Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Oil Day in Canada?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a frustrated man and I'm tickled green. Two significant projects initiated or supported by his government are going nowhere and the PM is not pleased. One is the Northern Gateway pipeline which has actually received approval to proceed. The trouble is, many of the groups and communities which will be most affected are opposed and determined to resist a pipeline carrying Alberta bitumen across their land. First Nations have promised to fight the pipeline in the courts. The citizens of Kitimat BC have voted against their community becoming the port from which the crude oil will be shipped.

South of the border the Obama administration won't make a decision one way or the other on the controversial Keystone pipeline which would also transport Alberta oil. The Canadian government huffs and puffs about the delays but it doesn't make much difference. There is a growing tide of resistance to Keystone in the US so posturing on our part doesn't have much impact.

Now, I use fossil fuels. They power my car and heat my home. I know that the extraction of fossil fuels makes Canada more prosperous. But I am also convinced that retooling our economy around a dependence on producing oil and gas is short-sighted. It is also unethical when it has a huge impact on First Nations peoples. And we have become the pariah of developed nations because of the pollution the oil sands produce. The feds have proposed easing the Species at Risk designation for humpback whales in the Pacific to make it easier to ship oil from Northern Gateway. Where does it stop?

On this Earth Day people of faith in this country can pray and act for a healthy environment. We can pay attention to what our government is doing and voice our concerns about this slavish commitment to non-renewable resources.


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