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Linda McQuaig

It’s The Crude, Dude: War, Big Oil, and the Fight for the Planet

Date Recorded: Oct 27th, 2004
Recorded At: St. Andrews-Wesley Church , Vancouver
Recorded By: Necessary Voices Society
Duration: 57:30


Topic Background

The US consumes 25 percent of the world’s oil every year, yet has access to only 3 percent of its reserves. Toronto Author and Journalist Linda McQuaig has recently focused on North America’s addiction to this oil, and the cataclysmic effects this addiction is having on our environment and our ability to co-exist in the world.

In this edition of Canadian Voices, McQuaig, author of the incendiary book It’s the Crude, Dude: War, Big Oil, and the Fight for the Planet, investigates US foreign policy from the assumption that the U.S. acts in order to secure its supply of petroleum products, particularly in light of the recent actions of the Untied States in Iraq.

From the author’s publishers’ website

” During the latter months of 2004, the world’s oceans have experienced monstrous abuses because of our addiction to oil. More than 165 million litres of this thick, gooey, toxic sludge spewed into the waters of the Grand Banks as result of a mechanical failure at a Petro-Canada drilling rig, endangering millions of migrating seabirds that where concentrated in the area at the time. A couple of weeks later, two container ships collided off the coast of South China, spilling 450,000 litres, while the following day, a Malaysian-flagged cargo ship grounded and broke apart in Alaska’s Aleutian Island chain dumping approximately 168,000 litres into the sea and along sections of the coastline . The numbers may not sound like much until it is fully grasped that just a few drops on a seabird are all that is needed to cause its death.

It is now a well established fact that the burning of oil, a fossil fuel laced with carbon, is contributing to global climate change. According to the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization, “[t]he year 2004 is set to finish as the four-warmest since record-keeping began in 1861, fitting a pattern that has placed nine of the past years among the warmest on record.” With the global warming comes increasing frequency of extreme weather events such as hurricanes and droughts which are wreaking havoc on ecosystems and species. It is also inflicting immeasurable damage on ourselves, physically, economically and politically.

The days of abundant, easy-to-obtain, cheap oil have almost run out – a fact that McQuaig establishes resoundingly. Given this, and the fact that the US demand for it is expected to grow by another 37% over the next two decades, there shouldn’t be any surprises that the Bush Administration has made its procurement a national security issue to the extreme point of using war to gain control of the world’s second largest reserve located beneath the soils of Iraq. What is stunning is that Canada has largely turned over control of its oil supply to the Americans by virtue of certain clauses in the Free Trade Agreement signed in the early 1990s.”

Speaker Biography

Linda McQuaig has a strong reputation as a feisty social critic and contrary thinker. She has been a business reporter at the Globe and Mail, and a columnist for the National Post and Toronto Star. She first came to national prominence in 1989 for uncovering the Patti Starr Affair, where a community leader was found to have used charitable funds for the purpose of lobbying the government. McQuaig was awarded the National Newspaper Award for her work on this story. She is currently best known for her series of books challenging Canada’s departure from the principles of universal social programs toward an American model of means-based programs.

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