As my back tightens, and my shoulders feel the brunt of the long hourly grind of pushing little woven fabrics of pulped and processed bits and pieces of information through the highway of idiocracy, I find solace in my ultimate saviour - the intra-wide web. As my fingertips roll through the preemptive strikes on the keys, as if muscle memory for every nerve of my occular beings are transmitted through the clicks of a mouse, I find myself amused. Our national pride is on display as our nation prepares for it's future ride with another Prime Minister.
Circling the Wagons
Our candidates are well known - the massed presses of the media outlet won't skip a beat - they'll pound every story whether the material is soft, hard, woven, piece-mealed, clovered or rednecked - and clearly our country is full of them. But maybe what isn't quite being covered is their respective approaches to their tactics; one using Republican-style smack down with daunting voices and nervous contempt, another almost being a complacently terrible used car saleman, almost as if his half-crooked smile is repeating: "C'moooon.... this other guy's a crook", and the three others just trying to keep their pasted smiles from slapping the first two.
In any regard, the opposition has been careful not to tread too deeply into a taboo topic of tankers, trucks and sticky ol' bitumen. Alberta, and ultimately Canada, have sunk our nails deep into the breadth of the beast - Washington, DC. We've sent our finest diplomats and ministers, all to act as our people's voice for our precious product. We're selling our resource - not just to the highest bidder, but to our closest neighbour.
Not quite Tar... Not quite Oil... Is it Chicken!!!?
So the Oilsands, tarsands, whatever. It's actually called bitumen. Not quite tar. Not quite oil. It's bitumen, stuck in sand. The Natives used to use it to patch their boats with. You see, when cold, it acts like a water repellant, and you can almost make hockey pucks out of it (no wonder us Canadians must love it eh?!). But what it needs to pump and separate from sand is a bunch of heat. Steam to be exact (or hot water, really hot water). So to extract it, we plug in the kettles, sort of - anyways, we burn a bunch of energy - clean natural gas really - or sort of clean if you remember to count the carbon. And then to make sure it doesn't refreeze into hockey pucks, it's mixed with oil. Yes - oil is used to make other oil. Or condensate to be exact. Not quite oil. Only the lightest of oil. Olive oil, almost - well... not quite. Anyways. to sum up, a bunch of wood is chopped down and rivers are polluted - I digress; that's my summary of the oilsands, or tarsands, or bitumen, or oil user, or gas user or tree chopper or river polluter. It's kind of under the spotlight by the US as a not-so-squeaky-clean product.
A Choice of 1.6 Concerns
So in order to make it a squeaky clean product and get the seal of approval to ship it across to our good ol' neighbour, what does our government do? I'll provide two options:
1 - Immediately address elevated levels of pollutants in the waterways by reducing the point source; address climate change by adopting Environment Canada framework for reducing oil sands carbon footprints; develop a strategic outline of responsible resource development through planned, orchestrated production increases
2 - throw millions of dollars towards monitoring equipment and never really stopping the water pollution, scrap the climate change plans, cause hey; what Canadian doesn't want our winter to be a little warmer right? and finally, we'll green light every project that plans to produce bitumen, jam a pipeline down the US's throat by sending a bunch of our best oil saleman (i mean government officials) to lobby on behalf of an industry we own no part of.
I find myself flabbergastroided (kind of flabbergasted, but mostly feeling gastrointestinally haemorrhoided) - instead of a government that will keep our air and water fresh and clean, we have to settle for one that's willing to lobby for an industry that employs 550,000 (2006 statistic), or 1.6% of all Canadians (again 2006 statistic). When did 1.6% of us represent a majority? Our statistics are telling us that climate change is real and effects all of us - should our government not be focussed on all of us instead of 1.6%? For myself, I've planted into my leftwinged attitude into a conservative stronghold, left stuck to wonder how so many blindly choose to check a name for fossilized principles - and fossilized truths... we don't own any of it, but we are definitely paying for it.