Alberta Canada 2 of 3 - Toxic - VICE

Uploaded by vice on Oct 26, 2011


EDDY MORETTI: Al Gore has spoken out against the
development of the oil sands.
As far as he's concerned, it's like a junkie tapping a vein
in their toe.
He thinks we're addicted to oil, and the tar sands are
merely perpetuating that addiction.
Ralph Klein doesn't, really, agree.
You have a reputation of being a straight
talking kind of guy.
You and Al Gore have been, you know, butting heads--
RALPH KLEIN: No, no, no.
We aren't butting heads.
First of all, I'm out of politics,
and he's out of politics.
And hopefully, he'll stay out of politics--
EDDY MORETTI: But he, you know, if you--
RALPH KLEIN: --and I will, too.
EDDY MORETTI: What did Gore actually say that got your
back up so much?
EDDY MORETTI: He equated the industry to a drug pusher that
was satisfying America's fix.
RALPH KLEIN: No, it's not that at all.
You know, well first of all, he's of a different political
bent than me.
EDDY MORETTI: In what way?
You're more right--
RALPH KLEIN: Well, I'm a
conservative, and he is a socialist.
EDDY MORETTI: You don't think his motive is to save the
planet, or--
RALPH KLEIN: No no, I don't think his motive is that.
His motive is-- he's a politician.
You know, the first question you should ask him-- are you
an environmentalist or a politician.
EDDY MORETTI: And you think he'd answer--
RALPH KLEIN: Well, he'll say, "I am both."
Well which one would--
are you most of?
Are you mostly a politician, or are you mostly an
EDDY MORETTI: You don't think you could be both, today, in
this world?
RALPH KLEIN: Look it, I have on my home, "an
environmentalist lives here." I was both.
I was Minister of the Environment.
First of all, ask him what kind of a car he drives.
Secondly, ask him if he recycles.
EDDY MORETTI: Two things should be said.
One is that Al Gore seems to be an expert on global warming
and climate change.
RALPH KLEIN: Well, no no.
He is a policy wonk.
He Is a policy wonk.
He knows no more about global warming--
as a matter of fact, if he wants to know about global
warming, then perhaps the best thing to do is to destroy the
population of the world.
And then we would all stop exhaling.
RALPH KLEIN: And CO2 is one of the major greenhouse gases.
EDDY MORETTI: So you don't you believe in
global warming as a--
RALPH KLEIN: Here's what the Province of Alberta believes.
Accept the science, but also accept that there is an
economy to sustain.
And accept the fact that we are a carbon-based economy.
EDDY MORETTI: Are you tired of being judged by these people?
Do you think they're moralists?
RALPH KLEIN: I think they're moralists.
I think that they have a political agenda,
which is not my agenda.
RALPH KLEIN: Be conscious of the environment.
Be conscious of clean water.
EDDY MORETTI: The water in Fort McMurray is interesting,
because the industry sucks so much water--
It's not good.
You know, and the tailings ponds have always been--
EDDY MORETTI: It looks bad, and it probably smells bad.
And you wouldn't want to drink that water.
RALPH KLEIN: No, you wouldn't want to drink that water.
Nobody would.
EDDY MORETTI: But you're not super
concerned about those ponds.
RALPH KLEIN: No, I'm not too concerned, because the
scientists and the PhDs and, you know, the petroleum
engineers and so on, are working on solutions.
EDDY MORETTI: You have a lot of faith in science.
RALPH KLEIN: --to clean up the environment.
Yeah, I do have a lot of faith in science.
And I have a lot of faith in the very educated people who
are involved in the industry, right now.

EDDY MORETTI: So what do they call this place?
It kind of looks like a mall meets a high school.
EDDY MORETTI: Are there stores inside?
We're going in for class.

