No one likes to hear those four words, “I told you so”, but Damien and I have been raising the issue of Enbridge for over 2 years. Our warnings have been confirmed by the National Transportation Safety Board in the US, in ringing terms, with Enbridge being compared to the Keystone Kops, which, in addition to comparing them to the fumbling police of that name may be a not-so-sly allusion to TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline from the Tar Sands to Texas.
The report is devastating and even moved The Vancouver Sun’s Vaughn Palmer – thus far noted for his silence on this matter – to conclude that the Enbridge deal is “doomed to be non-starter.”
I wish I could feel the sense of relief many do but I can’t.
Enbridge is not really the enemy – they are simply the designated drivers. The enemy is the consortium which wants to move bitumen from the Alberta Tar Sands to Kitimat. There are three accomplices involved: the governments of Canada, Alberta and BC.
I believe that Enbridge is in trouble on this one and, amongst other things, have risked and lost several millions on their truly laughable ad campaign. (We break here for a moment while we all retrieve our hankies to wipe away out tears).
The unhappy news is that this report on Enbridge, far from lessening the Tar Sands threat to BC, has enhanced it. There will be a new pipeline consortium put in place and the companies and their three accomplices will say, “See, we listened to your concerns and have commissioned Leakabit Pipelines from Saudi Arabia (or somewhere else), who have assured us that they are 99% certain, or at any rate pretty sure, that there will never be a spill in BC; and they cross their heart and swear that they will really and truly be good corporate citizens and we can confidently place the fauna and flora of our beautiful state – oops it’s a province isn’t it? – in their hands.”
The issue hasn’t changed by reason of the NTSB decision. Somebody is going to get the contract to take the Tar Sands Bitumen to Kitimat and we would be bloody fools to let this decision weaken our resolve to stop all shipment to Kitimat – or perhaps it might wind up in Prince Rupert – and the consequent tanker traffic out Douglas Channel through the Inner Passage. The NTSB report will also place added pressure behind the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion to Vancouver.
The only political leadership being shown is from Adrian Dix. The Cummins Conservatives support the Enbridge pipeline and the tankers it will fill, while Premier Clark has the guts of a jelly fish melting in the sun.
The Liberal government refused to join the Joint Review Panel as a government, even though First Nations did. We have, then, no place at the table. We are time-barred from even making an argument, which is probably good news in one sense since the present BC government and leader would waffle its way into supporting the Federal government.
Why is Premier Clark behaving this way?
A part of the reason is that the Liberal government is joined at the hip to the ultra-right wing Fraser Institute, who thinks it’s a grand idea to pipe bitumen through BC to the coast, thence down the coast by tanker.
There is a more pressing reason.
The HST expires a month before the May ’13 election and BC faces a crippling bill from the Feds. Whether or not the Feds have told Ms. Clark to be a good little girl and she’ll be rewarded or not, doesn’t matter – she doesn’t need to be told.
Ever since I can remember, BC governments have stood up for their province’s rights. The public expect that for the very good reason that if they don’t, the feds will run roughshod over us. The gutlessness of the premier shows up very clearly in the polls.
On the twin issues of pipelines from the Tar Sands and the tankers they will fill, the people of British Columbia, thanks to the Campbell/Clark government, are on their own. That’s happened before, as in the Charlottetown Accord Referendum in 1992, when the people in BC by nearly 70% defied both the provincial government and Ottawa.
My prediction is that one way or another, the people will rise up again against Victoria and Ottawa and make their unshakeable desire to protect their province well known.