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Green with envy
For all the bluster of NDP leader Thomas Mulcair and all the coolness of Liberal Justin Trudeau, it seems Green Party leader Elizabeth May is becoming the real opposition to the federal Conservatives.
Our system requires that Mulcair and Trudeau focus their efforts on becoming prime minister. Mulcair’s Roll up the Red Carpet tour capitalizes on Senate shortcomings while Trudeau’s admission he smoked marijuana while a sitting MP has certainly gained him notoriety and attention.
May, however, has focused her efforts on what is really going on in Ottawa, which is what MPs sitting across from the government side should be doing.
Provincially, Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver may be doing the same thing as the NDP get mired in yet another debate about who they are and whether they should dump Adrian Dix.
On Wednesday, May accused the Conservative government of “doing Enbridge’s homework” with $120 million program to study ocean weather and behaviour of heavy oil spills in the ocean around Kitimat.
At a news conference in Victoria, May added her voice to that of Weaver, who raised questions in the B.C. legislature in July about an ocean monitoring project in support of oil tanker exports as proposed by Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project.
May and Weaver released leaked documents they say show Ottawa spending $78 million this year and $42 million next year for marine weather monitoring and determining how diluted bitumen from the Alberta oil sands would behave in a spill.
May accused federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty of hiding the program in the federal budget.
On one hand, it’s easy to argue that the federal government should be doing this work, particularly since the Northern Gateway Pipeline project is rife with controversy. Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver pretty much said as much in response to the allegations.
“Work on tanker safety is critical to ensure we have we have world-class marine safety on Canada’s coastlines,” Oliver told Black Press reporter Tom Fletcher.
On the other hand, this sounds a lot like some of what the Joint Review Panel has asked Enbridge to do.
May and Weaver also called on Premier Christy Clark to reiterate the province’s opposition to the project, unless specific conditions are met. Clark, now with a strong mandate from the people of B.C. and fresh off a byelection campaign in Kelowna that featured a visit from Alberta Premier Alison Redford, is considerably less vocal about the project.
Thankfully we have an MLA and an MP who, while not the Official Opposition, are actually holding their respective governments to account.