“Canadian crude.” This is the language used in a new “mobile” website launched by the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Governments at the opening of the 2013 Energy and Mines Ministers Conference. Canadian Governments appear to have adopted the most generic description possible for bitumen that is wrenched or sucked from the earth in Northern Alberta
4RG and environmental organizations use the words “tar sands” as these words refer to the commodity that is actually extracted. The fossil fuel industry uses the words “oil sands”, as bitumen is ultimately processed into oil.
Tar sands bring to mind the words “dirty oil”. Even oil sands has negative overtones. If Canadian Governments succeed in introducing the generic term “Canadian Crude” it will successfully distance the product from its origins.
According to the Conference Press Release, the new website was developed “with the goal of enhancing consistency in energy information and increasing energy awareness in Canada.” Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, referred to the new mobile website as “a reliable source of information that’s convenient to access from anywhere on your smart phone.”
Naturally the prime purpose of the new website is to emphasize the monetary importance of oil and gas exports to Canada’s present economy. Most of the critical data on the site can be accessed elsewhere, but its accumulation and presentation in a government site has some utility.
The cataloguing of tar sands under the banner of Canadian Crude minimizes the risks to the world environment that this resource presents.
This initiative is consistent with other Canadian Government propaganda. For example, in its campaign for approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline our Government compares the tar sands’ product with Venezuelan Crude. In its objection to the Fuel Directive of the European Union our Government maintains that the tar sands product ought to be in the same class as crude oil from other countries. (Read More about this Directive)
These comparisons play into the Government insistence that Canadian tar sands oil is not that different from oil produced in other countries who have been suppliers to the world for decades. Why should Canada be the target for environmental action and regulatory discrimination when they are not?
We will answer that question in subsequent blogs. In the meantime we invite commentary, particularly from those surfers who do not share our views.