2012-05-04 Letter to the Freedom Train: BC, Northern Gateway Pipeline (transport of oil) AND Saskatchewan, the energy supply to make the tar flow (nuclear).
The Freedom Train ride to Toronto, to the Enbridge Annual Shareholders’ Meeting, is inspirational to all of us.
It was my good fortune to meet you on the train platform in Saskatoon.
Many Canadians are unaware of the role of Saskatchewan in tar sands expansion. Perhaps the following will provide a broader understanding that will in some way be helpful.
Best wishes and In solidarity,
Sandra Finley (contact info)
BACK-END: You (and many others in Canada) are fighting to stop the Northern Gateway Pipeline (the back-end of the process, moving the product to market with its destruction of the Earth’s capacity to support your communities and also inevitable, unimaginable destruction of coastal waterways.)
FRONT-END: The tar sands extend from Alberta into Saskatchewan. Here in Saskatchewan, activists are fighting to stop the front-end of the production. The energy supply needed for tar sands expansion is to come from “small” nuclear reactors. The oil and gas industry is partnered with the uranium/nuclear industry (and Cameco (uranium) is vertically integrated with Bruce Power (nuclear) through a 30% ownership stake).
There is a pretty amazing mobilization of people, in North America and internationally to stop tar sands development. You and others can see the impending “more” destruction and disease.
Most people know about Fort McMurray with the downstream consequences for Fort Chipewyan.
Most people are unaware that by 2003 some areas of northern Saskatchewan were already past critical load limits for acidification. The prevailing winds from Fort McMurray are from the northwest. As explained to me by the scientist from the Saskatchewan Research Council who had been studying water quality in the north since the 1980’s when the lakes and streams were perfectly healthy, “Northern Saskatchewan is dying”.
The Saskatchewan Watershed Authority knew the situation. It was reported in the 2003 Annual Report of the Canadian Council of Ministers of Environment (CCME).
You will know how many more tonnes of sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide have been emitted in the 9 years since 2003, and the plans for the future. Northern Saskatchewan will be a wasteland, by their plans. It is a beautiful area of the Canadian Shield that supports First Nations people.
As mentioned, the “small” nuclear reactors are needed as the energy supply for more tar sands development.
The people of Saskatchewan said “no” to nuclear through public consultations in 2009. The industry, working with the Government of Brad Wall and the University of Saskatchewan, is circumventing the public wish, moving the agenda through the University. The Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation (CCNI) is now established at the U of S. (The Petroleum Technology Research Centre (PTRC) was established well over a decade ago at the U of R . . . public funding of oil and gas companies. I’m sure everyone would agree that THEY need public funding!)
The Govt of Sask has given tens of millions of dollars to the U of S, ear-marked for nuclear. (The nuclear industry would not actually exist without public funding – investment companies won’t touch them with a ten-foot pole.) The Govt of Brad Wall went into partnership with Hitachi for the small reactors with a donation of $10 million. They also signed a memorandum with the Idaho National Laboratory (IDL), specialists in all things nuclear. (As did Alberta a year before Saskatchewan, but I think the Govt-Industry-University triumvirate found the Alberta activists formidable – – and decided to move things through Saskatchewan. Bruce Power announced in Dec 2011 that they have abandoned attempts to establish reactors in Alberta.)
American corporate wants the resources (tar sands and water). Their usual modus operandi: undermine local democratic government and set up quisling governments. (If that doesn’t work they drop bombs.) Brad Wall, Premier of Saskatchewan, is the “co-spearhead” of the “Largest on the planet, Canada-U.S. Western Energy Corridor” for the southward movement of tar sands product (“non-renewable” energy) and nuclear power (“clean” energy). Click on [ 2009-06-15 Premiers, governors promote Canada-U.S. energy corridor ] , then scroll down past the headers at the top of the page.
There is increasing militarization. Some examples
- The Canada – U.S. Troop Exchange Agreement
- the “Cougars for Cops” programme (armoured vehicles in Canadian cities)
- drones along the Canada – U.S. border
Some of it is documented in the chronology at http://sandrafinley.ca/?p=527– – scroll down, past the Lockheed Martin info – sorry I do not have a more concise document).
The militarization is a necessary component of the “petro-state”, the back-up in the event that citizens become effective at thwarting the intentions of the corporatocracy.
Lockheed Martin Corporation is the American military, the Pentagon, the ones to whom Harper gave the untendered contract for F-35 stealth bombers, manufacturers of drones, heavily into international surveillance, contracts for the Canadian census, huge funders of political parties, lobbyists, corrupt-as-hell with a string of court convictions and out-of-court settlements. (See Lockheed Martin, War Economy).
Lockheed Martin is establishing itself in Saskatoon. First, through the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology (SIIT) which then mushroomed into an Aviation Training Centre at the Saskatoon Airport with other collaborators: the Sask Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) commercial pilot programme; Western Economic Diversification; Boeing; and the Govt of Sask. Click on [ 2010-11-01
Saskatchewan Aviation Learning Centre ]. If you know the language, the Training Centre includes drone technology. (You can now earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles across the border in North Dakota, click on [2011-04-22 The Drone-ification of America. (correction: .. of NORTH America)]
Lockheed Martin is recently plying the University of Saskatchewan with its money: [2012-04-17 Lockheed Martin at U of S. “Collaboration Topics”. Help!] The “Collaboration Topics” are related to war weaponry. The leadership at the University defends collaboration (after running the University into serious financial waters). Some of us got elected to the University Senate in order to challenge what is essentially the theft of the University – – turned over to corporate interests for what is really very little money.
The increasing militarization needs to be combated. By the Troop Exchange Agreement in 2008, the Govt of Canada can call in the American Troops in the case of civil emergency (ostensibly to help out in cases of natural disasters). More recently American police can work in Canada.
It is important to include the RCMP, police and Canadian military personnel in the information flowing through our networks. In response to the Encana pipeline “incidents” near Dawson Creek, the “anti-terrorist” squad of the RCMP was called out. I wrote to the Superintendent (who is now retired) to say, “these are not terrorists. They are people defending their lands, families and livestock against poisoning. It is poisoning that causes
fertility problems, birth defects and slow disease. The RCMP and the Justice system are being used to intimidate citizens and to protect corporate
interests. (Click on 2008-11-06 Tar Sands & Encana: Letter to RCMP anti-terrorism squad and 2008-11-09 Encana Tar Sands: Reply from RCMP. Rule of law? Jane Jacobs.)
It was good to hear your chiefs state the obvious, that they are not “terrorists” or radicals, as Government officials have recently attempted to portray citizens who stand in defence of their lands. Hopefully people will see the propaganda for what it is, another tool to take down democracy.
Because I run an activist email network (for about 12 years) and because I am involved in an on-going trial over refusal to fill out a census form in 2006 (because of the “out-sourcing” of work on it to Lockheed Martin), I receive information I would not find on my own. When pieced together the information forms a clear picture. Canadians should be aware and very active.
We have to stand up, speak out and form yet stronger confederacies. The Freedom Train is an important contribution.
We stand in spirit with you.