Thursday, November 04, 2010

The fight burns on

Hey everyone, go ahead and put down your protest signs! Europe has decided our oil-sands are okay so we can all go home and sleep soundly because we know we're not harming the earth! Thanks for coming out!

...wait, what?
It is true the European Union sent over a couple of high-ranking cronies to check out what was going on with the oil-sands, so we sat up nice, rolled over on cue, and spoke like neither of us were aware we had a vested interest in being the prettiest pony in the pumpkin patch. And it paid off.
Representatives are quoted as saying, "We were very impressed with the working together of the provincial government, the national government and the companies there."
 Oh goody.We can play nice in our Provincial sandbox. Where profit is involved, we can play very nicely together. Doesn't mean we're not collectively sticking it to the weird kid no-one wants to play with. But in case you didn't find that soundbite satisfying enough, here's another one:

"I think we were all satisfied that everything is being done that can be done to mitigate against any damage."
Look at that sentence. That, dirty, whorish, sentence. What it tries to imply is that no damage is being done and that the oil-sands are environmentally responsible and tra-la-la everything's good. 
What it really says is: nothing. It says that the companies involved are not being deliberately negligent ("They try to do their best"; So does the leech on my ass in the lake, doesn't mean it's not harming me). It says nothing about whether damage is being done, what is being done to negate damage, and whether there is any hope to undo or do less damage later. Personally, I think it is a pretty big oversight that they don't mention whether we should start making allowances for three-eyed fish (Or sauce recommendations. Rose or Alfredo?)
What you won't find any soundbites on is the actual crap they came to check up on. When they originally said they were coming over here, they were looking to reconcile some "discrepancies" they had noticed between the "official data" and statistics provided  by non-government organizations, as well as confirm or deny water quality reports (apparently it's bad). There is no mention about if they did travel to Fort Chipewyan, where cancer rates are allegedly rising as a result of toxins in the water. In fact, it appears that the visitors looked at official government paperwork regarding certain pollutants in the water which stated functionally that it was like that when we got here, which only goes to show government officials were never kids because that NEVER WORKS. It is also noticeable that Duck a la Oil-sands was not on the menu because the issue of hundreds of ducks being killed by tailing ponds(which were being operated within safety regulations!) was only raised to blame Mother Nature, as if freezing rain killed hundreds of ducks every year, so the tailing ponds are blameless. 

The final consideration is that the visitors were allotted a one hour presentation with the Pembina Institute to listen to the foremost research regarding the environmental impact of the oil-sands. One hour is pretty short, but not as short as the half-hour that the presentation was actually given, apparently because the delegates were running behind. At the very least, this represents a bad breech of taste, in neglecting a point of view that is held dearly by many people; at the most, it makes us all wonder about pay-offs and conspiracies, but gosh-darn-it, I'm running out of tinfoil. The best we can hope for is that the meeting with the First Nations people on Thursday may raise more concerns.
It is really hard to complain about people's conduct when our province benefits financially in a tremendous way; we really don't need any more negative publicity, and it is in everyone's best interest if legislation is formed in a non-discriminatory way (another one of the goals the group identified), but we cannot ignore the fact that there is a chance we are doing irreparable damage, and that is not good for our long-term. We need to figure this all out for ourselves.

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