Welcome to Canada’s new economy.

It appears that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is winning. Opposition Leader New Democrat Thomas Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau are giving him a free pass. By default, Harper is locking Canada into an economy based on Alberta bitumen and we will rue the day.

We were reminded of it the other day when the local drone of an MP put his name on an editorial page screed in the local Sun Media rag. It was full of misleading information about the agreement to negotiate a free trade deal with the European Union but it implied that Canada’s trade with the Europeans will be largely based on the resource sector and specifically energy—which is bitumen from the Alberta tar sands.

What the MP’s editorial failed to mention is that there is an ongoing problem with the Europeans being opposed to the pollution involved in refining bitumen. Despite Brit Prime Minister David Cameron trying to sell bitumen to the Europeans for Stephen Harper, nobody who understands the problems wants or needs bitumen.

The MP even says that Canadian refineries will want to refine the Canadian product. To-date, no Canadian refinery has been the least bit interested in refining bitumen. The Michigan refinery of Marathon Oil that has refined Alberta bitumen has Windsor, Ontario residents up in arms about the pollution coming from the Detroit side of the river.

But it is the  hypocrisy of the opposition side of our federal parliament that is the most worrisome in regard to this bitumen economy. Thomas Mulcair is your typical lawyer, talking out of both sides of his mouth on the subject. He has damned the Keystone XL pipeline in the American Midwest because he has no union workers to support there. He has questioned the Northern Gateway pipeline in British Columbia but approves of the two West to East pipelines because he thinks they mean jobs.

Justin Trudeau is the guy in the middle of this question because he has tried to skate on all of the pipelines without considering the damage to our climate. If he thinks he can favour these pipelines and keep faith with the younger voters he has been gathering, he is kidding himself. While polls are showing that Canadians are recognizing the economic importance of the pipelines, they have not connected the dots yet to the horror of pollution that is involved.

Canada desperately needs a proper debate on this issue and it has to be sooner than later.

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

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