Even as more than 10,000 demonstrators marched in Toronto for “Jobs, Justice, and Climate,” another report about the effect of the oil market glut shows how Canada’s reliance on tar sands exploitation makes it vulnerable to the economic whims of the global market.

Courtesy: Greenpeace-Canada

The demonstrators were led by Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org, and activist journalist Naomi Klein, who last week was enlisted by Pope Francis to help spread the message that protecting the environment is a moral duty. They were also joined by First Nations leaders, long-time liberal activist Jane Fonda, and venerated Canadian scientist David Suzuki in their march to demand the government stop subsidizing fossil fuels and invest in clean-energy technology, and recognize climate change as a public health issue.

The marchers also touched on the economic short-sightedness of relying on the tar sands as the sole engine of the national economy. As we’ve discussed, the Harper government has monomaniacally committed itself to making Canada “a global economic superpower,” to the exclusion and neglect of other sectors of the Canadian economy.

That all-in commitment to the petro-dollar makes changes in oil prices a critical factor in Canada’s economic health. Nowhere is that picture clearer than in Alberta, home to the tar sands and Canada’s oil industry.

Both the residential and commercial real estate markets in Alberta are taking a beating, and small-business confidence in the economy has dropped right off the table. This analyst, Wolf Richter, says the damage is limited to Alberta– for now– but others predict a cascade effect that could engulf the whole country.

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