It's gradually setting in. Harper's capitulation to China's Communist rulers on Nexen is an admission of how much trouble the Tar Sands are really in. The Toronto Star's Heather Mallick wades into the Bully Boy's blunder on Nexen.
Harper couldn’t say no to China because he wants quick money for a
tarsands industry that’s starting to look weak and because he’s an
ideologue who thinks all business deals are good ones. Are the markets
happy? Gosh, yes. Are Canadians of all political stripes pleased by
increased foreign ownership of Alberta’s precious innards? Irrelevant.
Harper’s a bully at home, a wimp overseas. He happily torments
environmentalists, refugee claimants, women, unions, public servants,
you know, the locals. He ignores Parliament or prorogues it, and treats
the Investment Canada Act — which states that foreign investment must benefit Canada — as a joke.
That’s his shtick and to be fair, it plays well, at least in the
West. But when Harper the bully is faced with the biggest bully of them
all, the power colossus that is China, he hands over our jewels, our
Here, have some bitumen, he tells China, and laughs weakly.
The Harper government knows that approving the sale of Nexen — as
well as the $6-billion sale of Progress Energy to Malaysian-owned
Petronas — angers Canadians. Most of us could not map Malaysia’s
industrial strategy nor indeed Malaysia. But we know China well because
everything we own was made there and, frankly, it’s starting to grate.
China is implacable and the tarsands are wobbly. As the journalist Andrew Nikiforuk wrote recently in thetyee.ca,
China’s funding of unbridled bitumen extraction will make the building
of pipelines like Northern Gateway and Keystone financially necessary
and therefore almost inevitable. It will turn Canada into “a bitumen
plantation economy of oil, for oil, and by oil.”
As the U.S. (unwisely, I say) fracks for huge reserves of shale gas
and Chinese economic growth inevitably slows, Alberta’s expensively
refined oil-out-of-tar will be unsaleable. So let’s haul it out now, let
fancy foreigners — not us — refine it and sell it cheaply. That’s
It’s a tragedy for Alberta and for Canada. Thanks to climate change,
we have entered the most difficult and conflict-ridden century of human
history. Fast cash from China won’t help. Chinese cash isn’t going into a
sovereign fund, not even in Alberta. It will vanish.
It's stomach churning to know that Harper has committed Canada to pushing through the Northern Gateway regardless of opposition or the already rigged environmental review hearings. That much was clear when he delivered Nexen into the Beijing Politburo's control long before the hearings are even concluded and while Enbridge continues to refuse to disclose who will ultimately own and control the pipeline itself.