When we met at the meeting at the North Vancouver church last night, on pipelines and tankers, you mentioned that we have known one another for some years ,as we indeed have. Far from having any dislike of you, my feelings are quite the opposite. I often remember the tour you took me on of Boston when I came to address the Harvard Canadian Club, of which you were a member.
I’m going to get right down to cases. You have disappointed me in that I thought that you might just buck the system and stand up for your province but you have manifestly failed.
You said last night that you voted for Bill C-38 because it would enhance “process” around fish habitat. That was a lie, John, and I’m surprised that a good Christian would make such an egregiously false statement. You voted for C-38 because you had to – just as one of your colleagues did after expressing some public concerns. The truth of the matter is this was the Budget and you had no choice. What you could have done and should have done, seeing you are a “process” person, about which more in a moment, is support those MPs irate that the budget process should be abused to contain substantive policy changes (fish habitat, for example) in it.
Let’s get down to what you said last night. I had accused you of knowing nothing about the environmental catastrophe of pipelines and tankers and while I applaud your honesty am stunned to hear a BC MP admit he knew bugger-all about the subject matter of the controversy but relied upon “the process” to see that environmental concerns are addressed.
Your big word was “process” – a nice, lawyerly approach except you miss the entire point, and please pay attention: These hearings, be they over pipelines, tanker traffic, or so-called “run-of-river” projects do not address whether or not the project should be done in the first place.
These are, to all intents and purposes, done deals. While the Joint Review Panel for the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project is an independent body, mandated by the Minister of the Environment and the National Energy Board, and is to assess the environmental effects of the proposed project and review the application under both the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the National Energy Board Act, you know and I know that your government is going ahead with the Gateway project, irrespective of the Panel’s findings.
This isn’t so you say? The government has an open mind on the matter?
Don’t you know what your Natural Resources minister has said ad nauseum?
Watch and read his comments such as, “Environmental and other ‘radical groups’ are trying to block trade and undermine Canada’s economy, according to Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, who has also stated, “Unfortunately, there are environmental and other radical groups that would seek to block this opportunity to diversify our trade.”
Prime Minister Harper said in a Q & A, “I think we’ll see significant American interests trying to line up against the Northern Gateway project, precisely because it’s not in the interests of the United States. It’s in the interests of Canada…they’ll funnel money through environmental groups and others in order to try to slow it down but, as I say, we’ll make sure that the best interests of Canada are protected.”
John, read what your leaders have said…take the time I did on the Internet and you will find that to your Prime Minister and the Natural Resources Minister, the Gateway is a done deal and the hearings simply provide a way for environmental groups to delay.
In fact, Oliver deals extensively with timelines and the need to get this project running “expeditiously”.
I have been to enough of government sponsored “hearings” to know that they are a sham. As I’ve said, “Id rather have a root canal without anaesthetic than attend another.”
Surely, John, prisoner of the system though you might be, you must admit that your government is bent on approving Gateway and in fact your leaders admit it. That being so, John, how can you baldly state that there is “process” of any meaning here?
There are some issues that go straight to the heart our social community and how we want to live.
One such issue, 20 years ago, was the Charlottetown Accord which would have dramatically altered the Canadian system of governance. To the people of British Columbia, the pipelines and tanker traffic similarly go to the very root of what we believe in and how we want to live. We’re dealing with the very soul of BC and you would have us believe that we are getting a process within which we can make our feelings known in a meaningful way?
You know that Gateway is a done deal as far as your government is concerned and that the hearings are not designed to discover what the people want to see happen to our province. The plain truth is that no matter what the Panel recommends, your government will approve the projects.
On the questions about the Fisheries Act, to say this will enhance “process” is rather like, “In order to save the village it was necessary to destroy it.”
For habitat to be protected, development must be prohibited, for the moment you open it to “process”, you condemn it to destruction. I tried to make you and others understand that some things by their nature cannot be mediated, nor can impacts be “mitigated”, an awful weasel word. The example the minister gave of a carp pond was puerile and dangerous. It’s not carp ponds you’ve exposed to the front-end loader but the BC salmon about which you know nothing. How can you take away protection from development without knowing what the hell you’re doing?
The DFO was politicized back in the 1980s by Tom Siddon in the federal government’s giveaway to Alcan and its Kemano Completion Project. This is a very sad chapter and you should know that the Mulroney government suppressed a devastating report by DFO scientists which condemned the KCP in no uncertain terms. The scientists (dubbed the “dissident” scientists by Alcan, a sobriquet they bore with honour) were given early retirement, transferred or refused promotion they were rightly expecting). That 1984 Report was released in 1992 by me after I received it in a brown envelope. If you want the inside story on that I will introduce you to Dr. Gordon Hartman, one of those dissident scientists.
The person to talk to about the gutting of the enforcement arm of DFO is Otto Langer, an ex-DFO man to whom I would be happy to introduce you.
John, you are an embodiment of almost child-like naiveté who has been captivated by the elected dictator system we find ourselves in. You have allowed yourself to self-hypnotize into believing untruths because you must – then perpetuating dangerous falsehoods. It’s rather like the Stockholm Syndrome, where you’ve fallen in love with your captors.
I think it was Senator Daniel Moynihan who said, “You’re entitled to make up your own mind but not your own facts.”