Monday, November 21, 2011

True North

In today's Globe and Mail, Robert Redford -- who lately has spent a lot of time in Vancouver -- offers another take on the Canadian-American partnership, which Stephen Harper trumpets so loudly:

I want to be very clear that I’m not pointing a finger at the people of Canada; neither is any American I know. We’re all in this together, and that’s the only way we’ll turn it around. We need to stand up, Canadians and Americans as one, to draw the line at tar sands.

The Harperites have never believed that we are all in this together. They believe that the basic principle which guides the inhabitants of this planet is, it's every man and woman for him or herself.   When that principle was applied to oil production in Alberta, the results became devastatingly clear:

In Alberta’s great boreal forest, one of the last truly wild places on Earth, tar-sands producers have turned an area the size of Chicago into an industrial wasteland and international disgrace.

Where spruce and fir and birch trees once rose and waters ran fresh and clean, tar-sands production has left a lifeless scar visible from outer space, a vast repository of enduring pollution that threatens fish, birds, animals, public health and an entire way of life for native people.

And for every single barrel of oil produced, at least two tons of tar sands are excavated and tapped, a processing nightmare that generates three times more carbon pollution than is released to produce conventional North American domestic crude.

Redford writes that he has always been inspired by the Canadian concept of  "True North." When two members of Canada's official opposition visited Washington recently to voice their opposition to the Keystone Pipeline, the Minister of the Environment called their trip "treachery." Redford understands the meaning of True North. Canada's present government doesn't.

This entry is cross posted at The Moderate Voice.


LMA said...

Great post, I couldn't agree more.

Owen Gray said...

Redford understands the damage that is being done. Unfortunately, as with asbestos, the Harper government has no conscience.