Care for Creation

At recent gatherings in North Bay and Sudbury, Rev. Jim and Donna Sinclair shared their experiences and concerns surrounding the industrial development of the Tar Sands in northern Alberta.

Please contact Jim and Donna, if you would like to continue the conversation.  Donna also blogs at Wood Lake Books, often on environmental topics.

For further reading:

Ottawa Tar Sands action (will keep you informed about upcoming actions in Canada)

 Friends of the Earth: A paper that will illuminate the way a Canadian company ( and Canada) is seen in the US.

Andrew Nikiforuk’s book: Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent, Greystone Books, April 2010, paperback, 208 pages  

KAIROS discussion paper: http://www.kairoscanada.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Sus-TTS-08-09-ChristianFaithAndTarSands.pdf

VIDEO   The Dirty Truth   (The video we saw at presbytery)

VIDEO  Ottawa Action (The video we saw at presbytery.)

Yinke Dene Freedom Train

Finally, don’t miss this wonderful look at why we need to preserve the BC rainforest in the face of the Northern Gateway Pipeline:

VIDEO: SPOIL

Q and A:

Don’t the tar sands create jobs?

According to Alberta government statistics, approximately 147,000 people are employed in the mining and oil and gas sectors in Alberta.14 Many of these jobs offer excellent pay, but with difficult overall conditions such as arduous physical work, long hours and isolation.

Indigenous communities in northern Alberta, like elsewhere in Canada, have struggled to find good employment. Some of these communities, particularly in the Fort McKay area, have benefited significantly from jobs and other economic spin-offs related to the tar sands industry, providing an overall boost to their economic health. Other communities downstream and further away from the epicentre of the tar sands, such as Fort Chipewyan, have seen few benefits in terms of jobs and are very concerned about livelihoods that depend on healthy ecosystems.

Alberta does not have an adequate workforce to fill the jobs created by the rapid development of the tar sands. Accordingly industry and government have worked together to bring in many workers from other parts of Canada and beyond. In Canada, many of the new tar sands workers are from the east coast, particularly Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, provinces hit hard in recent years by the closing of the fisheries and coal mines. In 2006, 3,686 Nova Scotians migrated to Alberta, triple the number from two years earlier.15 The economic and social impacts on the small communities have been unprecedented as young educated residents and many men have left in search of sources of income. Shops and restaurants have closed, municipal tax bases have been badly eroded, and the very survival of some East coast towns is in doubt.

However even the influx of workers from other provinces has not been enough to fill all the jobs. Accordingly, the federal government, working closely with Alberta, has created new programs to facilitate the quick import of qualified workers from places such as Mexico, China and the Philippines. …The total number of temporary foreign workers in 2006 was 22,392, triple the number from a decade earlier.16

The problems associated with importing workers from abroad are familiar: unscrupulous recruiting agencies charging exorbitant fees, sub-standard living conditions, threat of deportation and lack of support for people who often do not understand their rights under these programs and have difficulty communicating their needs, given language and cultural barriers. Temporary workers have no access to immigration services and no guarantees of how long the work will last. When the work runs out, some enter the underground work economy where they are even more vulnerable to abuse.

From Kairos:  ChristianFaithAndTarSands.pdf

 

 

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