“White Water, Black Gold” featured for Canada Water Week by David Lavallee, Producer/Director

It’s been 2 years since I completed “White Water, Black Gold” and I continue to be inspired by the ongoing movement to hold the Tarsands industry accountable for its actions. From “Idle no More”, to the Tarsands Healing Walk, direct actions and pipeline protests in Vancouver with thousands attending, people are finding ways to have their voices heard. The more subtle ways to influence policy are also having an impact: registering for oral NEB hearings, background policy work and community organizing- all are having their impact in countless ways.

Thus far my film has been broadcast on 3 separate networks across Canada and will soon air in France and the US as well. It has had hundreds of community screenings and five theatrical runs across Canada.

With this groundswell we have begun to see increasing political reactions to maintaining the industry’s stranglehold on our nation. We have seen a campaign targeting environmentalists and labeling them as extremists, we have seen directives ordering Revenue Canada to audit and potentially strip environmental organizations of their charitable status, we have seen the burning of book libraries and the censuring of scientists, the closing of treasured programs such as the Experimental Lakes Area. We have seen withdrawals from international agreements (the only G8 country to do so) and strategic moves to limit public participation in processes that affect us all. Some times it is difficult to believe that this is still Canada.

However, consider this. It has been said that the truth passes through 4 stages, and I believe I have seen all those come to pass since I started making this film in 2006. At first, the truth spoken to power is ignored, for as long as it is possible to do so. Then, it is ridiculed. Then it is violently opposed. Then, it is accepted as a self-evident truth- how could we ever have believed otherwise? That self evident truth is certainly clear in the amount of opponents versus supporters of the Enbridge Pipeline in the National Energy Board hearings: 1198 against, 2 for. Seems clear to me. In this part of the country anyways, the last stage has arrived.

At the moment I am working on a feature documentary that connects the dots between many extreme energy projects operating in North America and the economic ramifications of our declining energy supplies. One thing I have discovered in my research is that 86% of the Tarsands resource (the in-situ part, which is often held up as a ‘green’ alternative because it doesn’t use open pit mining) is actually a net energy consumer- meaning it consumes more energy than it gives back to society (mostly in the form of natural gas). Which begs the question- why are we doing this again? How is it possible that this sort of thing is profitable in our economy, and do we need to tear down this notion of economy and start over, with a paradigm that actually makes sense.

Albert Einstein once said you can’t solve a problem using the same kind of thinking that created the problem in the first place. Let us now set our minds to this new paradigm

Thanks for reading.

David Lavallee

White Water, Black Gold

“White Water, Black Gold”, will be available to groups or individuals who wish to host a screening in their community. For more information visit www.canadawaterweek.com.

One Response to ““White Water, Black Gold” featured for Canada Water Week by David Lavallee, Producer/Director”

  1. Heather Leschied March 6, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

    Canadian Geographic has published an interview with David in their online edition.

    Check it out here:

    “Award-winning filmmaker recalls his quest following a droplet of water”
    Posted by Angele Cano in Energy on Wednesday, February 26, 2014


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