Insight Meditation encourages one to be curious. And curiousity leads to interesting places (and to blog visits from interesting places).
Linda McQuaig provides an excellent model for curiousity. Count on her to ask good questions.
>by Linda McQuaig
July 10, 2006
Whether or not there’s any genuine warmth between Bush and Harper — the subject of endless media speculation — there’s a clear convergence of interests.
Both men are ideological conservatives in the Reagan-Thatcher mould. Both have their political base in the booming, oil-soaked West. Both are extremely friendly to powerful corporate interests, particularly Big Oil.
So the question isn’t how well these two ideological soulmates get along, but, rather: What are they up to? With their agendas so neatly meshed, and so fully in line with that of the corporate world, who’s going to defend the interests of the non-corporate world, or what used to be called “the public interest?”
The McQuaig article discusses the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) agreed to by former Prime Minister Paul Martin, US President George Bush, and Mexican President Vincente Fox, in March 2005. It is a partnership proposal that closely mirrors what the Canadian Council of Chief Executive Officers (CCCE) floated.
In a discussion paper published in April 2004, titled New Frontiers, the CCCE proposed building a 21st century partnership for North America based on five pillars: reinventing borders, maximizing regulatory efficiencies, enhancing energy and resource security, strengthening the defence and security alliance, and forging new institutions to improve management of the relationship.
In March of this year PM Steve comfortably replaced PMPM in the threesome and agreed to the next steps.
My curiousity peaked when I learned that PM Steve’s good buddy, Gwyn Morgan, was part of creating that original piece.
SPP documents refer to the “North American energy market” and “North American energy security” — making no distinction between Canadian and U.S. energy supplies and security. This is fine with both U.S. and Canadian business interests. Of course, much of the “Canadian” energy business is U.S.-owned. But where is the public interest in all this? Is Canadian energy security being sacrificed to ensure U.S. energy security?
She echoes Peter Lougheed, the former Conservative Premier of Alberta, and Melissa Blake, the Mayor of Fort McMurray, who have called for a moratorium on oil sands development. Lougheed has suggested the project is not economically viable and is calling for public discourse on the environmental impact.
Already, the activity has heated up the Alberta economy to the point where Lougheed, who was premier of the province when tar sands development exploded into reality, has been calling for a temporary moratorium on further projects.
In Canada, the provinces, not the federal government, “own” the natural resources, so that the bitumen is in fact the property of the people of Alberta, says Lougheed. Yet the royalty they receive on it amounts to 1 percent of the selling the price of the oil it produces, barely enough to cover the enormous infrastructure services the tar sands projects are occasioning.
He’s calling for a study on the environmental impact of the massive projects, which will cover an area about the size of Florida. Where the interests of continental oil supply must be weighed against the interests of environmental integrity, he proposes that such issues be settled by popular referendum.
I doubt the Lubicon Cree have much hope for a referendum. They’ve been battling this for a long time. But maybe Lougheed does now see his mistake in opening up the sands.