Honour the Treaties Tour: Opinion Piece

by AnthonyStock on February 28, 2014 - 5:11pm








Neil Young, a Canadian musician known recently for stirring up controversy with regards to the Alberta tar sand. He did four benefit shows as part of a week-long Canadian mini-tour called "Honor The Treaties" to assist the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Legal Defence Fund. As good as the tour sounds to the public sphere my personal opinion veers in the opposite direction. Economy plays a huge role in today’s society; with a bad market economy we play witness too many variables that affect our everyday standard of living, for example high unemployment rates and the increase in social inequality. With the fragility of today’s economy I have to side against the tour to stop the use of the Alberta tar sands as it is a major source of revenue for Canada’s economy.


Firstly, having a stable economy is important to any country anywhere in the world, how important the Athabasca oils sands are to the world makes Canada have 13% of the global oil reserves, the world’s third-largest, after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. Estimates made by the Canadian Energy Institute state that the oil sands will create more than $307 billion in tax revenue across Canada over the next 25 years, $187 billion of that will go to the Canadian government and the rest going back the local Alberta government. Not only do the oil sands create employment in Alberta, 23 % of oil related employment is done outside of Alberta, thus expanding job opportunity throughout Canada.


Secondly, the job opportunity that is presented with the Athabascan oil sands is incredible. Approximately 110,000 people across Canada outside the province of Alberta already have employment thanks to the oil sands and this is expected to grow to over 500,000 new jobs over the next 25 years. Not only do we see Non first nation Canadians working the oil sands but roughly 10 % of the oil sands workforce is Aboriginal, in reality if you think about it as much as the first nations care about their highly sought out land, earning money for either yourself or family is automatically everyone’s first priority, regardless of the circumstances. The oil is important to the employees working in the industry but it is also just as important to other countries.


Lastly, Canada is not the only country that relies on the oil that comes from the oil sands. Roughly 1.9 million barrels of crude was produced every day from the oil sands in 2011, numbers expected to rise within the next twenty years. Canada exports mainly down south to the United States. With profits of over 3.5 billion dollars helping and with the continuous pumping of oil, profits will continue to climb boosting Canada’s economy exponentially. Therefore the only the sensible thing to do is to expand the oil sands and continue production of crude oil.


On the whole, with that being said, the production of oil in the Athabascan region should continue. The economy today is in a time of crises and the discontinuance of oil production could be devastating to Canada and its surrounding countries. With the stoppage of oil production this would lead many people to losing their jobs and a crash in the economy as we know it.

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