Clayton Thomas-Muller, a 34-year-old Cree activist who works for indigenous rights and environmental justice, says Alberta’s oil sands patch is killing native communities — culturally and literally.
In town for Friday night’s G20-related Shout Out for Global Justice at Massey Hall, Thomas-Muller says he has “come to call out Canada on the global stage on its failed energy and climate policy and to highlight its gross human rights record.
“The Canadian and provincial governments are in partnership with big oil and think that it’s okay to put our communities’ traditional territories that we rely on for our entire existence on the sacrificial block of the economic agenda of the G20,” he added, pointing to “catastrophic” cancer rates in nearby communities.
Thomas-Muller s has new reasons to fear for his people’s future.
That’s because Reuters yesterday reported the Harper government approved the $4.65 billion sale of the ConocoPhillips stake in the Syncrude Canada oil sands project to Sinopec, China’s second-largest oil producer and top refiner.
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Also yesterday, Syncrude was found guilty for the death of 1,600 ducks two years ago in a tailings pond, filled with toxic liquid waste from the project.
“There is no better representation of peak oil than Canada’s tar sands, which is the second largest oil deposit on the planet,” said Thomas-Muller. “It’s the dirtiest fossil fuel, the most carbon intensive, the most water intensive, the most energy intensive to produce this stuff.”
Thomas-Muller, who works in conjunction with native activists all over the continent, says Canada is doing more than exporting oil from the project.
“The technology that is being refined and perfected in the tar sands patch is also being exported the planet over, because this type of the bottom of the barrel oil exists in multiple countries — Trinidad-Tobago, (the Democratic Republic of) Congo, Jordan. It’s in Russia in massive deposits there.
“We’re here to demand a new economic paradigm that does not sacrifice our way of life nor our fundamental human rights to access clean air, clean drinking water and clean earth.”