Well it's just a hub of activity, here.
It's pretty clean.
It's not what I was expecting, but also, they were saying
this is one of the nicer ones.
And you know, I guess there isn't even enough of this
housing, right now, so you're lucky if you can get into one.
Let's see what they're reading--
Baghdad Without A Map, of course, From The
Snows To The Sands.
Are you from out west, too.
I'm, actually, East Coast, [INAUDIBLE].
EDDY MORETTI: Hi, Eddy, nice to meet you.
MIKE: Eddy, nice to meet you--Mike.
EDDY MORETTI: And how do you like being up here?
MIKE: Oh, it's good money.
It's great [INAUDIBLE].
EDDY MORETTI: And how's the pay?
MIKE: Pay is good, work's good.
MIKE: Can't complain.
You're living for free and eating for free, right.
EDDY MORETTI: Oh, living for free, really?
MIKE: Yeah, yeah.
EDDY MORETTI: No one pays, here?
MIKE: No one pays, no.
There's not a lot of work back east, eh.
So that's why most of us come out here, so.
EDDY MORETTI: And do a lot of people manage to save a lot of
money and bring it back home.
MIKE: Depends on the person, I guess.
EDDY MORETTI: There isn't anything up here, though.
What are they spending it on?
I mean, we've been traveling around in this, you know--
bar-- a night at the bar--
MIKE: A night on the town, it'll cost you $500.
What's $500?
A human being can't drink $500 of booze.
EDDY MORETTI: What are we talking about?
MIKE: $500--I guess you get the casino,
your cabs, your liquor.
there's the adult bars, right, the strip clubs.
You throw your money away in there, pretty good.
EDDY MORETTI: Well, that sounds like fun.
I mean it just seems like, you know, odd for grown men to
live like they're in a dorm, a college dorm.
But if they're making a lot of money--
Do they have hot tubs, here?
EDDY MORETTI: That could be good, though.
MALE SPEAKER 2: No, not with 1,200 men, no.
EDDY MORETTI: Oh yeah, shit, sorry.
You know what, I was thinking about that.
What's it like?
I work in the gym.
I'm on the computer, talk to my family at home, and just
try and go to a movie downtown.
But I try to stay away from the bars and the casino and
that, because that's just--
EDDY MORETTI: Yeah, what's the nightlife like, and what's the
attitude and the--
MALE SPEAKER 2: It's rough here.
It's downtown.
You have to be careful of yourself, where you go and
what you do and what you spend.
MALE SPEAKER 2: A buddy of mine tried to-- almost got
robbed there a couple of weeks ago, got jumped.
People make big money here.
And if you don't have anywhere to put it, you'll put a
casino-- and you'll spend it on drink--
on drugs, too.
Drugs is very bad--
MALE SPEAKER 2: --out there.
Oh yeah, you'll see a lot downtown, I have a daughter
that's 3 1/2 years old--
4 and 1/2 years old, and I was just talking to her, anyway.
It's hard.
It's hard on the family, but--
My wife's a teacher, a French teacher, and she understands.
I'm up there for both of us.
And I'm not out wasting money.
I'm putting it away and trying to pay off the bills.
When you're making three times what you're making at home--
MALE SPEAKER 2: It's family life.
EDDY MORETTI: How long you been here?
MALE SPEAKER 2: Last year I was here about nine
months in the camp.

We're going to get a chance to see what one of these places
looks like.
Could we take a look?
Go ahead.
It's how we live.
It's pretty hard to beat it, when you're living--
Your food is good.
I've been back and forth for 10, 11 years, now.
EDDY MORETTI: How does this compare to back then?
MALE SPEAKER 3: Better, the food gets better, you know,
and more people.
But you know, my days are getting numbered, now, so--
EDDY MORETTI: Why is that?
MALE SPEAKER 3: Gotta retire, boy.
EDDY MORETTI: Oh, good, that's great.
And what are you going to do?
What's your retirement plan?
MALE SPEAKER 3: Going to grow marijuana down in Englishtown.
EDDY MORETTI: That's my brother.
MALE SPEAKER 3: No, but I'm gonna reti--
just relax.
EDDY MORETTI: We started researching this story about
the economic boom in Alberta, because of the oil industry.
And primarily we were, you know, interested in the
environmental side of the whole issue, but then when we
started looking and researching, it started
opening little, like, layers of the onion started

He's got some shit for us, already.

