Make no mistake, I do not support blind-eyed oil sands production with little or mere cosmetic regard for the damage it is doing to our planet. Having said that, I have to wonder out loud exactly what our neighbours to the south are thinking.
There is a new cry in the United States to shun our dirty energy. Americans are suddenly jumping on the bandwagon at an alarming rate to put the filthy Canadian industry in its place. And in doing so, we once again see some of the value they find in us, their neighbour, largest trading partner and closest friend.
Shortly after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Colin Powell announced with hissing anger that the invading army of terrorists came to the US through Canada. Of course it has since been proven they did not. (And even if they did, they would have gone through US customs). But when the chips are down, as they were then and they are now, the States need distractions and Canada is an easy target. Directing public attention to Alberta and its dirty oil is a nice break in a day where most of the world feels the effects of eight years of their total economic mismanagement.
It doesn’t seem to matter that American corporations pretty much control the oil industry in this province. Nor does it matter that Alberta, of all provinces, holds its relationship to the States most dearly. In fact, the US can pretty much bully us in any way they see fit, and Ottawa will take the blame.
My point is simply this: what is the United State’s alternative to Alberta’s dirty oil? And if the alternative is oil from the Middle East, would it be fair to call that “bloody oil”? And which, I wonder is worse? What price is the US prepared to pay for oil from the Arab states? How many young men and women are they prepared to loose?
The cleaning of our oil projects should not be the total responsibility of the province or the nation. American interests pretty much own our resource. It should largely be up to them. It should be even more important than the taxes they don’t pay. I am betting that when it comes to the need for energy, Americans really won’t care how dirty our oil is. But while we have their attention, it may be a good time to see what American oil corporations are prepared to do to clean the industry up. Who knows, they may even save a few lives, spend a little less on weapons, improve relations with Arab countries and be a good neighbour to their best friends.