Can Canada Afford More Tar Sands Development?

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recovering conservative
Posts: 529
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 12:28 pm

Can Canada Afford More Tar Sands Development?

Post by recovering conservative »

I've been wanting to post this editorial by economist - Jeff Rubin for a few weeks now. There are more than a few Canadians on FG; I wonder if we can get around to discussing important subjects of national interest, like this, and the fate of the Potash Co. in Saskatchewan, or the fate of manufacturing in Ontario and Quebec...which seems to be rapidly going down the drain, because of NAFTA and a rising dollar.

What caught my attention about this article, is that Rubin doesn't critique the tar sands operations based on the usual environmental criteria: large toxic tailing ponds, or about-face Canada has taken on the world stage, now that we have gone from a policy of environmental activism, to becoming the fastest growing producer of carbon emissions. But here, Rubin attacks the whole economic premise for turning Canada into Saudi Arabia - north:

Whether Canadians like it or not, their dollar has become a petro-currency. Currently trading near parity against the greenback, it wasn’t that long ago that the Canadian dollar was trading as low as 61 cents against its bigger cousin. But of course back then oil was trading at close to $20 per barrel, and at that price Alberta’s tar sands were a marginal energy resource.

...........A soaring currency may bring long-lost NHL franchises back to Winnipeg, Quebec City and maybe even Hamilton from Dixie and the desert, but that’s about all the Canadian economy can expect from its major trading partner. Other than Canadian bitumen exports, American consumers won’t be buying much from their northern neighbor.

.............How long can Ontario remain the single largest producer of motor vehicles in North America if the Canadian dollar is trading at a double-digit premium to the greenback? For that matter, what segments of the Canadian manufacturing sector are likely to survive that exchange rate in the first place?

the high dollar is a double whammy for manufacturing in Southern Ontario, when it's added to the losses piled up by free trade agreements.

..............Will the price for more mega-projects in the tar sands spell the end of the manufacturing sector in Ontario and Quebec?

Can the Canadian Economy Afford the Tar Sands? | Jeff Rubin

From the decline in manufacturing so far, along with the mess that other nations who find oil end up with, it seems like the answer to that question is an emphatic yes! It already seems to be changing the culture and the political climate in Canada. In a few years, we'll have a bunch of Conservatives that are carbon copies of their tea party Republican brethren to the south.

Back in the 80's, when asked about the good things that the oil industry was doing for Venezuela, their OPEC minister shocked his audience by replying that oil was 'the devil's excrement' to put it politely. Many asked how something so valuable, that brings in so much money, could be regarded as a curse. Now, it seems to me that if most Canadians don't already recognize the curse of oil, they soon will! And that again is without even beginning to assess the environmental consequences of increasing development of the dirtiest source of oil in the world.
Richard Bell
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Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2005 8:56 am

Can Canada Afford More Tar Sands Development?

Post by Richard Bell »

recovering conservative;1343764 wrote: I

In a few years, we'll have a bunch of Conservatives that are carbon copies of their tea party Republican brethren to the south.




If Harper ever wins a majority government, the lunatic Reformers will start crawling out of the holes in which they've been hidden all these years as not to alarm the mainstream voter. Keeping them quiet has given the Conservatives a false veneer of moderation.

The wackos who were quoting Hitler back in the nineties, along with the thugs that hired a white supremacist gang as bodyguards for a Preston Manning speech in Toronto back in the day, the MP that said an employer should have the right to keep an overtly gay looking employee, or an employee of colour in the back of the shop where customers wouldn't see them, they will be cracking the whip over a majority Conservative government.

The Liberals need to get their act together, then align with the NDP so that we can get back to a progressive national government. The Reformers and PCs saw how vote splitting was keeping them in the political wilderness, so they merged. Time for the left to do it as well.
recovering conservative
Posts: 529
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 12:28 pm

Can Canada Afford More Tar Sands Development?

Post by recovering conservative »

Richard Bell;1343803 wrote: If Harper ever wins a majority government, the lunatic Reformers will start crawling out of the holes in which they've been hidden all these years as not to alarm the mainstream voter. Keeping them quiet has given the Conservatives a false veneer of moderation.

The wackos who were quoting Hitler back in the nineties, along with the thugs that hired a white supremacist gang as bodyguards for a Preston Manning speech in Toronto back in the day, the MP that said an employer should have the right to keep an overtly gay looking employee, or an employee of colour in the back of the shop where customers wouldn't see them, they will be cracking the whip over a majority Conservative government.
Back when I was a PC, I thought Manning and his Reform Party had some good ideas. I went to some of the first meetings when local Reform Party riding associations were being formed in Ontario. The recent Tea Party rallies in the States, remind me a lot of those meetings.....mainly cranky old farts and a few whackos who were looking for a stage they could occupy. Back then, the crazies could be excused because the Party was new, and the atmosphere was chaotic and disorganized. But today, the Conservative Party is a disciplined, authoritarian, well financed machine! I think Harper is cut from a different cloth than Preston Manning. Manning seemed to be a genuine populist; but Harper has always been a combination of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. He's on the side of powerful interests, and always has been -- even back in the Reform Party days.

But, the big problem today is the growth in tar sands development, and the huge sums of money that it's bringing in....much of which is sprinkled on the Conservative Party and conservative think tanks, who act on their behalf in government. Harper, and the Conservative Party wouldn't be as powerful, and as dangerous, if big oil wasn't taking over the Canadian economy. If oil exports represent 20% of the Canadian economy and growing, as laid out in Jeff Rubin's piece -- then we end up with an overpriced Canadian dollar that is killing other Canadian exports....especially manufacturing. So manufacturing gets hollowed out as oil becomes the focus of the economy.....just like happens in every other petrostate that becomes a major oil exporter! And that makes it really a bad time to have someone like Stephen Harper running the country. He's going to do what's in the interest of Alberta and the oil companies first -- before he even begins thinking about how it will affect his ability to hold on to enough seats in Parliament in the other provinces, in order to stay in power. Issues like environmental degradation, Canada's rising carbon emissions, and economic decline in the rest of Canada, are not going to be his focus of attention.

The Liberals need to get their act together, then align with the NDP so that we can get back to a progressive national government. The Reformers and PCs saw how vote splitting was keeping them in the political wilderness, so they merged. Time for the left to do it as well.
The Liberals are so inconsistent and untrustworthy, that a Liberal government would probably only be a marginal improvement. When I look at how Chretien sold us down the river over Free Trade, after promising to abolish it, it's hard to put much stock in a Liberal leader like Ignatieff -- who has such close ties with American Neoconservatives, and killed off the Carbon Tax plan as soon as he became Party leader. Would Iggie stand up to the oil companies? I'm really skeptical on that! He's so pro-business, and pro-globalization, that I figure the best he would try for would be to slow down the pace of development a little.

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