This is interesting, here.
What does this mean?
Is this some kind of, like, martial arts--
MALE SPEAKER 4: That's just, you know--
EDDY MORETTI: --thing, and--
MALE SPEAKER 4: Yeah, I don't know why.
Where that came from, I can't tell you, for sure--
likely out of a search warrant, or
a search of a vehicle.
EDDY MORETTI: Have you ever, sort of, seen the victim of
some of these, like--
this looks pretty brutal.
MALE SPEAKER 4: Oh, yeah.
EDDY MORETTI: So It's kind of bloody, out there.
We have quite a few criminal networks, otherwise known as
street gangs--
a bunch of kids who've gotten together.
EDDY MORETTI: Any Italian gangs?
MALE SPEAKER 4: Ah, not that I know of.
EDDY MORETTI: No goombas, or anything like that--
MALE SPEAKER 4: --Italian gang--
EDDY MORETTI: No il Fratelli, il giavanotti,
none of those guys?
How much money is on the table, here?
MALE SPEAKER 4: If you look right here, there is
approximately, say-- there's approximately $2,500 to $3,000
in cocaine, here.
EDDY MORETTI: I heard that the drug trade that's tied into
the, you know, boom, is worth about a million a month.
MALE SPEAKER 4: A million dollars a month, street level,
that would be low.
How much is going in one nostril and into their brain?
methamphetamines, or crystal meth.
This you don't want to swallow.
EDDY MORETTI: That you don't want anywhere near any part of
your body whatsoever.
MALE SPEAKER 4: That's correct.
EDDY MORETTI: Interesting.
Is that good?
I think we're good.

So this is it, you know.
This is what it's come to.
We're scraping the bottom of the planetary barrel for the
worst kind of oil, which means this is what we've come to--
subzero trailer parks in the middle of fucking Canadian
arctic in order to supply our thirst for fuel.
That's it.
Mark your fucking territory.
I have--
there's not enough housing up here, so people end up buying
or renting trailers.
They're even renting plots of land, over here.
They have about 300 spots in this trailer park.
The average rent is, like, $1,200 a month to live in the
middle of nowhere.

I would go fucking ape-shit out here.
I wish someone would come out and, like, welcome us.
MALE SPEAKER 5: Well, I started in June.
I was living in an apartment back home.
I couldn't get nowhere.
I had no way to jump-start my life.
I have a family and kids I couldn't support, so--
EDDY MORETTI: You do what you have to do.
MALE SPEAKER 5: Hey, I hate--
look at the stacks, what they're throwing into the air.
EDDY MORETTI: It's terrible.
MALE SPEAKER 5: --you wake up here in the daytime, and it
smells like crude in the air in the summertime.
But if they say to you, "hey, I know you hate what all these
plants are doing up here, but hey, I could give you enough
money to support your family.
I can give you enough money to live happily in your own
Every man has his price, and basically, I see it as, they
pay us just enough to keep our mouth shut, to come here, to
do our work and go home.
Would I rather raise my family here or back home?
See, if I raise them here, I'm probably going to
be living in this.
MALE SPEAKER 5: Back home, I had a nice--
EDDY MORETTI: Nice apartment, nice place.
MALE SPEAKER 5: Everybody came over all the time, now I don't
see no one.
I don't go out.
EDDY MORETTI: Are you depressed?
Sometimes it does get to you.
MALE SPEAKER 5: It really gets to you, but--
EDDY MORETTI: Do you have a girlfriend here?
MALE SPEAKER 5: Nope, one was supposed to come out with me,
and uh, she took off.
EDDY MORETTI: This doesn't seem like a healthy place.
MALE SPEAKER 5: This isn't a town I want to live in.
There's no future.
MALE SPEAKER 5: There's future in this town.
There's a helluva lot of money to be made.
EDDY MORETTI: There's not a future for a
guy like you, though?
MALE SPEAKER 5: Well, do you want money, or do you want
live a happy life in, like, a nice little land, somewhere,
with your wife and your couple of kids.
EDDY MORETTI: What are you going to take
away from this place?
MALE SPEAKER 5: Uh, take away from this place--
I'm up here to make my own money.
I'm not up here to screw anyone.
I'm not bringing much to this community, although I like to
provide them a service.
But this community doesn't really do much for you.
I'm not here to be nice to anyone.
I'm not going to screw anyone, but at the end of the day,
it's for me.
But I'm not coming up here just to rape the land and
everything else like that.
I'm up here to make a go at my life and to live on my own.

