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Chinese Oil Sands

Oil Sands

by Morgan Duchesney


Chinese Oil Sands

January 2013 

During a recent Canadian Forces Arctic exercise called Operation Nanook; thirty Canadian commandos participated in a counter-terrorism simulation off the icy coast of northern Manitoba. The soldiers boarded an eco-tourism vessel believed to contain a mystery person who posed a threat to our national security. Perhaps they were looking for a passenger named Stephen Harper. Our ethically-challenged Prime Minister seems increasingly keen to sell the rights to Canada’s natural resources to anyone with deep pockets; like say; the military dictators in Beijing. Harper’s steady silence on Chinese human rights abuses is natural behavior for the leader of a government dedicated to the promotion of short-term economic gain at any environmental, social or fiscal price. I guess those Falun Gong protesters were doomed, anyway.

Harper the closet Christian must be suffering an extended episode of cognitive dissonance as he increases the intimacy of his relationship with the godless atheists of China’s ruling politburo. The PM refuses to discuss his religious beliefs or his decades-long membership in Calgary’s Alliance Church. This church believes; among other things, that Israel’s presence in the Middle East will trigger a nuclear apocalypse that returns Jesus Christ to Earth and ushers in the “Rapture”. They also believe that unbelievers are "lost” and will not join the chosen 144,000 who follow Jesus up to heaven. Presumably, China’s leaders are numbered among the lost.

Harper once said he would not compromise Canada’s moral integrity for monetary gain but then again; Jean Chretien said the Chinese would eventually benefit from our good example.  Besides; the reality of compromise is infinitely flexible where power is concerned.  Instead of opposing the stealthy growth of Chinese power over our economy; Harper and his team are waging a red herring campaign against pro-environment groups like Greenpeace, native activists and the Sierra Club; leveling false accusations of eco-terrorism and threatening to set the RCMP and CSIS on them.  A genuine example of eco-terrorism is the unregulated filth spewing from the oil sands.

            Unbeknownst to most Canadians; China’s brutal government is ramping up the pressure on its state-owned companies to increase their holdings in our oil sands and mineral deposits.  This danger is compounded by constant Chinese industrial and technological espionage in Canada and the U.S. Why should the Chinese buy our intellectual property when they can steal it? Harper’s silence on China’s threat to our sovereignty is deafening; but understandable since he answers to corporate globalists like Royal Dutch Shell who see Canada and its resources as merely another source of revenue to be exploited with little regard for the environment. Pollution from Alberta’s oil sands is a very real and growing threat to the health of all Canadians.

 

 Mr. Harper’s environmental perspective on the oil sands is echoed in his recent comments on a proposed British Columbia mining project, “Obviously, when you dig holes [here], you know, you create some environmental issues, and those have to be addressed, but you can’t stop development…”

Harper was referring to a recent Environment Canada ruling allowing Agnico Eagle Mines to avoid the cost of an on land tailings impoundment area at their proposed Baker Lake gold mine and instead dump the poisonous tailings into a nearby lake filled with valuable fish. They actually plan to move the fish. As always, short-term profit trumps environmental sustainability.

According to the September 12, 2012 Financial Post, the province of Alberta has finally, “…enacted legally enforceable pollution limits for its oil sands region, [and] industry figures already suggest they will soon be breached by emissions of two major gases causing acid rain. Sulphur dioxide will reach average annual concentrations of 21.1 micrograms per cubic metre of air, just over the plan’s limit of 20 micrograms. Nitrogen dioxide will reach 59.5 micrograms, well over the limit of 45.”

While Alberta did have pollution legislation before this action; it was largely symbolic and relied even more heavily on input from industry than it currently does. The article quotes Alberta government, Shell Oil and Pembina Institute sources and notes oddly that, “…the government’s plan makes no provision for treating some areas differently than others. “ Further, it is unclear how the Alberta government would enforce the legislation or punish polluters; to whom it is beholden for tax and royalty revenue.

As well, the picture is poor for wildlife since, “…of 22 indicator species — including birds, mammals and amphibians — 16 will suffer high or moderate negative consequences even under the current amount of development… An earlier Shell document acknowledges 23 small, mostly unnamed lakes, have already passed their critical load for acid.”

The Financial Post is hardly sympathetic to organizations like Green Peace and the Pembina institute. If that staid publication is willing to expose the aforementioned facts; the real problem, like the unseen body of an iceberg, is inevitably larger.

 

Author Bio: Morgan Duchesney is an Ottawa writer and Karate instructor. His political philosophy has appeared in the Media Co-op, Humanist Perspectives, Adbusters, Canadian Charger, Muslim Link, the Ottawa Citizen and the Peace and Environment News.

 

 

 


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