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Liberal MP Pamela Goldsmith-Jones (Flickr/CreativeMornings Vancouver/Matthew Smith)

Liberal MP Pamela Goldsmith-Jones (Flickr/CreativeMornings Vancouver/Matthew Smith)

Well, there’s great excitement in the federal constituency of West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country – Liberal MP Pamela Goldsmith-Jones is having not one, not two, but count ’em, three public hearings on the proposed Woodfibre LNG plant, far and away the most contentious issue in this neck of the woods.

Sticking to climate change

No, that’s not quite accurate because the public hearings are billed to be just about greenhouse gases and climate change, not about such things as the emissions that would come from the plant, the dangers to the newly-revived sea life, nor, of critical importance, the narrowness of Howe Sound, making it totally unsuitable to LNG tankers. There is another issue which no one in government talks about, it evidently not being polite to say anything – Woodfibre LNG is run by a tax-cheating crook best known in Indonesia for burning down jungles.

A welcome change from Harper days

Now, I am writing this before the first meeting and my firm suspicion is that the above issues will be raised, thank God, even though they are distinctly not on the agenda.

It is, however, quite an exciting time because we’re not used to members of Parliament talking to us, except to tell us what government thinks we should be thinking. Indeed, when it was brought to our new MP’s attention that the folks back home were very restless about this issue and actively planning ways and means to make nuisances of themselves, within hours she had scheduled these meetings.

Publicity exercise?

Not everybody thinks these are a wonderful happening. I am not alone in believing it’s all a crock of crap and a political publicity exercise by the government.

The federal government obviously doesn’t give a rat’s ass about global warming or climate change.

Why do I say that?

Well, the issue was great for giving the rookie Justin Trudeau a stage for an early dog and pony show before the world in Paris, and it certainly looked promising when Canada decided we’d wean ourselves off fossil fuels.

Then Mr. Trudeau came home and the next thing we knew, pipelines were being built as usual, new ones approved, fossil fuels coming out of the ground in ever increasing amounts, then shipped to countries that couldn’t wait to send gunk into the atmosphere. Fossil fuel companies are acting as if the Paris conference didn’t happen and, for all intents and purposes, it didn’t. The fossil fuel companies not only control our newspapers but our governments too.

The actions don’t fit the words

Let me ask Pamela Goldsmith-Jones a question or two.

I confess to being a bit of a cynic, but when I look at Mr. Trudeau in Paris and then listen to him back in Ottawa it occurs that I have two stories to choose from and, based on his words and past performances, I can safely assume that the fossil fuel companies are in no danger, their subsidies will continue, their pipelines will be built, the National Energy Board will continue to be a sham and it’s business as usual. That being the case, why the hell would I waste one second of my time listening to you, Madam MP, explain how concerned the government is about climate change and GHGs?

Focus on Howe Sound

Now, if you really wanted to find out what your constituents are fussing about these days you wouldn’t talk about climate change and GHG’s, which, after all, is a pretty easy subject to bullshit about and then do nothing, but you’d deal with what are the issues specific to Howe Sound. I say that because greenhouse gases and climate change is a universal issue and, if not addressed, the world will expire. What do you expect us to add to Paris?

No, Madame MP, let’s take a look at the potential emissions from the proposed plant and what harm they will do will not only to people but also to the renewed sea life, now once more abundant thanks a great deal to be concerned and generous residents of the Howe Sound area who worked so hard for the last 25 years on their restoration.

Woodfibre boss is bad news

Let’s talk, Pamela, if I may be so bold, about the ownership of Woodfibre LNG. Sukanto Tanoto is world-known in the industry as being bad news. His record as a big time tax cheat puts him in a class by himself. His environmental record shows him to be an uncaring industrialist who cuts down or sets fire to anything that gets in his way.

Furthermore, Pam, it’s easily demonstrated that his Canadian company is setup so that skating taxes and royalties into tax-free Singapore is child’s play.

Now, it may be that Mr. Tanoto will see the light and suddenly care deeply for the environment, pay his taxes like we all do and be a wonderful corporate citizen. And, of course, pigs might fly.

Shipping LNG is risky business

On the critical, fundamental issue of the width of Howe Sound, no scientist would deny there will be accidents and and with LNG tankers, they are very serious and deadly. The Department of Environment concedes that there will be accidents which means that it’s not a matter of if we have calamities, but when.

The United States and generally accepted international standards of width, as well as those of SIGGTO, the industry organization, make it abundantly clear that LNG tanker traffic in Howe Sound is too dangerous to countenance.

When are you going to talk about this issue?

Constituents ready for serious discussion

Many of your constituents, Pam, would like you to hold open meetings and deal with the questions which specifically concern the residents of the Howe Sound area. This is not a NIMBY issue but one for all of BC. Howe Sound is the southernmost Canadian fjord and one of the most beautiful in the world. Why would you, as our member of Parliament, not want to hear from us on these issues and why wouldn’t you not take them directly to the prime minister and make it clear to him that the people in your constituency are deadly serious about fighting WLNG up to and including civil disobedience?

Pam, I don’t join the enthusiastic applause for your sudden decision to have three meetings on climate change and GHGs. It’s a copout and, frankly, not only is no better than we got from your predecessor who simply ignored us; it’s worse. At least Weston was honest enough to say that his boss loved the idea of the LNG plant, that he, Weston, also thought it was a terrific idea and if his constituents didn’t like it, too bloody bad.

That attitude got him badly beaten by you in the election but I say to you that if you don’t take your constituents seriously, very seriously, on this issue, we’ll run a fencepost with hair and thrash you.

High Hopes

Like most Canadians, Pam, I had high hopes for Mr. Trudeau but now I see that when it gets down to cases, the fossil fuel industry with all its money and power will carry the day and Mr.Trudeau and the government will go along and, like Weston before you, you will too.

If I’m wrong, it will be my huge pleasure to shout my apologies from the rooftops – and from here.

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