Miles Report No. 10 - Kellie Leitch’s “long term interests”
Kellie Leitch on CPAC one morning (at least morning in B.C.) indicated that the government will “act in the long term interest of Canadians.”
This is a nice spin to put on the degrading of OAS, the loss or downgrading of many government services and the downloading of others to the provinces. None of this is necessary as Canada’s financial situation could be much stronger with proper financial controls.
Canada has become a petrodollar state, without the advantages of all those petrodollars entering Canada. Huge sums of money are being invested in the tar sands, both through direct foreign investment but also through huge government subsidies that belie the so-called free market status of large corporations. The federal government, along with Alberta, is essentially giving away our natural resource without procuring for Canadians in general the economic benefits the tar sands should generate. Certainly it provides much employment at a time when ‘free traders’ have allowed manufacturing industry to decline, and above all it adds to the GDP of the country, that magical yet truly useless number that politicians tend to live by. But it is all short term, two generations or so, and will leave a legacy of environmental and societal destruction.
Let me be clear [I love that phrase, used by Obama and any other elected official as if to say I am the authority about to tell you I want you to believe is the truth] the current government of Canada is not acting at all in the long term interest of Canadians.
Norway’s current Sovereign Fund stands at about $600 billion dollars, enough to pay off Canada’s current almost $583 billion dollar debt. The Norwegians have wisely invested for the future with their oil money. Canada has no sovereign funds, funds that could provide for any OAS requirements for the generations necessary until the boomer bubble dies off - literally. Canada could be earning billions more from the tar sands and using that money to pay off the debt, keeping the banks happy, and gaining the ability to continue with OAS and other social services that our tar should provide.
Not only is the government fiscally incompetent in this area, they are also incompetent when it comes to environmental objectives. The tar sands are creating a vast wasteland in northern Alberta, destroying the culture and livelihoods of the natives and agriculturists who live in the region. Regardless of corporate ads in the media, it is not possible to restore the environment to its natural state.
First of all, much of the environmental degradation is global. The huge emissions of carbon dioxide from processing the tar, and the huge emissions of the same from all the natural gas that is required to harvest all the water necessary for that conversion are adding to an already changing global climate. There is far too much scientific evidence as well as common sense observable evidence for this. Canada cannot restore the global climate any more than anyone else can. At the same time we are accepting no responsibility for the billions of tons of CO2 we are pumping into the atmosphere.
This is accompanied by equally dangerous amounts of sulphur and nitrogen based chemicals that are acidifying the lakes and streams of the boreal forests and agricultural land of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The volatile organic compounds and nitrogen based chemicals are one of the leading causes of smog and ozone (good in the upper atmosphere, dangerous to humans and other living things.)
Fracking the country
The tar sands influence reaches well beyond the actual geographic land area that contains the tar. The whole of the Mackenzie River basin downstream of the sites is being loaded with organic compounds and heavy metals that increases cancer rates and birth defects. The influence reaches out to all the areas where water is being recovered as a resource to feed the appetite of the tar sands projects which require enormous amounts of water to produce one barrel of oil. Yes, that water is recycled, but it eventually ends up in the huge waste ‘ponds’ [can a pond be seen from space?] that poison the air, soil, and water, and will do so for thousands of years.
Not only is the water needed to support the tar sands, it is being gobbled up by the fracking industry - pretty much the same people - in order to obtain the natural gas needed to heat the water in order to melt the tar into a moveable sludge. Fracking is now widespread, and B.C. is now being fracked for oil to support the tar sands.
Fracking in turn leaves behind large amounts of harmful chemicals in the water that is used to frack the subterranean gas bearing structures. It is one large vicious waste of natural resources for the almighty petrodollar…water to heat the tar, water to frack the gas to heat the water to heat the tar, even more CO2 for the atmosphere…more poisonous chemicals.
After all this is done, - as I am sure the government in its ignorance and obsequiousness towards corporate power and the petrodollar will proceed as usual, except perhaps for a bit of green washing - Canada’s resources will have been sold to others without any real benefit. Our supply of natural gas will be largely destroyed. The areas of northern B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan will be fracked and hacked into a wasteland. The environment will contain even larger amounts of CO2 - and all prescriptions for carbon sequestration are fraught with problems from its basic reality, to its large financial requirements - supposedly paid for by the companies, but more than likely by the taxpayer - and its own environmental problems of acidification of the ground water and leakage.
Growth and sustainability
These two words are also mantras of all current ‘free market’ governments. Canada does not have at this point in time a sustainable economy. It does not have an economy that can grow and be sustainable at the same time, that is impossible. Nor can it continue its ‘growth’ other than by manipulating the statistics through the beloved GDP and even then there comes a limit when the economy will start contracting as available easy oil resources are used up, followed by the non-conventional sources that cannot replace that demand.
The tar sands are not sustainable. What they represent is the leading edge of our now current ‘peak conventional oil’ situation. The tar sands may contain billions of barrels of sub-grade ‘oil’, but resorting to them does not make Canada an energy superstar. The manner in which we are proceeding simply makes us look like dupes to corporations and other countries sovereign funds who are desperate to maintain their energy flows.
Not many in the public are aware that once we start exporting oil products to the U.S. they can effectively interdict our use of our own resource as NAFTA allows them first rights to our exported resources in times of shortage or emergency (both being one and the same in the future).
Once again, our resource, being subsidised by the government - socialism for the rich corporations - sold with very low royalties, distorting our own economy, destroying the environment and agricultural lands of the northern prairies, adding significantly to global climate change….
…and yet we are acting “in the best interests of Canadians”? I think not.
The degrading of the OAS is a sideshow, a government circus to distract the voter from the larger issue that the government is financially incompetent and in the pockets of multi-national corporations who are stripping Canada of a strong future.
An old adage is so true in reverse - short term gain for long term pain.