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A cleanup crew works on Third Beach following the recent English Bay oil spill

A cleanup crew works on Third Beach following the recent English Bay oil spill

I say three cheers for Premier Christy Clark and Mayor Gregor Robertson of Vancouver.

The verbal assault by the Premier on the federal government was more than justified by recent events and just happens to be a move that is always popular amongst many British Columbians, frankly including me, whenever Ottawa behaves like Ottawa – which is most of the time.

The recent oil spill in English Bay is, as has been said by so many, a wake up call. In fact, however, there are many people like Dr. Eoin Finn, who didn’t need that wake-up call and have said for a long time that sooner or later an accident like this was going to happen. As sure as the penny will turn up heads sometime, there will be next one and it could be infinitely worse.

 Federal cuts mean increased risk to coast

Before we get to the future let’s just take a look at the present. The prime minister of the country immediately defends his cuts in funding and acts as if this spill really is of very little consequence. His gauleiter in BC, James Moore, a lump of arrogance in a three-piece suit, actually opined that the response to this spill was just peachy.

The Member of Parliament most concerned about the future of oil spills is the one for my constituency, John Weston since his constituency includes Howe Sound and Squamish. It is through Howe Sound that the powers that be, including the two senior governments and the entire fossil fuel “establishment”, want to run LNG tankers to English Bay for refuelling!

LNG tankers are risky business

Let me pause here to say that opposition to these tankers is not based on some dreams concocted by airy fairy environmentalists, munching nuts and chewing raisins. Thanks to the work of Dr. Finn and Cmdr. Roger Sweeny (RCN Ret.), we know that even the most conservative expert evidence, that of Dr Michael Hightower of New Mexico, and several other experts, is such that Howe Sound is utterly unsuitable for LNG tanker traffic. In fact, the boast of the tanker industry of a safe record with LNG, while fundamentally true, overlooks the fact that this is because tankers don’t go into dangerous places like Howe Sound.

MP Weston wrong to defend tankers, LNG

Getting back to Mr. Weston, this issue should demonstrate, as if a demonstration were necessary, that the political system in this country simply doesn’t work. Here we have the Member of Parliament for an area which is largely up in arms at the thought of an LNG plant in Squamish, not only supporting that plant at every turn – berating at the West Vancouver Council for being opposed – but now struck dumb by an oil spill which demonstrates the huge dangers posed by this LNG plant he so loyally and stubbornly supports.

Surely to God this question must be raised by all reasonable people, no matter how they feel about LNG plants or tankers:

Why hasn’t John Weston been asking questions in the House about the cleanup capability in BC long before now?Why isn’t he raising hell about this oil spill?

Everyone knows that clean-up capability been under-funded by his government yet not a peep out of the man sent to Ottawa to represent our concerns.

Now that we have this huge wake up call, Mr. Weston is totally unconcerned for one very plain reason – he must be loyal to the government and its policies, however damaging they may be to his constituency. How else can he get that coveted cabinet post?

Surprisingly, Clark deserves some credit

I am certainly no fan of the premier or her government but am compelled to say that she has shown, in the clutch, the kind of leadership British Columbians expect when, as usual, Ottawa indifference is raising havoc in this faraway nuisance it couldn’t care less about.

Anyone who wishes to criticize the premier for her immediate and strong reaction should ask themselves this: If the premier doesn’t stand up for the people of British Columbia who will?

It sure as hell won’t be the likes of the Honourable James Moore or government backbencher John Weston.

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