Canada’s ‘Great Migration’ of Tar Sands Oil Isn’t Funny, but This Spoof Video Is

The satirical show from a watchdog group shows just how absurd the conversation on tar sands oil can get.
Jan 16, 2015·
Taylor Hill is an associate editor at TakePart covering environment and wildlife.

While the United States Congress debates the Keystone XL pipeline, Canada has a bigger, longer, and potentially more destructive pipe to worry about.

TransCanada’s planned 2,800-mile pipeline would carry 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from the tar sands fields in western Canada to the Atlantic, where tankers can transport it overseas.

Dubbed the Energy East pipeline, it’s a project with such dire potential environmental consequences that the Canadian watchdog group Environmental Defence decided to take a lighthearted approach to raising public awareness.

The result is a faux wildlife documentary narrated in the vein of David Attenborough, where the “Greatest of all Canadian Migrations” is revealed.

“We follow the path of the majestic and misunderstood Canadian tar sands oil,” the narrator quips. “A story of metamorphosis; a stunning transformation of solid bitumen into a liquid, which can be pumped through a pipeline, and ultimately into a greenhouse gas.”

Environmental Defence program director Keith Brooks said the video’s aim is to show the absurdity behind the premise of these pipeline projects.

“Here in Canada, people are talking about these tar sands and pipeline projects as though they are nation-building projects—iconic pieces of Canada’s fabric as a nation,” Brooks said. “We wanted to illustrate the absurdity of that.”

But while the video provides a good laugh at the expense of the TransCanada—the company behind the Keystone pipeline—the project is no joke.

The Calgary-based energy company has submitted plans to the National Energy Board. Environmental Defence is circulating a petition calling for a stop to TransCanada’s latest attempt to ramp up tar sands exports.

“We’re taking inspiration from the fight around Keystone XL,” Brooks said. “We know this is something we can put an end to.”