What Is Harper Afraid Of?

SOURCE: Katie Gelfling (k.gelfling@gmail.com)

SUBHEAD: Canada's Stephen Harper is George Bush without the foreign wars - just the war on Canada itself.

Image above: Opening illustration from "What is Harper Afraid Of?" series by Franke James. From (http://www.frankejames.com/debate/?p=11818).  

[Note by source Katie Gelfling: Here is a political comic/visual animated essay by Franke James about the tar sands, First Nations tribes, the loosening of environmental regulations, and Prime Minister Harper. Be sure to visit her site (http://www.frankejames.com/debate/?p=11818). There have been a lot of pro-tar sands ads in movie theaters and television, so I think it's important to try to understand what is not being said. The real controversy of lowering environmental standards and their potential impact is being hidden so that the public won't notice that the costs are being externalized by the oil companies onto them. I know only a little about the tar sands, so this opened my eyes about some of the issues up in Canada. I hope more folks in Canada wake up and it makes a difference. Stephen Harper is basically George Bush without the wars, and like the US, Canada has a large rural population whose livelihoods depend on resource extraction.] By Franke James on 3 March 2012 for FrankeJames.com - (www.frankejames.com/debate/?p=11818)
Video above: Animated video of "What is Harper Afraid Of?" by Franke James. From (http://vimeo.com/43432620).
Below is a sample of a letter you can send to Prime Minister Harper.

Subject: What is Harper afraid of?
Dear Prime Minister Harper,

What are you afraid of? Rivers that turn black and run into the sea? Birds falling from a heavy sky? People fleeing a toxic land? Or maybe you're most afraid of this... Tar Sands Oil being labeled dirty.

I am writing to you because I am afraid of the Harper Government's plans to build the Northern Gateway pipeline straight through the Rocky Mountains. And the Great Bear Rainforest -- all to facilitate the expansion and export of tar sands oil, which Environment Canada identifies as our "fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions."
With all the changes that Harper is making...
  • Gutting the fisheries act
  • Trashing the environmental assessment act
  • Overruling the National Energy Board
  • Barring environmental groups from hearings
  • Barring Canadian citizens from hearings (unless they live or work in the area)
  • Speeding up environmental reviews
  • Slashing Environment Canada's budget
  • Silencing the Scientists (and anyone who disagrees with the Harper Government)
  • Lifting the 40 year ban on tankers on B.C.'s coast
... We could be hit with some major environmental catastrophes.
The Harper Government claims they are doing "responsible resource development". But a "secret" Environment Canada report, released under access to information laws, shows that to be false. (See: http://www.frankejames.com/pdf/ATIP-Oilsands-Pollution.pdf)
The May 2011 report states that contamination of the Athabasca River is a "high profile concern". It cited recent studies which suggest that "elevated levels of pollutants near mining sites including hydrocarbons and heavy metals raises questions about possible effects on health of wildlife and downstream communities." The government report also said that current data cannot generate a "big picture" view of impacts on the ecosystem. And that "oil sands development will continue to put pressure on vulnerable species."
Surprisingly, Minister Joe Oliver -- the man who has travelled across Canada pitching the need to speed up Environmental Reviews -- said he'd never seen the secret government report and didn't know whether the fish from the Athabasca River were safe to eat. (When pressed, he admitted that he had heard about deformed and contaminated fish in the news.) See: http://www.frankejames.com/debate/?p=11818
Why is the government looking the other way? Is this 'environmental racism' as the First Nations contend?
Shouldn't the Federal Minister in charge of the oil sands be held accountable for oil sands mining that is polluting our air, land and water?
Does this mean that poisoning downstream communities and wildlife, is just the "cost of doing business" in Canada?
The government and the oil industry need to be held accountable for the pollution from oil sands mining. Canadian taxpayers and oil sands investors are at risk of class action lawsuits if we look the other way.
Canada's environmental international standing will be dragged further through the proverbial mud as the federal government invites the oil industry to treat the natural environment in a manner similar to standards applied in developing nations to foster economic growth.
Tell the oil industry and the Harper Government that doing business in Canada must include protecting our air, land, water, wildlife and people from oil pollution.
Please stand up for Canada. Say no to irresponsible resource development. Keep our country beautiful from sea to shining sea.


Anonymous said...

It would b nice if you could provide a section in this article for voting on this critical issue. Good piece.

Juan Wilson said...

Aloha Anonymous,

Follow the links in the article to Franke's site. You can also use the email addresses in the sample letter to Harper.

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