From a reader in Alberta:
George Monbiot is indeed out of his gourd.
Setting aside the patronizing stereotypes he dutifully lists, I am particularly struck by a strange assertion;
So here I am, watching the astonishing spectacle of a beautiful, cultured nation turning itself into a corrupt petro-state. Canada is slipping down the development ladder, retreating from a complex, diverse economy towards dependence on a single primary resource, which happens to be the dirtiest commodity known to man.
Oil and gas production in Canada is primarily located in my home province of Alberta. We’ve been pursuing oil production for roughly one hundred years and development of the so-called “tar sands” (the really icky oil that Mr Monbiot is no doubt referring to) has been going on for a bit more than 40 years. Toss in some agriculture and you’ve just described the bulk of our economy since we became a province in 1915. This is not a new thing.
So what, I ask myself, is this mysterious “complex, diverse economy” that we’ve supposedly abandoned in order to pursue that dirty commodity? I’ll grant you that the nation as a whole is exporting fewer comedians to the U.S. than in years past but, other than that, I’m baffled.
The truth is that the direction of our economy is in the other direction; away from fossil fuel dependence, and toward a knowledge/technology-based economy. Sure, we still extract a lot of oil & gas but we can also brag about being among the world leaders in nanotechnology research. Not bad for a bunch of rig pigs and cowboys.
Perfectly illustrating Mr Monbiot’s abysmal ignorance, is his decision to go to Toronto in order to weigh in on this issue.
Toronto, of course, is to the oil industry what Manhatten is to ranching, thus, he will return to the U.K. none the wiser for breaking his self-imposed ban on flying.