I chose the title ‘Oils Sands are for Canadians’ because, strictly speaking, this is not just another diatribe about Canada’s oil sands, rather it outlines a very exciting paradigm shift.
My thesis is that we’ve all been viewing tar sands’ development from Big Oil’s (the Harper Government’s) perspective. Big oil:
- doesn’t mind wasting Canada’s water and natural gas
- has no interest in refining heavy crude oil here in Canada
- encourages cheap foreign labour to increase their profits
- isn’t troubled by toxic tailings ponds, CO2 emissions, pipeline leaks, oil spills and supertanker disasters.
Multinational oil and gas corporations are driven by profit and nothing more than delivering money to shareholders. They’re happy to sell Canada’s oil to the highest bidder wherever they might be. Big Oil pockets hundreds of billions of dollars from Canada’s natural resources and Canada is forced to settle for whatever is left.
- would love to see all of our tar sands oil left in the ground
What if we decided to proceed with tar sands development in a balanced and sustainable fashion? What if we focused on the idea that our oil sands are for Canadians?
What if we decided to:
- stop squandering our precious, raw natural resources
- scale back bitumen production
- treasure our fresh water because it will be the key to our future
- make better use of our natural gas
- refine heavy crude oil near the source, right here in Canada
- produce just enough oil to satisfy the Canadian marketplace’s needs
- gradually eliminate most, if not all, existing long distance pipelines
- say no to the Northern Gateway Pipelines, Keystone XL Pipeline and Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion
- invest in massive upgrades of Canada’s railways
- develop railcars with best-in-class safety standards to transport oil
- use rail instead of pipelines to transport our oil to all of Canada’s Provinces and Territories
- use Canada’s oil profits to fund our transition to green technologies, to eliminate our deficits and eventually to eliminate our debt?
My suspicion is that we would:
- create hundreds of thousands of well-paid Canadian jobs
- vastly improve Canada’s transportation infrastructure, benefiting all Canadians
- dramatically reduce pollution of our air, land and water
- create a balanced Canadian economy ensuring a prosperous future for our grandchildren and future generations.
The Harper Government and their corporate backers have taken us a very long way down an exceptionally risky road in their misguided attempt to generate short term profits. Canadians need better governance. We need big ideas and those ideas rarely originate in the boardrooms of multinational oil and gas corporations.
Canada’s oil sands are for Canadians, they’re not for Big Oil’s shareholders.
The “path to our future” is not a pipeline, it’s better ideas, ideas that focus on Canadians, not corporate greed.