Canada is taking the wrong road

In the past many weeks, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced over $20 billion in new military spending. It is my opinion that world leaders have woken up to what will be the true battle of the 21st century. It will not be terrorism or climate change, though those will be both sideeffects, and scapegoats… rather, it will be ever diminishing fossil fuel energy resources that will dictate where, when and how countries fight to survive and adapt.

Lee R Raymond

“We don’t have the option of saying that anything is off the table. We simply need to do everything we can,” NPC Chairman and former ExxonMobil Corp. Chief Executive Officer Lee R. Raymond told reporters following the council’s July 18 meeting, where the study [Facing Hard Truths] was approved and relayed to US Sec. of Energy Samuel W. Bodman, who had requested it.

So as I said, there seem to be two distinct camps to face this challenge.

Camp #1: Those that would fight aggressively, either through military might, or political muscle, for every last remaining scrap of oil, thus propping up their doomed economies with the promise of “cheap” energy, while wasting that same energy on fighting unwinnable wars and sowing dissent and fear both at home and abroad.

Camp #2: Those that choose to move away quickly from fossil fuels, and either reduce energy consumption drastrically or dramatically expanding renewable energy resources (or both), thus diminishing their need to rely on foreign supplies in fiery lands and making the issue of political capital through control of fossil fuel resources a moot point. (They also have the added benefit of “controlling” what will inevitably be the future of energy production)

It is worth noting that only the developed or largely-developed world need bother with these “camps”, as only they can and will continue to afford the cost of oil as it becomes more dear. We are already seeing the least wealthy countries scramble to provide energy for their citizens as costs rise… and being an oil exporter does not guarantee you a privileged spot. Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ghana, Bolivia, Argentina, Bangladesh, and many others are all feeling the effects of higher energy costs, and growing demand.

With the ongoing military buildup, and continued stubborn refusal to reevaluate our mission in Afghanistan, Stephen Harper is clearly positioning Canada to be in Camp #1 along with the US, Britain, Australia, and other war-on-terror stalwarts.

The message being sent by Stephen Harper and Defense Minister O’Connor is clear, Canada is preparing it’s military to fight wars abroad.
C17 GlobeMaster

  1. New C17 Globemasters,and associated new support structure, to get us there.
  2. New Air Expeditionary Force to clear a path.
  3. New Leopard Tanks to fight the “enemy”.

Then of course there is the plan for the new fleet of small Arctic ice breakers and Arctic deep sea port, but I will get to that later.

Canada is an oil exporting nation.. were it not for that fact, and the high price of energy, would Canada be able to afford this strategy? Would we even be able to afford our continued presence in Afghanistan?.

While I am all for the solid defense of Canadian borders and values, I cannot support a government that would jeopardize our god-given gift of vast energy resources by squandering it abroad in a fight to secure energy resources for other countries.

Should we use those Arctic ice breakers to stake out and defend our sovereingty over energy resources which may be hidden under the ice in the Canadian Arctic? Absolutely. But if we just turn around and use that energy to fuel a raging war machine, then really what are we gaining?

It is time to refocus.

The countries that win this fight for energy in the 21st Century will be the ones who successfully transition their economies AWAY from fossil fuels. If they don’t do that, no matter how many foreign oil and gas fields they control, they will be constantly threatened by ever-increasing energy prices.

Canada is in a priviledged position. We are an oil exporter, we have the largest developed unconventional reserves (the tar sands) in the world, and we are a stable, democratic country. We have the opportunity to shift the money we make from the ongoing subsidization of energy security and energy consumption… to finding alternatives and ways to conserve.

The $300 Million being spent on Bagotvilles new Air Expeditionary Wing could have been spent to set up a nationwide research and development program into all forms of renewable energy.

Alberta Wind Farm

Funds for development of transit systems, national electrified rail, wind, solar, and tidal farms as well as biomass generators should all be funded directly from the sale of our national endowment of fossil fuels. Instead, we’re fighting unwinnable wars in far away lands, and making excuses for our industries to continue consuming and emitting massive amounts of energy and waste.

Time is short, but it is not too late to switch camps. Perhaps our energy endowment has made us complacent. Perhaps we are simply being greedy. Or perhaps we are being pushed by outside influences.. but whatever it is, if Canada and Canadians wish to continue having the standard of living we’ve had over the past 60 years, then we’d better refocus on the truly Canadian values that we claim to hold so dear.

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