Friday, July 30

Canadian Pop Quiz on Darfur

Canadians have some unfavorable opinions about the US
a new poll shows a significant number of young Canadians would use "evil" to describe their U.S. neighbours.

In a telephone poll of 500 teens aged 14 to 18, more than 40 per cent of respondents saw the U.S. as an evil global force. Among French-Canadians, that number jumped to 64 per cent.
Maybe it is time for some of that judgment and fury to be directed inwards. A 1999 piece from the Toronto Globe and Mail says this about the genocidal war in southern Sudan targeting Black Christians and animists
(t)he Nuba mountains of southern Sudan, a region long closed to outsiders, is Sudan's new killing fields, where bombs and helicopter gunships have razed villages and deep, blackened craters pock the landscape. The area is a crucial oil field, and working amid the destruction are Canada's Talisman Energy Inc., of Calgary, as well as state oil companies from China and Malaysia
A more complete and current list of the oil companies involved in Sudan is here. Included are the national and corporate financiers of the ongoing southern Sudan and Darfur reigns of terror

Talisman Energy of Canada,
Petronas, the state-owned oil company of Malaysia,
China National Petroleum Carnation (the state-owned oil giant of the People's Republic of China),
TotalFinaElf of France/Belgium,
BP (who provided the critical investment in the PetroChina IPO),
OMV of Austria,
Agip of Italy,
Royal Dutch Shell which owns a refinery in Port Sudan

Canadian companies were among the pioneers in the Sudanese oil business. The deals were signed while Sudan was a recognized state sponsor of terrror and a perpetrator of genocide.

While the US dragged the UN along to bring attention to Darfur Canada was quiet. The US and the UK have made threats of military action against the Sudanese government and its agents.

Surely given the tangle of international finance American and British business is tied up in the above corporate rogue's gallery (BP is British). At least they are willing to take a stand even if it means losing business and the possible risk of sending their military on a humanitarian mission.

What will Canada do?
A)Blame the evil Americans
B)Pump oil while feeling morally superior to those evil cowboy Americans
C)Quietly vote along with the EU and the US on the issue of sanctions but do nothing else
D)Pump even more oil sure ... but with nuance and sophistication
E)all of the above
If you chose E. you will probably be right

Canada is a lovely country as are her people. Those Darfur refugees lucky enough to make it to Canada will probably find a welcoming and inclusive haven. Expecting Canada to take a risk to help prevent them from being refugees to begin with is more of a problem. Don't look for the other countries sharing the oil business in Sudan to do much either way.

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