On Jan. 9th, Minister of Natural Resources, Joe Oliver in representing the position of the Harper Government, offered Canadians an open letter http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/media-room/news-release/2012/1/3520
The letter proposes that those opposing Tar Sands expansion, and specifically the Northern Gateway pipeline, are “radical socialists” funded by “foreign interests”, and now threaten Canada’s economic interests.
It is my contention that most environmentalists do not absolutely oppose all tar sands development, but rather see that it could be part of a transition stage, but only if it is carefully regulated by community and environmental interests.
Additionally, it is helpful to read a sentiment offered by a member of Cleangreen Saskatchewan, one of the groups that the Harper Government warns Canadians about. “Environmentalists have been calling for economic development in the form of renewable energy projects and energy conservation initiatives, which create many times more jobs per dollar invested. Energy conservation creates jobs, and because it saves money for Canadians, there is more money in the economy to spend on other things. Reducing waste, saving money and conserving the values we already have - in the form of healthy ecosystems - is nothing but conservative!"
How do Joe’s comments square with Pope Benedict’s teaching? Benedict has been relentless in critiquing the unjust global economy. He has warned that surrender to the law of the market leads to deceptive illusions of happiness, calling all members of the Church to work and speak out in favor of an economy that cares for the poor. Speaking in various forums, the Pope has made the following points: economic models based on irresponsible consumption of natural and environmental resources are jeopardizing the well-being of present and future generations; the consumer race and consequent waste tends to generate a spiritual vacuum among people in well-off countries; prevailing models of consumption and production are clearly unsustainable. In Africa, the Pope denounced business groups that exploit resources that leave local populations impoverished.
The above comments leave us with much to ponder. What about the letter ascribed to Joe Oliver? Is it a genuine expression of concern for the future of community and environment? Could it be that it shows governmental authorities are truly focused on green, and therefore they pull out all stops to defeat anyone or anything that interfere with green… dollars?
Archdiocese of Regina