NIKIFORUK, Andrew. TAR SANDS: Dirty OIL and the Future of a Continent. 2008. Greystone Books. Vancouver, BC.

“Nations become what they produce. Bitumen, the new national staple, is redefining thr character and destiny of Canada.”

“Investment in the tar sands, including pipelines and upgraders now totals approximately $200 billion. The tar sands boom has become the world´s energy project, the world´s largest construction project, and the world´s largest capital project. No comprehensive assessment of the megaproject´s environmental, economic or social impact has been done.”

It starts with a declaration of a political emergency — the above statements and many more. An emergency must Canadians would not recognize; but after reading this book no one can claim ignorance of the appalling destruction of a resource, a massive environmental disaster, the egregious nature of our politicians and the end of our political integrity.

The Athabasca tar sands, centred around Fort McMurray, occupy a vast area in northeastern Alberta. The Athabasca River flows through the area. Its water, 3 barrels for every tar of oil extracted will be used, polluted and spewed out, back into the northern ecosystem. These low grade deposits of bitumen called by our Prime Minister Harper as “an ocean of oil” are the last great resource of our nation. We are squandering it, essentially giving it away to the war—based economy of the USA and the ever profit—hungry corporations; our government has gift wrapped them in the paper of NAFTA and SPP.

Nikiforuk has written an organized, fact—filled highly readable analysis of this megaproject in all its horror and the ramifications of the political deals that make this exploitation possible. Read it and be enraged. To understand the politics watch “You, Me & the SPP.” And contemplate the plans for nuclear power to generate the energy to release and refine the tar. Fortunately the author ends his work with a long and comprehensive 12 point list of the action we can take —now. The most important is, “Don´t wait for politicians”. Read this critically important book and act now.

Filed under Andrew Nikiforuk, Book Reviews