THE GREAT BLACK NORTH (Canada) - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canadian Conservative Party head honcho, since 2006 has made a mockery out of environmental policies in "The Great White North." So much so, in fact, that Harper is turning what many had once thought of as a very large landmass known for its bucolic, idyllic and pristine wilderness into "The Great Black North."
Rising greenhouse emissions, running-wild pollution horrors, and rampant climate change are Harper's legacies, his critics allege.
A massive portion of the Alberta Province looks even more lunar, desolate and creepy than the moon. What happens after the entirety of Canada is transformed from the Garden of Eden to quite a different kind of landscape - like the surface of the Mercury or Jupiter's moon, Io? Well, there's still a Canadian dollar sense at play, so Harper plans to fence in the aggregate of Canada and turn the entire nation into a junkyard.
"Stephen Harper is to environmental protection what Freddy Krueger is to unsuspecting teenagers in A Nightmare on Elm Street. Over the past eight years, the Conservative anti-green reign of terror has eliminated or terribly weakened virtually every federal environmental law," writes Rick Smith in a July 31, 2014, article "Stephen Harper: The Environment's Best Friend," in an online offering of The Star of Toronto.
"The federal Environmental Assessment Act was repealed in its entirety and replaced with a law so cursory it might as well have been drafted on a cocktail napkin . . . Canada remains the only country in the world that signed the Kyoto agreement on carbon pollution, only to withdraw from the treaty," Smith writes in The Star page. (See ibid: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2014/07/31/stephen_harper_the_environments_best_friend.html).
But Smith goes on to explain that even before Harper became Canada's Prime Minister, this country's environmental laws were "inadequate": "In a 2005 study, a year before the Conservatives took office, Canada ranked 28th out of 30 industrialized countries for environmental performance. Harper just accelerated a miserable trend that was already well-established under Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin," Smith writes. (See ibid: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2014/07/31/stephen_harper_the_environments_best_friend.html)
Harper has taken environmental violations to a new low, though, and if and when he leaves office, there probably won't be any dirt left in Canada.
What happens when Canadian dirt becomes so abused, pulverized, terrorized, and brutalized that it evolves into something more worthless and unappealing than sandy and greasy grit? Who knows, but Harper is determined to unleash whatever this material might be on the world. And according to his critics, he's allegedly such a con man that he'll try to re-fry this dirt, then re-frazzle it, remold it, regurgitate it, send it through a gigantic autoclave, and finally remake it into some kind of snake oil without any oil at all!
The Canadian Oil Sands, or Canadian Tar Sands - they're synonymous, really - would be an excellent place for some shifty and deceitful Third World dictator to stage his country's landing a spaceship on the Moon or Mars. Maybe even Mercury or Pluto. It's an "out of this world" experience. For a bird's eye view of the Canadian tar sands, cut & paste this into your PC's address bar: http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/Global/canada/image/2010/4/teaser/tar%20sands/Jiri%20Rezac.jpg or this: http://assets.vancitybuzz.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/canada-tar-sands.jpg?d03c45 or this: http://fragileandwild.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/lenz-syncrude-e28093-framed1.jpg) - And the tar sands go on for endless miles of this desolate debris - with an overall landmass as large as not a county, but an entire state of the USA.
Large deposits of sand-like soil saturated with extremely heavy crude oil has P.M. Harper and Big Oil and Gas corporations salivating with hungry greed. The area where the best dirt is located: In northeastern Alberta, and it's becoming more and more like the bleak barren scenery in a science fiction film with each passing day.
According to an article in The Tyeee titled "Tar Sands Oil Some of World's Dirtiest: Report": A report by a major global research group representing the world's 10 largest car buying markets has concluded that Canada's bitumen is one of the world's dirtiest oils due to its poor quality, low gravity and the vast amount of natural gas needed to enrich it. (See: http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2011/01/14/TarSandsWorldsDirtiest/)
The Tyee article continues, The study for the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), which looked at the carbon intensity of oil from 3,000 fields now supplying European gasoline markets, also concluded that increasing reliance on dirty fuels will raise greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent above that of conventional oils. (See ibid: http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2011/01/14/TarSandsWorldsDirtiest/)
According to another article, "Stop Dirty Fuels: Tar Sands," In Canada, the oil industry is transforming one of the world's last remaining intact ecosystems into America's gas tank. (See: http://www.nrdc.org/energy/dirtyfuels_tar.asp)
Alberta's boreal forest and wetlands are home to a diverse range of animals, including lynx, caribou and grizzly bears, and serve as critical breeding grounds for many North American songbirds and waterfowl. Oil companies are scraping up hundreds of thousands of acres of this wildlife haven to mine tar sands -- silty deposits that contain small amounts of crude bitumen, this article, published by The Natural Resources Defense Council, reads. (See ibid: http://www.nrdc.org/energy/dirtyfuels_tar.asp)
And Desmogblog reports: The Alberta oil sands produce lakes of toxic sludge. A 2013 report concluded that an accident related to the failure of one of the oil sands tailings ponds could have catastrophic impact in the aquatic ecosystem of the Mackenzie River Basin due to the size of these lakes and their proximity to the Athabasca River. Also, according to documents from the Canadian government, the tailings ponds are leaking into and contaminating Alberta groundwater. (See: http://www.desmogblog.com/top-10-facts-canada-alberta-oil-sands-information)
The Athabasca deposit is the largest known reservoir of crude bitumen in the world and the largest of three major oil sands deposits in Alberta, along with the nearby Peace River and the Cold Lake deposits.
