Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

OST Statement on Housing Rally at the Legislature: Edmonton, Alberta.

OST statement on Rally for Housing at Edmonton Legislature

Today, May 17, 2007 there was an emergency rally held in Edmonton in support of those who are increasingly being blown away by Alberta’s “boom”. As housing prices continue to skyrocket while available housing plummets, workers can no longer even find places to live right at the “Ground Zero” of the operations of the Tar sands near Fort McMurray.

Edmontonians have seen unlimited rent increases every year, with no end in sight.

Desperate for workers to pursue the goals of feeding the American war machine and the North American economy to a now-leaked level of between 3-5 million barrels of oil a day, matters such as the deaths of Chinese men who were not even allowed to apply to get landed status to stay beyond their term of work helping destroy the future of this continent will soon be par for the course. Rents are going up several times a year, with zero controls. Any attempt to affix rent controls is labeled “making the problem worse” because “the market will solve everything”. Meanwhile, once winter arrives there will be children sleeping in the streets. Oil corporations are flying in vast quantities of workers from the Maritimes and campgrounds are full year round near “Fort Muck”.

With rents and housing for single parent families going out of reach daily, those who work in less protected & unorganized jobs throughout Edmonton and all of Alberta are given the sludge of the (mock) oil 'boom' coming from the tar sands. As with the rights of the nations who live in the pathways of any and all infrastructure being designed to produce, mine, dilute and transport heavy crude, the rights of the marginalized in Edmonton are not being protected at all by the Stelmach government. Instead, the Stelmach government in its turn is acting at the behest of a Federal government working hand-in-glove with the US Department of Energy to supply the needed energy to “stabilize” an economy that, thanks to their losing war in Iraq, by all means should rightly be reeling and in severe decline. Canada has no properly laid out energy policy, but is clearly willing to sacrifice the human rights of unionized workers here, killing “guest” workers who hold no rights in the workplace, destroy the environment at a rate unparalleled on all of Turtle Island and extinguish the remaining nations who resist the oil encroachment on their traditional lands.

OST extends its fullest solidarity and support to all those who came out the legislature in Edmonton today to demand “housing for all”, a demand that seems fairly simple when (despite having a revenue rate of only 1 percent going to the province) the “boom” has given such incredible surpluses to the Conservative Government that even Premier Ed Stelmach felt comfortable going on what pundits labelled a “spending spree” in the recently announced provincial budget.

The oil corporations working with Ottawa, Washington and Edmonton have led us to a situation where single parents and children face homelessness thanks to Alberta becoming completely subservient to the needs of US energy concerns. OST, in calling for the addressing of these social pitfalls from tar sands development, will support and extend solidarity to any and all individuals from the most vulnerable sections of society as they continue to struggle for their most basic human rights to be met and considered more immediate and of concern than the rights of all corporations to destroy lands, nations and anything else that stands in their way.

Homelessness and skyrocketing standards of living are just more reasons to ‘Shut down the tar sands’. Human beings are not the cost of doing business.

Housing for all!
Shut down the Tarsands!

Macdonald Stainsby,
Oilsandstruth.org [commonly called OST]

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