Tar Sands: The Selling of Alberta

Thursday, March 13, 2008
For my Canadian readers, I highly recommend you stop whatever else you had planned for tonight’s entertainment (unless you’re sending me presents…I like presents) and park your butts on the couch, turn on the idiot box, and tune into CBC. Doc Zone will be airing “Tar Sands: The Selling of Alberta”. I’ve talked about this part of Alberta before and I think most know my general views on the whole subject so rather than try to sum up the premise of the doc myself, I’ll just let you read what the CBC is saying:

Tar Sands: The Selling of Alberta captures the intersecting storylines of a remarkable cast of characters eager to cash in on the oil boom in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Washington lobbyists, Newfie pipefitters, Chinese investors and Norwegian industrialists descend on tar-soaked "Fort McMoney", a modern-day Eldorado, where rents are sky rocketing and cocaine abuse is four times the provincial average. Up for grabs - a stake in a $100 billion energy bonanza and Canada's economic sovereignty.

This hour-length documentary, commissioned by the CBC, tracks the growth of the world's largest reserve of 'unconventional' oil. This Florida-sized "environmental sacrifice zone" has become Canada's contribution to U.S. energy security in the post-9/11 world. Yet, for many, the tar sands are a global warming disaster.

As Fort McMurray bursts at the seams, children from Thunder Bay to Cape Breton are made tar-sands orphans by their migrant-worker parents. Canada's petrodollar breaks the back of the manufacturing economy in the East. Cancer rates skyrocket downstream of Fort McMurray while Rocky Mountain glaciers melt and disappear. And all the while, Alberta crude goes south to U.S. markets while Eastern Canada pays ever more for insecure Middle East oil.

In an isolated region of the north, Canada's future is being carved out of the forest at a breakneck pace. Tar Sands: The Selling of Alberta questions how much Canada is willing to sacrifice for a stake in this century's greatest energy bonanza.

Tar Sands: The Selling of Alberta airs tonight (Thursday March 13) on CBC television and then on Sunday on CBC Newsworld. Please check your local listings for the time in your area.

Upcoming Doc Zone documentaries of note that you might be interested in: The Climb (March 27 on CBC/March 29 on CBC Newsworld) and Dubai: Miracle or Mirage (March 20 on CBC).


sp said...

I hope to catch this doc tonight. Thanks for the reminder.

Linda Rosenstroem said...

Rumour has it an Edmonton-based film company made this documentary - amazing! And all along we thought every Albertan voted Tory and wore a welding mask to work...

Karen said...

SP, me too! I've got a spot on the couch all picked out and ready for prime viewing. I'm hoping it'll shed a light on the Oil Sands that the rest of Canada doesn't get to see.

Linda, thanks for stopping by! CBC Radio had an interview with one of the filmmakers earlier today but I missed it as I was at work. Hopefully they'll have a podcast of it later. As for the Tory comment...I think I'll just leave that one alone. :)

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