Why draw the line?
Internationally and at home Canada has prided itself with a reputation. Canada was among the first to impose sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa, has been there to help when disaster strikes such as the earthquake in Haiti, and has sent Peacekeepers to war torn countries to protect the vulnerable and encourage and restore democracy. From our banking system to our health care system to our hockey teams, others look to us as a model.
Today, this reputation is being undermined by the oil companies extracting dirty oil from the Alberta tar sands. These companies, along with some government officials, are aggressively expanding the tar sands and pushing Canada’s oil on the world and blocking effective, smart policies to fight global warming in Canada, the United States, and Europe. All the while, Canada’s wilderness and wildlife, clean air and fresh water are being contaminated and destroyed. Pipelines across the United States and Canada carrying tar sands also pose major risks to the ocean, lakes and rivers, lands and wildlife. Burning tar sands oil creates more carbon pollution than conventional oil.
The time has come to draw the line
While countries like Denmark are planning their transition away from fossil fuels and building low carbon economies, Canada’s economy is increasingly dependent on the ability to export oil from the tar sands. At the same time, exporting tar sands oil to countries such as the United States increases American dependence on oil – a step backwards.
The increasing dependence on oil to drive the Canadian economy is a shortsighted plan that could hurt or inhibit other sectors (including clean energy) and makes Canada more vulnerable to the volatility of global oil prices.
Whether you define yourself as First Nations, Quebecois, Canadian, American, or a citizen of the world, the time has come to take a stand and draw the line on tar sands.