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Canadian Capitalism and the Fort McMurray Wildfire

By: 
Roger Jordan

Millions of people across Canada and around the world have been moved by the images of destruction and harrowing tales of escape that have emerged from Fort McMurray, Alberta, over the past week. On short notice and with next to no forewarning, some 90,000 residents were evacuated May 3, as a huge wildfire began to consume large parts of the city that is the hub for Canada’s massive oil tar-sands industry.

As with other environmental disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the extensive damage wrought by the wildfire is the direct product of the capitalist system’s rapacious pursuit of profit. The lives of tens of thousands of workers and their families have been turned upside down by a calamity that at the very least could have been mitigated, if not entirely prevented.