Tar Sands Watch is an old campaign of the Polaris Institute that was mostly active between 2007 and 2010. Polaris was at the forefront of campaigning to bring broad awareness to the rapidly expanding tar sands industry in Canada. Today, while Polaris is still at the forefront of work on the tar sands, Polaris focuses its work on collaborative (ex: CYCC, Climate Space) and research-oriented activities, including publishing corporate profiles of major pipeline companies (ex: Enbridge), looking at the influence of oil lobbyists and looking at the economic implications of the tar sands.
Below you will find archived materials from our past Tar Sands Watch campaign activities:
Tar Sands Factsheets by issue:
- Climate Change
- Economic Dislocation
- Energy Security
- Further Resources
- Indigenous Rights
- Military Links
- Social Damage
- The Basics
- Water Contamination
- Water Depletion
Action related guides:
- Polaris Declaration for a Moratorium on Tar Sands Expansion
- Guide to Municipal Action
- Infrastructure and Market Campaign
- Canadian Mayors Letter to Obama (January 2009)
Windsor Community Roundtable -- A Case Study
On September 25, 2009 a multi-stakeholder roundtable discussion in Windsor “Your Voice Now!” convened to explore the connections between tar sands oil and the impacts on Windsor’s health, environment and economy. With the proximity of Detroit and Sarnia to Windsor, the impacts of the expansion of oil refineries--particularly, the Detroit Marathon Refinery-- will lead to greater air pollution, toxins in the soil, and increased rainwater and watershed contamination. According to Dr. Jim Brophy, “Refining tar sands oil in the southwest section of Detroit will pose a further burden of pollution and ill health…[in] communities that are already suffering from environmentally related disease." A revitalized urban economy and a healthier future for residents of Windsor are possible but only if jobs are developed locally that do not rely on dirty crude from the Alberta tar sands.
The day long roundtable meeting is a prime example of a progressive local initiative that analyzed a national problem--the tar sands--and sought local solutions. The group of twenty-six community activists agreed to the following points:
1) Form a local coalition to deal with ongoing issues, particularly global climate change, pollution and the environment.
2) Increase local education and awareness around environmental health issues.
3) Promote and support green jobs in all sectors, including transportation.
Windsor community members prove that by uniting our voices communities across Canada can and must work to stop more ecological and social devastation!
Roundtable related documents:
- Roundtable invitation
- Windsor Community Environmental Consultation 2008-2009
- Windsor Tar Sands Info Packet (with community profiles)
- Windsor On Watch 350 info handout
- Dec 7 climate change action WOW press release
- Building a Blue-Green Alliance in our Communities
(Le français suit)
Snowpeople are now distancing themselves from controversial tar sands funding of the Museum of Civilisation from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). This morning a Snowperson protested the funding arrangement with a sign saying ‘CAPP pollutes snow’.
Bitumen Development Poses Critical Challenges for Canada
February 21, 2013
OTTAWA—A failure to carefully regulate the Canadian bitumen industry is putting Canada on a dangerous economic and environmental trajectory, says a new report released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and the Polaris Institute.Read more
New Year, New Beginnings
It is with great pleasure that we announce the launching of the new Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign (ITSC). Since its inception, the ITSC has been a project of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) based in the United States, and we have enjoyed working with IEN while the program has grown and developed. However, given the realities of organizing in Canada we have decided that this campaign needs to be based in Canada with a Canadian fiscal sponsor to help administer the program and help ensure its financial viability and management needs.
The making of Canada as a Petro-State and how oil money is corrupting Canadian politics
December 4, 2012 Ottawa – A new report entitled “Big Oil’s Oily Grasp - The making of Canada as a Petro-State and how oil money is corrupting Canadian politics” released today by the Ottawa-based Polaris Institute found that six main oil industry players, including Enbridge and TransCanada, met with federal cabinet ministers 53 times between September 2011 and September 2012, the period when the business-friendly Bill C-38 – which guts environmental legislation - was being designed. During this same time period, only one meeting between a federal cabinet minister and an environmental organization took place (Greenpeace met with Joe Oliver in March, 2012).Read more