted? Yeah, perhaps it wouldn’t matter if the oil stayed within our borders. But it doesn’t.
Have you ever been to Beijing? I have. Have you ever seen those pictures of the smog, and thought it looked fake? Let me be the first to tell you isn’t fake. The moment you step off the plane, and into the airport, you can see the haze within the terminal. You can feel it cloying through your windpipe with every breath. It’s not fog. It’s the by-product of fossil fuels and combustion engines. And we contribute to it, because we like money.
That site says it all, and it illustrates why I am truly mad. It’s full of lies. Lies built upon the understanding that if they are accepted in America, then we stand to make a lot of money. You won’t see any pictures of the environmental damage we have already caused in our own country, or in the US. Canadian tax-payers’ money was used to sell this facade, even though it’s basically a giant advertisement for the oil companies.
It’s absolutely pathetic, and Canadians should be ashamed.
Hopefully Americans show a little more intelligence and declare the XL Keystone pipeline a dead project. Don’t delude yourselves for a minute that Canadian bitumen is safe, clean and ethical. It isn’t.
It’s just fattening our wallets at your expense.