PAULA OYONOSKI: Well the publication is almost like
putting a human face on the oil sands, who is extracting
the energy, where do they come from, why are they doing it
You know, people come here and get a really quick glimpse.
You know, and we've had a lot of outside media, they get
their thoughts and views from bars, and it's such a small
snippet of this community.
And I think that's frustrating for a lot of people.
PAULA OYONOSKI: You know that's one of the things
outside media has, sort of, pointed at us for--
make money.
But it's one of those things that-- it's almost too bad,
because people come here not planning ahead, expecting that
they can come here and get a place to live and get a
$100,000 job, "like that."
And the fact of the matter is you have to look ahead and
find accommodations, because it's hard to find
accommodations, here.
And I think that's where a lot of people run into problems.
BRYAN LUTES: Well, we are a not-for-profit corporation--
BRYAN LUTES: --that's set up to do housing--
BRYAN LUTES: --throughout the community.
A one bedroom apartment here is $1,500 to $1,800 a month if
you can find one.
Average 3-bedroom bungalow is $480,000.
EDDY MORETTI: That's ridiculous.
That's-- you can get a nice apartment in Manhattan.
BRYAN LUTES: You can't find a trailer,
here, for under $300,000.
EDDY MORETTI: So it's kind of out of control.
BRYAN LUTES: Well, median income here is $93,000 a year.
Anybody under $70,000 a year needs some sort of assistance
with housing.
EDDY MORETTI: So if I took my salary from New
York, I would be under--
BRYAN LUTES: You would--
EDDY MORETTI: I would need assistance--
BRYAN LUTES: You would need some assistance, here.
MIKE #2: Hi.
EDDY MORETTI: Hey, I'm Eddy.
MIKE #2: What's up, man.
EDDY MORETTI: What's your name.
MIKE #2: Mike.
EDDY MORETTI: Mike, what's up?
ANTHONY: Hey, I'm Anthony.
EDDY MORETTI: How you doing, buddy?
ANTHONY: Good, how are you?
EDDY MORETTI: What's up?
ANTHONY: My best friend in the whole world said, "oh, come on
up for the oil, already, right."
EDDY MORETTI: And what--
ANTHONY: "--in the oil field, you could make this and that
up on site, and blah blah blah." So it was the
big hype, and then--
here I am, now.
Here I am, here, I struggled.
I went to the Salvation Army, and that
was quite the struggle.
At 7:30, they kick you out every morning, regardless.
ANTHONY: Minus 40, minus 50, regardless, every day.
ANTHONY: Seven days a week.
They just want you out.
So you had-- and then this place opened up, and it's a
real blessing, this place-- the Marshall House.
ANTHONY: It all gathers into one thing, this town--
ANTHONY: It's money.
It's money.
It's money.
It's a very greedy town, to be honest with you.
ANTHONY: Walking down the road all the time, I used to be,
like, why can't I have that.
ANTHONY: Why can't I have that vehicle?
EDDY MORETTI: Slowly, you can.
ANTHONY: Why can't I have a house?
You know what I mean, though, like it's kind of degrading.
It's, like, shit.
You know, you're sitting there kicking cans, walking down the
road, homeless.
And here's Joe Blow driving by in an
$80,000 or $70,000 truck.
I really want to just get up on site.
ANTHONY: You know, that's my ultimate goal.
It's just to start making a bit of money and have a life
I've never had, you know.
BRYAN LUTES: We're projecting 8%, 9% growth a year for the
next three to five years.
BRYAN LUTES: Without going past that date, which is
EDDY MORETTI: Which is too much--
BRYAN LUTES: I mean, most large cities, if they're
growing 2% or 3%--
EDDY MORETTI: 2% or 3%.
BRYAN LUTES: --think It's barely sustainable.
We're at 9%.
EDDY MORETTI: Given, like, the real estate market, here, if
you wanted to, you could charge a lot of money for
these units, and you could be a very rich man.
BRYAN LUTES: I've been in the development and property
management business for many years, and the opportunity
came up to do what I love doing for a really good cause.
And one case in particular was a lady that was in a tent on
the river, came in, got her stuff together,
got her life together--
EDDY MORETTI: Tent on the river in the winter?
BRYAN LUTES: In the winter, oh yeah.
It's not uncommon.
We can take you down--
EDDY MORETTI: Can you take us down?
BRYAN LUTES: We can go down to the river and
see this right now.