Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Energy hungry U.S. is looking to hog-tie Alberta with agreement

Copyright 2007 Prince Rupert Daily News
All Rights Reserved
Prince Rupert Daily News (British Columbia)
August 15, 2007 Wednesday
NEWS; Green Justice; Pg. 13

Energy hungry U.S. is looking to hog-tie Alberta with agreement

Charles Justice, The Daily News

Remember the United States was going to bring freedom and democracy
to Iraq? It wasn't about Iraq's oil, they said. That must be why they
changed the name of the invasion from "Operation Iraqi Liberation" to
"Operation Iraqi Freedom." The reason I mention the U.S. invasion of
Iraq is because it is going to have a devastating effect on the
future of Canada.

What has the invasion of Iraq got to do with Canada? After all we
refused to get involved with the "coalition of the willing" back in
2002. Bear with me here. Whereas in the Iraqi oil fields it takes the
energy equivalent of one barrel of oil to extract one hundred barrels
of oil, in Alberta it takes one barrel of oil to produce three
barrels of tar sands oil. The process of refining bitumen into oil is
expensive, costing about $22 a barrel. So it wasn't economical until
the invasion of Iraq raised the price of oil to $35 and over in 2003.

Since 9/11 the Bush administration has been obsessed with energy
security. Nobody noticed Alberta until after 2003 when the price of
oil skyrocketed. Suddenly the Americans realized that the world's
largest deposit of oil was right next door in the Alberta tar sands.
It was around this time that the North American Security and
Prosperity Partnership (SPP) was launched, "creating a new
institutional framework," for the integration of the United States,
Mexico, and Canada.

The Alberta tar sands is basically a gigantic strip mining operation,
the largest single man-made project in human history. It will
eventually destroy a section of the Canadian boreal forest the size
of Florida. Already the rate of deforestation in Alberta is the
second highest in the world. And the refining of bitumen produces
three times the greenhouse gas emissions as the refining of
conventional oil.

The drafters of the SPP have plans for construction of a giant
transportation corridor from Mexico to Canada partly in order to
facilitate the movement of Mexican "guest workers" into Canada to
work the tar sands. The "NAFTA Corridor" will also include pipelines
to carry refined and unrefined bitumen to the United States.
Incredibly, a fivefold increase in tar sands production is slated
once the SPP is signed and comes into effect.

There are no plans for any pipelines from Alberta to Eastern Canada,
even though Eastern Canada imports 90 per cent of its oil. It's
obvious that the North American energy security that the SPP is
touting is really American energy security.

When Canada signed onto the North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA) the Canadian negotiators agreed to a "proportionality clause"
which locks us into supplying the United States with not less than
the proportion of oil, gas, or water that we have been previously
supplying. That means that if we increase the supply of oil to the
U.S. we are locked into supplying that increased proportion
indefinitely. Incidentely, Mexico, which also signed on to NAFTA,
refused to sign the proportionality clause.

The Security and Prosperity Partnership is a deal that's being made
behind closed doors by CEOs and government bureaucrats with no public
input and little publicity. Increasing tar sands production fivefold
will make the tar sands the biggest single greenhouse gas emitter in
the world. And once it is ramped up we will be locked in because of
the NAFTA proportionality clause. We will not have the option of
turning it off or even slowing it down. Besides if we tried to turn
off the tap we would be jeopardizing America's energy security and
that would bring on an invasion.

The SPP is a gross violation of Canadian sovereignty that must be
stopped while there is still time.

If we let it pass we will become an environmental disaster, a pariah
in the world community, and the slavish enabler of American hubris
and over consumption. Why should we make an agreement with the United
States that locks us into increasing greenhouse gas emissions,
prevents us from becoming a sustainable society and undermines our

If you love this country please join me in protesting this heinous
act of treachery on August 20th, the date of the trilateral summit in
Montebello Quebec.

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