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Justin Trudeau Needs To Stand Up To The Oil Industry


Justin Trudeau Needs To Stand Up To The Oil Industry

Cameron Fenton

Last Friday, Barack Obama did something no other politician ever has -- rejected a major fossil fuel project because of its impact on the climate. At the exact moment that the President was making the announcement, nearly 80 people were risking arrest as part of Climate Welcome, a four day sit-in outside of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's residence calling for a freeze on tar sand expansion and a commitment to justice based clean energy economy.


Last that I researched it, several years ago, I found that China owns a controlling interest of a majority of the Canadian oil corporations. The pipelines are to take oil to coast lines to be transported to China. Why has no one pointed this out? I can see why the Canadian Government (and the US) might want to cater to China, but knowing about the vested interests of China might create some opposition in people who have been brainwashed to support pipelines.


People point it out all the time. It's a well known fact. The primary economic argument for the Enbridge and Kinder-Morgan pipelines is to expand the market for Canadian oil beyond the U.S to lesson Canada's dependence on a single buyer.

The LNG rush in BC is similarly intended for Asian markets, because that's where the demand is high and the only place on Earth where the price justifies the cost.

I'm not sure how misunderstood this actually is. Maybe for the completely uninformed, but they aren't liable to respond to arguments anyways. Most pro-pipeline people I have talked to view the diversification of Canada's export portfolio as being a positive thing, not a negative thing. China's interests are in securing energy, Canada's are in selling it. It's not really a contradiction.

Economically — ie in make believe, abstraction land — I actually would agree. If you forget about climate change and generally toxic petro-politics, allowing more Chinese influence in the Canadian economy is not in itself a bad thing. Currently over 90% of the oil produced in the tar sands is consumed in the U.S. China gets, I believe, about half the remainder. Most of the energy companies operating in Canada are U.S-based. So really, without considering real life factors, we should be less concerned with the increasing influence of China and more concerned with the already monolithic influence of the U.S.

That's kind of part of the problem with this ideological crisis. The roots of the disagreement are so deep that they are not easily resolved by simple economic arguments. People that value "the economy" over "the environment" will not shift from that fundamental position easily. Extractivism has it's own internal logic and people find all the justifications they need within that limited context. The challenge is to shift the perspective to include the real world.


I'm so bored of this kind 350.org type of rhetoric. Justin Trudeau doesn't need to do anything, and anyone that expected anything different from him hasn't been any attention to what he's said publicly about oil extraction or to the history of the party he represents.

I support the work 350 does and I even donate to them, but I don't understand why they waste their breath moralizing to politicians about what they must do, as if we can wag our fingers at the corporate power structure and it will simply dismantle itself.