Tyee gets first writer in residence

TyeeThe Tyee has hired its first
resident writer, muckrucking journalist Andrew Nikiforuk, who will write
a regular column called Energy and
, starting with a story called ‘What those who killed the Tar Sands Report don’t want you to know.”

The Tyee writes:

“Andrew Nikiforuk is Canada’s leading muckraker about Canada’s most controversial muck: the tar sands of Alberta. He earned that notoriety with his award-winning book Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent.

“And, starting today, he is writer in residence at The Tyee. In the months to come, Andrew will be writing a regular column under the heading of Energy and Equity. The first example, our cover story today, tells you what a parliamentary standing committee didn’t allow you to learn when, last week, it abruptly stopped looking into tar sands contamination of water, killed the final report and shredded all drafts.”

The Tyee writes:

“Nikiforuk said his intent is to widen his scope to examine all angles of Canada’s morphing into a petro state, a political and cultural sleepwalk that he believes will profoundly change our character as a people. So far, it is proceeding with very little serious public debate.

“I want to start more conversations about energy in general, as well as fossil fuels and how they’ve changed our thinking and our culture. I want to look at the whole concept of energy slaves. Slavery ended just as the age of petroleum began. One barrel of oil does the same amount of work as one human slave working for eight years for a family. When people become dependent on slaves or for that matter energy slaves in the form of petroleum, all social relations change. During the nineteenth century slave societies were known for their moral carelessness, brutality and indolence. In a strange sort of way, cheap oil has given us the same sort of frailties and vulnerabilities once associated with slave owners. Nineteenth-century slave holders didn’t have much insight about the moral consequences of their dependency on slave labour. Nor do we.”