Black Gold or Fool’s Gold

It was a text-book case of misdirection.

Like snake-oil salesmen of old warming up their marks with a shell game, Prime Minister Harper and Joe Oliver accused radical environmental groups of using “foreign money” to “hijack” Canada’s regulatory process on the Northern Gateway pipeline. And the Prime Minister’s Office labelled ForestEthics, an intervenor in hearings, an enemy of the state.

While we were busy looking under that shell, the PM slipped the pea in his pocket and headed east to sign a Foreign Investment Protection Agreement with the Chinese government. Now we have to treat Chinese companies in Canada the same as our home grown companies. What’s wrong with that you say? After all, Mr Mulroney put the same thing in the North American Free Trade Agreement, right?

Well, follow the pea …

China has already invested some $15 Billion in the oil sands through its state-owned companies such as Petro-China. And it outright owns at least one other. The Chinese government now has a major say in how oilsands giants like Syncrude do business. Talk about hijacked.

It has also pledged $2 Billion toward building the Northern Gateway. Talk about foreign money.

China’s Big Oil companies are propping up brutal regimes in Syria and Iran, defeating our own economic sanctions. So much for ethical oil.

Their human rights and environmental records in Africa are abysmal. So much for First Nations rights.

Energy policy is foreign policy these days and ours is being set in Texas and Beijing. When it comes to Canadian sovereignty, black gold is fool’s gold. Don’t be conned.

© David McLaren February 8, 2012



About David McLaren

David McLaren is an award-winning writer. He has worked in government and the private sector, with NGOs and First Nations in Ontario. He is currently writing from Neyaashiinigamiing on the shore of Georgian Bay and can be reached at In February 2015, he won the nomination for the NDP to represent the riding of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound in the 2015 federal election. See that page for writings during the campaign.
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