Tar Sands

No foreign interests allowed

Enbridge’s pipeline of distortions, by Harsha Walia, a Vancouver-based activist and writer trained in law, Vancouver Sun, January 2012.

“…Delightful commentaries over the past few days have taken Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver to task for their desperate theories about radical foreign environmentalists and socialist billionaires hijacking the Enbridge Joint Review Panel hearings.

“These attacks are largely laughable because their hypocrisy is so obvious. The oil industry is a multi-billion transnational industry backed by a Tory government that peddles the tarsands to any foreign buyer who will bite – from Canadian diplomats in Washington hustling the Keystone XL pipeline, to another upcoming visit to China by Harper and his corporate entourage. At the Enbridge Joint Review Panel hearings, 10 out of the 16 intervening oil companies have foreign-based headquarters, for example America’s Exxon Mobil, Britain’s BP, France’s Total E&P, and Japan Canada Oil Sands Ltd.

“On the other hand, Environmental Defence reports that all of the intervening environmental organizations are based in Canada, and 79 per cent of those registered to speak are B.C. residents. Given colonial governance over indigenous peoples, Nadleh Whut’en Chief Larry Nooski’s quip is most apt “We’re not foreign – these are our lands…”

Terry Glavin: China has our forests, now we’re sending our oilfields too

“Here’s what you’ve been missing.

“Ostensibly, it’s about the Enbridge project, a plan to pump condensate eastward from the coast to Alberta so that Alberta bitumen can be made fluid enough to be pumped back to the coast at Kitimat, to be put into oil tankers to be sent down Douglas Channel and out into the roaring North Pacific through a tangle of islands you will find on the charts strewn with names like Terror Point and Calamity Bay and Grief Point. A digression: It is not for nothing that such comforting placenames show up along the proposed tanker route, so don’t start with me about how I should now find comfort in knowing that the oil spill cleanup contingency plans consist of rushing out with skimmers and booms that work only in low breezes and a light chop. I’ve fished halibut in those waters, and believe me, there is a reason why heading out there in boats is known as Walking With The King. Nevermind what the “radical environmentalists” say, whoever they are.

“As recently as last fall, John Bruk, the founding president of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and as fervent a booster of trade with China as you’ll meet, was cheering Stephen Harper and wishing him all the best with his trade engagements in the Forbidden City. But Bruk’s good wishes came with a caution: “Are we going to sell the ownership of our natural resources to pay for consumer goods we can ill afford and thereby speed up the indebtedness of Canada as export revenue from those resources would be lost?” Turns out that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

Categories: Tar Sands

2 replies »

  1. Norm,
    I am puzzled by the fact that Canadians as a whole are not seeing this for what it is. We are given two scenarios to accept, one being the raw bitumen be shipped through the U.S. for them to refine and sell, the other to ship again the raw bitumen off to China for them to refine and sell.
    There is of course a third option not on the table and that is not to ship it anywhere, refine it here, and sell it locally to relieve some pressure on canadians at the pump?
    We the taxpayers have been subsidising the petroleum industry in the billions with the thought for these subsidies there might be some benifits to us.
    There is little benifit to Canadians in this insane logic by this Government. There is no payback for the billions lost to these companies by way of subsidies.
    All we get in return is a slap in the face!


  2. I'm convinced that an important motivation to move Alberta bitumen off continent is because the present day glut of landlocked North American oil is putting downward pressure on crude prices here.Texas is shipping large volumes of refined product to South America and, partly as a result, fuels stay in short supply and high priced in the USA. Production from the Bakken formations have been growing substantially so the oil glut will not ease in the short run in North America.

    Industry and their corporate media minions claim that no refineries could be built in Canada because environmentalists make the task too difficult. Yet the same folks are wiling to confront opposition in efforts to build bitumen pipelines that provide rather few long-term jobs and export energy with no value added.

    Truth is the Canadian oil industry does not want higher capacity, they want shortages and higher prices.


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