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Andrew Nikiforuk Is Tyee’s First Writer in Residence

David Beers, The Tyee
Andrew Nikiforuk is Canada’s leading muckraker about Canada’s most controversial muck: the tar sands of Alberta. He earned that notoriety with his award-winning book Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent.

And, starting today, he is writer in residence at The Tyee. In the months to come, Andrew will be writing a regular column under the heading of Energy and Equity. The first example, our cover story today, tells you what a parliamentary standing committee didn’t allow you to learn when, last week, it abruptly stopped looking into tar sands contamination of water, killed the final report and shredded all drafts.

Andrew painstakingly pored over what the committee had heard and been shown, and today he constructs a damning picture of grievous pollution made possible by lax regulation and a government that would rather kill reports than learn from their contents…

…On how the tar sands are corroding Canada’s character:

“This project has begun to unravel threads in our national life. It has begun to really change our political character and economy. Now we have a petro-dollar and that has consequences for our manufacturing sector. As oil exporters we now have no credible program on climate change — which is the same as the Saudi position. Our government’s view is that we are hydrocarbon producers so we are not going to do anything to ruffle the golden goose. The project has begun to insidiously erode our traditions and institutions.

“Every part of the country knows a different part of the great tar picture. In Saskatchewan there is concern about the mining of uranium to power the tars sands development. Atlantic Canada understands the social issues associated with sending sons, daughters, fathers and siblings to live and work in Ft. McMurray. And the tar sands will eventually hollow the entire economy and tie our future as a people to the volatility of oil. We have put our eggs in one black basket. Canada’s political elites, who have no imagination, have declared mining projects the size of Seattle are now our future.”…
(15 July 2010)

Unist’ot’en leadership takes to the streets to assert their rights and stop the Enbridge pipeline

Sheila Muxlow, Vancouver Media Coop
Just after lunch on July 16th in the town of Smithers, BC on the unceeded territory of the Wet’suwet’en Nation more than 100 people took to the streets holding signs and following a banner “’Yin’Tah Wew’at zëenlï’ ‘Taking Care of the Land’”

The group was organized by the ‘Unist’ot’en leadership of the Wet’suwet’en Nation alongside their grassroots allies and supporters. They assembled in Smithers to organize a demonstration designed to assert their title and rights on their ancient lands. The action was a well-planned march with strategic stops at the Ministry of Forests office and the Ministry of Environment office where the Unist’ot’en asserted their legitimacy as a governing body and their right to free, prior and informed consent before any decisions about development on their land.

The march also provided the ‘Unist’ot’en with an opportunity to offer support to the allies who had come in to support the action. The Tsilhqot’in Nation members from Tl’etinqox (Anaham) and Tl’esqox asserted their rights to stop proposed plans for Prosperity Mine to develop a copper and gold body that will destroy and drain a sacred lake called Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) in their traditional territories. The Lubicon Cree of central Alberta spoke of their work to have their rights and title asserted on unceded lands. The Athabasca Dene and Mikisew Cree of Northeastern Alberta are fighting for their very lives with the ongoing Tar Sands contamination of their aquifers and ecosystems which are creating a deadly epidemic of rare cancers among their population.

The struggles of the Wet’suwet’en and their allies are linked. The Tsilhqot’in are a neighboring nation fighting mining development not only on Fish Lake, but also on the historic site of hungry hill, a burial ground shared by both the Wet’suwet’en and the Tsilhqot’in peoples. Meanwhile, communities were represented from Tar Sands-impacted communities, from those resisting their devastating impacts at ground zero, to those resisting the construction of tar sands pipelines and refineries…
(19 July 2010)

Powering up Canadian prosperity

Canadian Chamber of Commerce
The energy sector is one of the cornerstones upon which our country was built. What happens in the industry-from rising and falling prices to the development of new technologies-is felt across all sectors. To realize the full potential of our investment in the energy sector, we must understand those impacts and exploit every opportunity to create jobs and prosperity for all Canadians.

We are inviting energy-industry leaders, energy users and governments of all orders to come together to develop a Canadian Sustainable Energy Strategy, one that will ensure Canada has access to a stable, secure and flexible supply of affordable energy now and in the future.
(13 July 2010)
sent in by ED reader Bruce Hanson, who says:
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is using the IEA’s peak oil presentation, to justify their support of ramping up the tar sands. On this page: and scroll down to Click here for Mr. Tanaka’s presentation.” There is also an associated report: Powering Up Canadian Prosperity