(Written by me for http://theredstar.spruz.com/)
You might have seen that little bit The Daily Show did on America’s dependence on Canadian oil last night. For those of you who did, you were treated to the usual smart ass antics of the cast mocking the Conservative position on foreign oil. No doubt intended thesis was that America didn’t really have a cabal of “terrorist states” filled with anti-Americanism as their supplier of oil. While entertaining, it was also laugh out loud as they superimposed the usual xenophobic attitudes onto the stereotypical perception of Canadian culture. I (on a comedic level) did enjoy the segment for half of its intended purpose, comedy.
The other half of the segment was handed subtlety in the usual liberal pro-bourgeoisie way. The subtext to the entire “comedy bit” was in fact the liberal defence of America’s dependence on foreign oil. The segment began with images of violent anti-American imagery from the Middle East with words of warning about regimes that are out to get you. (This alone is a half truth, but a half truth presented as a whole.) Then the images of lily white peaceful Canada was juxtaposed right next to the “violent Islamic extremist”.
No doubt that this was intended to mock the right wing reaction to foreign oil, but there was something else it did. It had a slight “white-washing” effect, an apologist kind of effect. It holds Canada up as this polite, peaceful, non-aggressive nation as another source of foreign oil. The idea is that “see not all our foreign oil comes form bad people”. (See our actions in Libya and try again Stewart.) The statement makes the case that a dependence on foreign oil is not so bad because there are some good people we get it from too. (No doubt that one could also push the free market angle by claiming American purchase of oil creates jobs in Canada as well). By doing so they make it seem okay to have this continued dependence on this foreign oil. Thus perpetuating the use of it, and the interests behind it.
The purchase of foreign oil is of course a game of power plays against all kinds of powers in the world. Each nation needs it, America needing the most, so it is in their interest to control as much of it as possible. This is in actuality an attack on the domestic oil exploration agenda. The economic need for purchasing oil form other countries is entirely bound up with the need for the cheapest labour possible. Even Canada is cheaper labour than any produced domestically. (Although one can argue that since the fall of the US dollar the Canadian dollar has more value and is costing more. A situation the US elite are working on remedy as soon as possible.)
An aspect to the petroleum relationship (I assume) deliberately left out of the program was the US dominance of it. Canadians do indeed physically remove the oil from the Earth, but it is immediately shipped to US refineries to be processed into petroleum. Meaning, that while we here (in Canada) actually have the physical supply of the oil, we are entirely dependent on the US for its refinement. Meaning we are at the mercy of US oil refiners and by extension its oil industry. There is no doubt in my mind that this is by design. Decades of all the parties in Canada have supported this and have not challenged it. This will become worse under the Steven Harper Conservative dictatorship. Something many Canadians are not looking forward too. We Canadians don’t have energy independence, and that’s something we need to accept. A Chavez-stlye take over and redistribution of oil control is absolutely needed.
The Daily Show segment leaves this part out, the side of foreign oil usually left out of the public debate on it.
I could go on by talking about how the negative effects of oil were also overlooked in their bit, but I think you get the point now.