Harper is counting on the Keystone XL Pipeline to be railroaded through America's political channels, and hopefully very soon.
Harper is banking on U.S. President Barack Obama to give the positive nod to the Keystone XL Pipeline - a 2,151-mile monstrosity that will cut a north-to-south swath through the USA so that the nastiest and dirtiest of crude oil produced by the Alberta tar sands can be piped from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico.
From there, according to numerous reports, many who have studied the effects of the Keystone XL pipeline fear that a large portion of the pumped crude will be shipped to fossil-fuel ravished foreign countries, like China. However, Keystone XL sources say this is a bogus claim and the oil will be used in the USA as a replacement for oil America currently imports from the Middle East, Venezuela, and other countries. (See: http://keystone-xl.com/keystone-kl-oil-pipeline-keystone-oil-not-for-export-keystone-misinformation-lies-next-gen-climate-action-straight-talk-clarification-montana-nebraska-texas-california-new-york-tom-steyer-transcanada/)
So where the oil goes is a big question mark. But it's a certainty that the entirety of the "gritty oil rush" will be in conflict of treaties the Canadian and U.S governments have with First Nations tribes.
But do politicians care? No, not at all. With North American governments, treaties are simply made to be adulterated, nixed, or severely mocked. Hundreds of treaties by both the USA and Canada have been thrown out the dump-truck window into the sandy debris of history's memory lane.
The town of Cushing, Okla., has a big sign that blares out "Pipeline Crossroads of the World," and this is the place were TransCanada's existing Keystone pipeline will feed into the Keystone XL pipeline so it can flow to the Gulf of Mexico. Cushing sits in the Sac and Fox Nation, the largest of three federally recognized tribes of Sauk and Meskwaki Indians, and this territory is shared by Oklahoma's 38 tribes. Each tribe has sovereignty over their own affairs and their land.
American and Canadian tribes and their chiefs believe in the sanctity of Mother Earth and environmental concerns are high on the priority list of First Nations tribes. The following joint statement comes from the Last Real Indians online magazine: Honor the Earth, the Oglala Sioux Nation, Owe Aku, and Protect the Sacred: "The Oglala Lakota Nation has taken leadership by saying "NO" to the Keystone XL Pipeline. They have done what is right for the land, for their people, who, from grassroots organizers like Owe Aku and Protect the Sacred have called on their leaders to stand and protect their sacred lands. And they have: KXL will NOT cross their treaty territory, which extends past the reservation boundaries. Their horses are ready. So are ours. We stand with the Lakota Nation, we stand on the side of protecting sacred water, we stand for Indigenous land-based lifeways which will NOT be corrupted by a hazardous, toxic pipeline. WE ALL NEED TO STAND WITH THEM. (See: http://lastrealindians.com/for-immediate-release-no-keystone-xl-pipeline-will-cross-lakota-lands/)
According to another article, published online by The Washington Post: In the autumn of 2012, one bloody battle after another, under Chief Black Hawk, the Sac and Fox tribe, originally from the Great Lakes region, fought throughout the 1800s against other tribes and federal troops and ultimately, the Sac and Fox tribe signed a series of treaties that pushed its people to Illinois, then Iowa, then Kansas and finally in the 1870s to the Indian Territory - now known as Oklahoma. Many of the Sac and Fox people perished from smallpox and other privations during the travels and retreats. And now, the Sac and Fox people are being threatened by having this pipeline carve its serpentine path through their territory. (See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/keystone-xl-pipeline-raises-tribal-concerns/2012/09/17/3d1ada3a-f097-11e1-adc6-87dfa8eff430_story.html)
So what will Stephen Harper do with Alberta once his oleaginous manifest destiny as Canada's "Man In The Moon" comes to fruition? He will turn the entire province into a gargantuan junkyard.
"He's a man of genius and foresight," says University of Alberta Political Science Professor Theodore T. Wilkes, who is also a big man of the Canadian Conservative Party. "We'll have a big place to house the world's junk cars, pick-up trucks, semis, construction machines, and derelict motorcycles. All this metal's got to be stockpiled and stored somewhere. And with all of Alberta looking so lunar and desolate, these junks might even spruce up the place. For those who used to come to Canada for our great fishing, though, forget about it. You won't even find a carp up here after Steve gets done."
"Of course, if some Third World dictator stages a phony landing of a spaceship his country sent way out to Pluto, the Canadian tar sands dirt can be put into small jars and sold as novelty items," says Laval University marketing professor Theo T. Thypes.
"The little jars of dirt can be advertised online, even in little flashing banner ads on The Spoof, or on similar satire websites. And the possibilities for exposure is endless - think comic books, glamor magazines, and even on boxes holding Girl Scout cookies," Thypes said.