A White Pine Pictures/Clearwater Media

What price is Canada willing to pay for a stake in this century’s greatest energy bonanza?

Directed by Tom Radford | Produced by Peter Raymont

World Premiere broadcast on Doc Zone CBC TV on Thursday, March 21, 2008 – 9:00pm

Tar Sands: The Selling of Alberta captures the intersecting storylines of a remarkable cast of characters eager to cash in on the oil boom in Fort McMurray, Alberta.  Washington lobbyists, Newfie pipefitters, Chinese investors and Norwegian industrialists descend on tar-soaked “Fort McMoney”, a modern-day Eldorado, where rents are sky rocketing and cocaine abuse is four times the provincial average. Up for grabs – a stake in a $100 billion energy bonanza and Canada’s economic sovereignty.

This hour-length documentary, commissioned by the CBC, tracks the growth of the world’s largest reserve of ‘unconventional’ oil.  This Florida-sized “environmental sacrifice zone” has become Canada’s contribution to US energy security in the post-9/11 world.  Yet, for many, the tar sands are a global warming disaster.

As Fort McMurray bursts at the seams, children from Thunder Bay to Cape Breton are made tar-sands orphans by their migrant-worker parents.  Canada’s petrodollar breaks the back of the manufacturing economy in the East.  Cancer rates skyrocket downstream of Fort McMurray while Rocky Mountain glaciers melt and disappear.  And all the while, Alberta crude goes south to US markets while Eastern Canada pays ever more for insecure Middle East oil.

In an isolated region of the north, Canada’s future is being carved out of the forest at a breakneck pace.  Tar Sands: The Selling of Alberta questions how much Canada is willing to sacrifice for a stake in this century’s greatest energy bonanza.

After co-directing the award-winning Arctic Dreamer in 2004, two of Canada’s most respected documentary filmmakers reunite as Director and Producer of  Tar Sands: The Selling of Alberta.  Director of Tar Sands’ Tom Radford, whose career from Alberta spans thirty five years has carried on the tradition of portraying the distinctive character of the west and north to Canada and the world.  Producer Peter Raymont is celebrating the 30th year of White Pine Pictures this year, having traveled to Ethiopia, Nicaragua, India, Rawanda, Chile and the High Arctic to direct and produce over 100 documentary films.