COMMENTARY · 6th February 2013
This letter comes to you from Kitimat, BC, which is ground zero for Enbridge's Northern Gateway dual pipeline and supertanker port proposal. This is where the combined risks of the proposed pipelines, tank farm, and supertankers all meet. I hope this letter helps you see things from Kitimat's, and BC's, perspective.
Since 1959 BC has had a voluntary moratorium on offshore oil and gas exploration. Despite sitting on top of our own pot of petro-gold, no politician has been willing to destroy their career by suggesting we risk the coastal environment, or all the fisheries and tourism jobs it supports, by allowing even exploratory drilling to occur.
So this begs the question; if it isn't worth the risk for us, why should we risk it for you?
It pains almost every British Columbian to see logging trucks going down the highway these days because we know most of it is raw logs destined for Asian markets, not for local sawmills providing local jobs. We know the pain of a Provincial Government making bad decisions. We will not allow your Provincial Government to force diluted bitumen across the Coast Mountains, or through our complex coastline, in a desperate attempt to save themselves from their colossal mismanagement of your Tar Sands.
Why should BC carry the majority of the risk? Shouldn't you be pressuring your Provincial Government to better manage your resources? Why is Alberta so cash strapped that you have to squander what you have so quickly, without adding value? Where did the money go, and why did the companies in the Tar Sands get away with so paying so little?
Back in the late 80's and early 90's in Vancouver Island's Clayaquot Sound, the early clear cut logging protesters hoped that 600 people might show up to help them stop the logging. A total of 10,000 people made their way out there, and almost 1000 got arrested. This was before the Internet and in a single valley on the island's western edge. Can you imagine how many tens of thousands would show up on construction blockades across the width of BC if Enbridge attempts to build the Gateway project?
If your hopes rest on Prime Minister Harper approving the project, good luck with that. Harper became involved in politics because he didn't like the way Ottawa was telling Albertans what to do. Ironic, isn't it then, that if he tries to push large diluted bitumen pipelines through to British Columbia's coastline, he'll effectively be committing political suicide. He needs BC if he ever wants to be Prime Minister again, and he sure needs BC if he still covets a "majority" in the House of Commons.
Almost operatic in scale isn't it, how the very thing which lured him into politics could ultimately poison his political future. I've taken to calling it, Harper's Folly.
So there you have it. We aren't willing to risk the things we value most to bail your Province out of its colossal mismanagement of the Tar Sands. Hope you have a good plan B, and don't forget to hold your Provincial Politicians to task for the position you now find yourselves in.
Comment by Paul Repstock on 9th February 2013
I'm still not convinced that the Northern Gateway Pipeline was not a diversionary and distractive proposal. Or perhaps a fall back position if the Keystone XL pipeline was somehow blocked. Following is a link which explains Corporate America's interests in shipping unrefined Tar Sand to the Texas refineries.
Please don't believe a word the politicians are telling you!
So what happens when....
Comment by Michael . S. on 8th February 2013
I have read and understand your opinion on this matter. My only question is, when all the politicians bow to preasure and stop all the clear cutting, pipeline construction, port condtruction, etc, etc, and all the monies run dry to operate yours and other provinces what do we do and who do we blame then. I did not hear in your statement any personal accountability, just that it is always someone else who is at fault.
excellent frame work
Comment by blocky bear on 8th February 2013
I`m 100% in agreement Murray! Thank you! d.b.
Comment by Toots500 on 8th February 2013
Beautifully stated synopsis of our position. Thank you, Murray!
Comment by HB on 7th February 2013
why is this not posted on the Kitimat Daily as so often happens with articles that will affect our town regarding Endbridge??
Comment by CC on 7th February 2013
Thank you Murray Minchin. Well said!
From a Calgarian!
I agree 100% and am doing my part here in Calgary to get the word out, inform people, be involved. (former Kitimatian)