Black Press photo New bill would prohibit oil tankers from carrying crude and ‘persistent oils’ as cargo from stopping, loading or unloading at ports or marine installations along B.C.’s north coast and Haida Gwaii.

In Our Opinion: Ban, don’t ban, the feds can’t win

Court battles over decisions made by the Canadian government on North Coast resource projects

Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

On the one hand, the feds are taken to court for approving the Lelu Island LNG project, even after Petronas cancelled its plans.

On the other hand, the feds heard the cries of many to prevent oil tankers from crowding North Coast waters. ‘No Enbridge’ signs remain plastered to some homes and buildings in coastal communities — a reminder of the protest that lingers in the hearts of many tree huggers and fish lovers.

In response, the Federal Court of Appeal said ‘no’ to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway in Kitimat, for failing to properly consult with First Nations and on the same day the government announced its intention to pass legislation to ban oil tankers from the North Coast region.

A win for many. But now, more than a year later, the pro-industry group — the Chiefs Council — is staging its protest to the tanker ban. They claim there was a lack of consultation with key stakeholders when writing Bill C-48, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act. And so the Chiefs Council is crowdfunding to bring the feds to court over the tanker-ban bill that denies them economic opportunity.

But who are the stakeholders, and who are the Chiefs Council?

In the group photo on the GoFundMe page, Mayor John Helin of Lax Kw’alaams stands among many supporters for this endeavour.

READ MORE: GoFundMe launched to fight oil-tanker moratorium

Helin’s brother, Calvin, is the president of Eagle Spirit Energy Holdings Ltd., the company that wants to build a $16 billion pipeline from Alberta to the North Coast of B.C. to export crude oil — a First Nations-led project that will essentially end, as well as any other prospects, if legislation is passed in Ottawa.

It doesn’t matter what pro-industry or pro-environmental decision Ottawa makes for the North Coast, tax dollars will be spent on court battles.

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