A few years ago, I was living in the same Burnaby located apartment that I am now. I went outside and started to walk up the street to go to a local store, I certainly don’t remember which one at this time. When I got to the street adjoining the front of my apartment building the entire neighbourhood smelled of gas. It was a propane-like retching odour that went in my nostrils and quickly made me feel ill. Later that same day, parts of the road were cordoned off, and by the following day pipelines under the road were dug up, serviced in some manner and the smell of the gas went away.
I’ll tell you what I’m not going to write about. Since Jim Flaherty decided to come within about an inch of telling you that environmentalist NGO’s are terror funded (he didn’t directly say it, he just instead implied it) or terrorist themselves, I’m not going to explain that this is wrong. That’s so stupid of an implication that people who even explain that NGO’s who talk about trees, climate and simultaneously defend capitalism are not “terrorists” are insulting themselves and the reader. I want to mention instead the implications of such comments, and the far more important dangerous deeds of the Harper government towards any activism to stop industrial ecocide.
There are so very many reasons to go “Beyond Keystone” in thinking about resistance to climate change or even just tar sands alone. Several of the “not so famous” pipelines have received mention here or there: Flanagan South, for example, has nearly the same ability to facilitate tar sands growth as does KXL. The Gulf Coast Pipeline, now operational, works in conjunction with the original Keystone pipeline and the southern leg of KXL to take bitumen to the Gulf Coast. The question is no longer if bitumen will flow to the Gulf Coast through Keystone XL, it is only a question of volume.
Is the (current) Fuel Quality Directive (proposed legislation from the EU) a threat to Pacific Coast forests? The short answer is maybe. The same answer would follow the question with Brazil or Indonesia as the location of said forest. With a sub-section of the over-all Kyoto goals of the EU involving cuts in emissions from transport and the fuels used for transportation– and Canada, Estonia and others trying to desperately eliminate such a standard– industries such as biofuels have ‘demanded’ specifics, in order to “force” EU countries into embracing giant agro-fuels and other falsely labelled “renewable” sources for energy.
Sounds good, right? No. It sucks. Continue reading
So I put together a little sheet on Canada-Israel extreme extraction links below. Why did I do that? Well, it’s been a strange week for tar sands developments, if you’ll pardon that pun. Almost a week ago, and during his Honor the Treaties tour, Neil Young was revealed to currently have booked an upcoming trip that will include playing before an apartheid audience in Tel Aviv. Young’s incredibly successful, powerful concerts and fund raising endeavor on behalf of legal defense for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation concluded on Sunday, which not at all coincidentally now kicks off the second Neil Young, solidarity with indigenous resistance campaign– this time, without him.
The possible damage to the struggle in Palestine is already being celebrated by various advocates for Israeli colonialism. Titles such as “Neil Young Proves the Failure of BDS’s “Cultural Boycott” with screeds denouncing people such as Roger Waters or Alice Walker (who wrote an excellent appeal to Alicia Keys, who played Israel last year in defiance of the boycott) have flooded out already. In one of the initial reports, in fact, Israeli apartheid apologists couldn’t conceal their glee in what was supposedly a simple news story at the Jerusalem Post: “With reports of shows by The Rolling Stones, Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga still in circulation, 2014 is shaping up to be one of Israel’s most active for musical imports. Did someone mention boycott?” Continue reading
The story of Neil Young and his advocacy on behalf of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation’s challenge to tar sands supremacy has garnered a lot of attention, and in itself this must be seen as a good thing. To have an entertainer of his caliber take on the Gigaproject can only bring an overall rise in attention to the suffering caused by tar sands. As but one of a myriad of people who have enjoyed his music, this deserves thanks. I just hope that this part of what Young is saying does not get going as a regular part of tar sands resistance:
“It’s all marketing. It’s all big money. This oil is all going to China. It’s not for Canada. It’s not for the United States.” Yikes. Well… then Young goes on to say: “It’s not ours – it belongs to the oil companies, and Canada’s government is behind making this happen. It’s truly a disaster.” And it seems clear to me that his focus is on the tyranny of tar sands development and the decimation of self-determination at the hands of the oil companies. But I still think it needed to point out that the oil is not going heavily to China, there is no yellow peril threat to Canada, and that the US already gets the bulk of Canadian oil.
In thinking about a new rant on the tar sands to begin 2014, thinking of trying to sum up the previous year seems nearly impossible. So that, really, is a summation. Let me explain.
In previous eras of tar sands resistance we had a few flash points. This, of course, is in the time since it began to get attention beyond the families it ravaged through disease, or families it kept separate through cross-country employment. Since the call of climate change made attention to tar sands inevitable the “flag” of tar sands resistance has sprung up in such a varied, continent-wide and even international manner that even betrayals from Big Green would likely not do much more than wound resistance that has sprung up in locale after locale.
Weekend Edition October 25-27, 2013
Inside the Big Green Machine
What We Talk About When We Talk About Foundation Funding
by MACDONALD STAINSBY
This was originally written as part four of a four part series for Counterpunch.org
When discussions begin among environmentally concerned people about foundation funding and how it offsets resistance, a common complaint is that such a discussion is unnecessarily negative. With all of the world at stake, so goes the argument, we need to involve as many “diverse” views and strategies to stop climate chaos as possible. Rather than “being divisive,” we need positive thinking.
While Big Capital and Big Green are trying to propose they are building a bridge to a better, healthy planet– whatever you do, don’t look down. The bridge is faulty, and you’re already half way over the chasm. Just trust the bridge– and keep walking.
Big Green, Sun Media and Elsipogtog
Fracking Indigenous Country
by MACDONALD STAINSBY
October 21, 2013
This was originally written as part three of a four part series for Counterpunch.org
If anyone doubted that it’s a good thing that Sun News in Canada has been both going broke and also denied the ability to force their way onto Canada’s basic cable system (vastly expanding their audience and getting themselves included in most homes with television subscriptions by default), the racist rantings of Ezra Levant in response to the recent RCMP attack on the Mi’kmaq community of Elsipogtog ought to clear it up.
Repeat This Aloud
How Tides Canada Controls the Secret North American Tar Sands Coalition
by MACDONALD STAINSBY
October 16, 2013
This was originally written as part two of a four part series for Counterpunch.org.
Before Tzeporah Berman began her current position as head of the North American Tar Sands Coalition, Tides Canada had already established these structures to create near-total control over budgets– and therefore, most decisions– for staggering numbers of organizations. Berman was around at the time, working for PowerUp pushing forward offsets garnered by river destruction. Some of the participant organizations already had working partnerships with multiple tar sands producers. The over-whelming majority were already greased by primarily high donors and foundations. Thus, joining the NATSC meant, essentially, double dipping.