Watch this series of videos by ecologist Kevin Timoney of Treeline Ecological Research, where he spells out the evidence for the tar sands polluting the Athabasca River system, and decide for yourself who is more credible...impartial biologists who do hard science, or the Alberta & Canadian governments who are nothing more than mouthpieces for multinational oil & gas companies.
This petrostate Alberta government is acting similar to the way the Bush administration acted when it came to invading Iraq or using torture. Both of these right-wing regimes employ the strategy of looking for so called "experts" to tell them what they want to hear, and if they don't receive it, they will simply manufacture the information in order to fulfill their agenda.
It makes you wonder, when these politicians time and again deny or downplay the harmful effects of the tar sands on the environment and people, how much money they are receiving from these companies to be their puppets.
It was the same when there was the mad cow scare several years back, with the meat and dairy industry ever present in the back pockets of the politicians. Rather than looking into what caused the problem, the Alberta government tried to dismiss it and launched a campaign to brainwash easily manipulated Albertans by giving away "I Heart Alberta Beef" bumper stickers. The people lapped it up like they were doing their patriotic duty as good obedient Albertans believing what their government tells them.
And why was this done? Because the exploitation and slaughter of animals is very profitable in this province. Oh sure, we love our cats and dogs (although that's not strictly true either, given the number of them who are neglected or fill our shelters) and the little birds who twitter at our feeders. But how we so easily and callously can turn a blind eye to the suffering of an animal we have learned to refer to as "food', and is not our pet. You better not have any empathic feelings toward other creatures who have the capacity to feel pain...that's just anti-Albertan.
That feeling of disrespect for nature and animals spills over into how we treat the First Nations people of this province. Don't think that bigotry doesn't play a significant role in why the government doesn't give a shit about the higher cancer rates in Fort Chipewyan being caused by tar sands pollution (though they refuse to admit that industry is responsible). The amount of racist talk I hear from narrow-minded rednecks around Alberta against native people is insidiously reflected in the kind of leadership we have.
If it were rich white people who were affected by rare cancers in anything resembling the numbers we see in Fort Chip, I guarantee you there would be more of an outcry.
And so here we are with much protest in many parts of the world over dirty Alberta bitumen. But instead of doing proper science to monitor and regulate the tar sands to ensure some level of health and safety for everyone affected, the government is handing out leases to oil companies faster than (insert jocular metaphor here).
Funny how they cannot find the money to study what the harmful effects of the tar sands really are, but they can sure as hell find the cash to indoctrinate people, like the leaders of some dangerous religious cult, into thinking this operation is all hunky dory, by launching propagandic ad campaigns that attempt to show how wonderful and beneficial the tar sands are for both people and the environment.
Well to anyone with half a brain who knows the difference between scientific facts and political manipulation, these tactics won't work...unless of course we all get a free bumper sticker saying, "I Heart Alberta Oil". That would convince me.
One thing that may play a role in halting this massive assault on water quality and quantity, wildlife, the environment, and public health, is a class action lawsuit against the Alberta and Canadian governments and the companies responsible for bringing about this end of nature, by anyone and everyone who has suffered the consequences.