What else to say about the recent advertising about the cleanliness and economic benefits of tar sands development by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). While not quite reaching the level of saturation, these ads are frequent, maddening and astonishing. But I have to admit, it takes a lot of balls on the part of CAPP to actually promote the tar sands (I know they're actually called the oil sands or something but let's go with common nomenclature here) as somehow environmentally benign.

I could spend many sentences describing the environmental damage already done by this strip mining for oil but let's just say that common sense dictates that it's almost indescribable. This is a huge, billion dollar, water gulping piece of devastation that has been going on now for decades. My opinion admittedly but, again, I could spend oodles of space outlining what this disastrous process has wrought. But again let's agree that it's tremendous and it's already done.

What's done is done and it's in the past now.

Which is what I find most offensive about the CAPP/tar sand ads. They trumpet how new processes are cleaner, safer, more economically beneficial. OK, let's assume that from now on there will be no more environmental harm, let's assume the rose-coloured glasses CAPP wears are actually a glimpse into a reality I can't see. 

Great, no more pollution, no more ugly scarred, scraped hectares by the thousands, no more fresh water misused. Good for the oil industry for changing all of their ways of extraction, refinement and transportation (still sounds like a fairy tale though). That's the message of these ads - the oil industry developing (that's another hard word to swallow when it comes to the tar sands).

And whether you swallow that line of reasoning (another word that's hard to swallow when it comes to the tar sands) or you don't, it misses such a large question I am left agog at how little CAPP thinks of the intelligence of the average Canadian.

With decades of damage done, what are they going to do about cleaning up that mess. How are they going to go back years to reclaim land and water that essentially is lost. 

The environmental fight around the tar sands, isn't about the past - that's just ammunition now for those against further development. The battle is about what will, literally, happen on the ground in the years to come.

And I don't find any comfort in CAPP's vastly condescending propaganda.


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