Alberta, Canada: A glimpse of New York’s future

‘Petro-pirates’ robbing Alberta’s resources

Flushing justice down the pipeline with Wiebo Ludwig’s arrest
Published January 14, 2010  by Jack Locke in Viewpoint Corey Pierce

. . . . . Alberta is not a democratic province. It is a province controlled by international corporations that see profit and extraction of natural resources as their prime object.

In order to accomplish their objective, the industry will use its abundant resources to do things that are not very nice. Companies will send crews of desperate men to attack the land and lay waste on anyone who gets in their way. These crews may wear uniforms and call themselves Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Or the petro-pirates may hire private security forces to instigate dirty tricks to dissipate legitimate opposition to the destruction of Alberta’s air, water and land.

There is a great amount of opposition in Alberta to what the Progressive Conservative dynasty allows. There are voices in every Alberta city that oppose the wanton poisonings of citizens who happen to live downwind or adjacent to an oil or gas well.

But Oilberta is a one-industry town. It is run by the bosses of EnCana, Shell and other giant corporations. They have infiltrated every aspect of Alberta society: hospitals, schools and the government. They have put a clamp on dissension and discussion in a most disgraceful way.

. . . . .

I have lived 15 km downwind of a gas plant. I can tell you stories about the clouds of toxic chemicals that are emitted in the dark of night, while country children sleep in their beds. I can tell you how the Alberta government watchdog agency prohibited me from speaking at a public hearing over whether to allow Shell Canada to expand its Caroline gas plant. I can tell you how the government of Alberta intercepted my private communications for at least four months in 1999.

Nobody likes explosions of pipelines. Nobody likes to have a seismic crew destroy the ageless aquifers that provide drinking water for cattle and country folk. Nobody likes to have a gas well spewing harmful vapours into the air. But people do like automobiles, and they like to receive unnaturally healthy returns on investment. Ah, there’s the rub.

The situation in Alberta will continue for some time to come. So long as birds are found dead on tarsand tailings ponds, so long as drinking water ignites in the rural homes of Albertans, so long as the government permits these atrocities, not much will change.

All that Ludwig wanted was a decent place to live, free from the dangers of modern life. A simple rural existence, subsistence. You’d think it could be found in remote Hythe, Alta. But obviously not.

The idea of sustainable development, respect of citizens and nature and a just society are words not often heard in Alberta’s highest offices. And even if they are heard, they are meaningless in the current political environment.

. . . . .

As a large, cold nation we should develop a national policy that protects the land for future generations, one that protects our natural resources. Depletion of our life’s blood will only ensure a miserable future for our children.

Even if our governments allow for the exhaustion of our non-renewable resources, they must not prohibit legitimate debate on the subject. The word tyranny should have no place in the Canadian lexicon. Yet, the repeated arrest of Ludwig is a sad example of justice being flushed down the pipeline.

Read full piece at Fast Forward Weekly