What the Conservative government doesn’t want you to know

What the Conservative government doesn’t want you to know

Stephen Harper’s promises in the 2008 election included commitments about bitumen (heavy oil) from Canada’s tar sands: That we would not export the raw material to be upgraded and refined elsewhere (existing US contracts aside) and; that we would not trade the resource to countries with lesser environmental standards.  This past week, as he led a mission to China, Stephen Harper continued to bury those promises in obscurity.

Many Canadians will be surprised that development in the oil sands includes companies that are shells for the Communist Party of China.   These ‘companies’ have a policy of securing raw resources and bringing them to China for any value added work, so that the economic benefits will remain in China.  To that end, of the four known companies supporting the Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline proposal at the National Energy Board, two are Chinese.  That is two out of ten companies that have paid ten million dollars each in order to secure their place in the line that is forming to get raw bitumen out of Canada with minimum economic benefit for this country. 

This is the same government that claims environmentalists are puppets for the interests of foreign radicals because some of their donors are from the United States.   It seems that the more the government protests about opponents serving foreign interests, the more apparent it becomes that they are the ones doing it. 

This is all the more galling since they went out of their way to create sweetheart deals for China and have done nothing to secure our domestic energy policy – refusing to even engage in any conversation about energy that doesn’t begin and end with shipping it all away without securing a single spin-off job for Canada in the process.  To that end, the deal Canada has with Chinese energy companies includes language that ensures Canada will not upgrade or refine our own bitumen.  Talk about hand-cuffed and short-sighted too.

In his Massey Lecture a few years back, defence analyst Gwyn Dyer explained how Canadian bitumen is better suited for diesel and far more expensive to make into ‘sweet’ gas.   The price of diesel has risen almost 35 cents a litre over the last three years and this is largely blamed on insufficient refining capacity.  This affects every commodity that is shipped by truck in Canada – groceries top the list of consumer must-haves and those prices are following diesel through the roof. 

If you will recall, the Conservatives won the 2008 election with a promise to ‘Stand up for Canada’.  What a sham that has proven to be.  The only thing they stand up for is board-room profits and squeezing of every last drop of available money from the wallets of every day Canadians.   They wrap themselves in hockey and the flag and hope no one notices what they are really doing.   This is why we have to get past their talking points, smear jobs on their critics and truly hold them to account based on the facts – something they are not happy to do.