Alberta tar sands documentary raises questions about the newest bonanza

0 Posted by - March 11, 2008 - Blog, Screen
Alberta Tar Sands

Alberta Tar Sands

As the price of crude oil peaked today and another Hummer rolled out on to the asphalt, another hectare or three was dug up in Alberta, Canada – home to the elusive and mythical tar sands oil reserves.

What rapacious oil companies and myopic politicians are calling “solutions” and “progress”, others – from environmentalists to Human Rights advocates to First Nations communities – are calling the worst environmental disaster of the 21st Century.

In the toxic dust that is the wild west resource grab of Canada’s Texas, a small army of media activists and artists have been busy like bees who smell bad honey. Among the many, many media projects emerging from this free-for-all of pollution and profit is a new documentary to air on the CBC this week.

What price is Canada willing to pay for a stake in this century’s greatest energy bonanza? It airs this Thursday, March 13th on CBC television at 9PM Pacific.

From the film’s press release:

Tar Sands: The Selling of Alberta captures the intersecting storylines of a remarkable cast of characters eager to cash in on the oil boom in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Washington lobbyists, Newfie pipefitters, Chinese investors and Norwegian industrialists descend on tar-soaked “Fort McMoney”, a modern-day Eldorado, where rents are sky- rocketing and cocaine abuse is four times the provincial average. Up for grabs – a stake in a $100 billion energy bonanza and Canada’s economic sovereignty.

This one-hour documentary, commissioned by the CBC, tracks the growth of the world’s largest reserve of ‘unconventional’ oil. A Florida-sized “environmental sacrifice zone” has become Canada’s contribution to U.S. energy security in the post-9/11 world. But for many, the Tar Sands are a global warming disaster.

As Fort McMurray bursts at the seams, children from Thunder Bay to Cape Breton are made tar-sands orphans by their migrant-worker parents. Canada’s petrodollar breaks the back of the manufacturing economy in the East. Cancer rates skyrocket downstream of Fort McMurray while Rocky Mountain glaciers melt and disappear. And all the while, Alberta crude goes south to US markets while Eastern Canada pays ever more for insecure Middle East oil.

Visit the film’s site.

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