Like many, I was shocked and disappointed to read a letter from our federal minister of natural resources in which he wrote about “environmental and other radical groups that “threaten to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda.”
I have a great deal of respect for the democratic and consultative processes many have fought so hard to establish in Canada. Minister Joe Oliver’s letter, I believe, is at its very core, disrespectful of the rights of citizens to have a say in decisions that are being made on their behalf.
Elected representatives are servants of the public. As such, they have an obligation to commit to, and defend, fair, open and meaningful dialogue with their electors, and not use derogatory terms such as “radicals” and to describe the over 4,500 thoughtful, informed and engaged citizens that have signed up to speak at the Enbridge pipeline hearings.
This kind of fear-mongering is the lowest form of politics, and Canadians are tired of it.
I am among the many thousands opposed to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. I am opposed because, after taking the opportunity to inform myself about the risks and benefits, I simply came to the conclusion that the risks far outweigh the benefits.
The federal-provincial moratorium on tanker traffic on the B.C. coast, that has been in place for decades, exists because the risks of navigating these difficult waters are substantial, and our ability in B.C. to respond to an oil or chemical spill are inadequate.
The risk of a leak in the pipeline somewhere across the 1,177 kilometres of pristine wilderness, northern communities, waterways and First Nations is, based on the Enbridge’s past performance record, significant.
The benefit of job creation, according to Canada’s largest energy labour union, CEP, is dismal at best, estimating that up to 40,000 oil and gas industry jobs could be exported out of Canada with the pipeline. There is, arguably, more economic benefit to be gained by processing the crude within Canada.
I am not opposed to all resource development projects. I consider each one on its own merits.
There are many resource development projects underway in Canada that are doing a great job of managing the valuable resources we extract, leaving the smallest environmental footprint possible, and working hard to develop better technologies for our future.
Second chances with the state of our environment are becoming more and more rare. We can’t afford to get this wrong.