Sunday, April 25, 2010

BC Must Say "No" to Oily Coast. So Should Ignatieff

Not only are the Athabasca Tar Sands a looming environmental disaster for Alberta but the Oil Patch is looking to threaten British Columbia coastal waters to boot.

BC's hard-right "Liberal" government has always been a little greasy but now it's gushing at the prospect of oil revenue.

One aspect entails a twin pipeline from the Athabasca fields to a marine terminal near Kitimat. That would mean supertankers just like the Exxon Valdez plying BC's pristine northern coast. Even without a cataclysmic spill, the tanker traffic poses a real threat to coastal marine life and to the livelihood of First Nation and other coastal communities.

And we're doing this for what? To benefit the pipeline builder, Enbridge, and the Alberta oil patch? This is so they can expand their markets for the world's filthiest fossil fuel into Asia and to hell with British Columbia.

Michael Ignatieff. If you really want to get off your centre-right perch and really join the Liberal Party, here's something on which you can take a stand. The people of BC are solidly against this so it should be a real opportunity to do what has eluded you so far - reach the British Columbia voting public on an issue that resonates strongly with them. Even better than that, opposing this project is just the right thing to do.

And while we're on the subject of oily faux Liberals, you could take a stand on Victoria's sudden bent on offshore oil and gas development. There is some oil and some gas that needs to be left right where it has been, safe and sound, for millenia. Drilling wells in the immediate vicinity of a volatile, subduction fault line maybe isn't the brightest, safest or soundest idea. There's a reason BC has had a moratorium on that for years.

Right now we're watching what can happen when there's an oil rig mishap at sea. In the Gulf of Mexico, the Americans are wrestling with an oil slick some 400 sq. miles in area that's threatening the coastline of every Gulf state - Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas. From Times Online:

“It’s 1,000 barrels [a day] emanating from 5,000ft below the surface,” said Rear-Admiral Mary Landry, of the US Coast Guard, who is overseeing the emergency response. “Absolutely, this is a very serious oil spill.”

BP, which leased the rig, said last week that it was doing everything in its power to contain the spill and resolve the situation “as rapidly, safely and effectively as possible”, using underwater robots, 700 personnel, five aircraft, 32 vessels, and nearly 200 miles of floating booms.

BP and the US government thought they were dealing with a surface oil problem. Turns out the leak is a mile underwater. BP has a plan to seal the seabottom leak but it's an iffy prospect and it's going to take many months to complete.

The nice thing for the Liberal leader is that the conservatives, the CPC and the LPBC, are on the wrong side of this one. The public doesn't back them on these initiatives but we feel like we don't have a voice. It's an opportunity that's begging to be taken and, right now, the Liberal leader doesn't seem to be awash in opportunities.


LMA said...

1,000 barrels a day a mile underwater - what a nightmare! On 24th March, 21 years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the NDP's MP Donnelly introduced a bill for a legally binding moratorium on all oil tankers in the Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound, in order to fight the Enbridge Pipeline. The NDP represents a much needed alternative to the lack of action on environmental issues offered by the Libs and Cons.

The Mound of Sound said...

I find it frustrating as hell that the LPC doesn't stand up on its hind legs and just do what's right - for British Columbians, for the Pacific coast and for the country. I think it speaks volumes for the measure of integrity of the IgLibs when they remain mute on challenges like this.

LMA said...

As Robert Fowler said, it's all about getting to power, and it shows.

At this point, I am beginning to wonder if it really makes any difference whether the Libs or Cons win the next election as long as it's a minority government - hopefully with the NDP leading the opposition.

The Mound of Sound said...

You have more confidence in the NDP than I, LMA. Remember how they castigated Dion over the "Green Shift" when that very approach is now widely accepted as the only viable solution to carbon emissions. I think the Dippers can be quite disingenuous - and I really don't trust them.

LMA said...

The Libs didn't explain the Green Shift clearly to the public and the idea of a "tax on everything" stuck. The timing was lousy also with an economic crisis looming. In any case, the Libs and only the Libs are responsible for defending their policies.

I had always voted NDP or Green until Dion came along, so I guess I'm a Dipper at heart. There was something about Dion's sincerity and passion that won me over completely, but I absolutely do not trust Ignatieff or his rationalizations and indecision.

The bottom line for me is always environmental policies.

Friggin Okie said...

When the CPC dip below 30% in the polls after weeks of incessant pummeling in the press, and the Liberal party stats follow them downward......

What else is there to say?

The only thing I can think of is that the Blogging Tories are scarier than the Liberalsonline....


This site not included of course.

The Mound of Sound said...

I agree entirely LMA. Dion showed a fatally flawed grasp of politics with his bungling of the Green Shift policy.

He allowed it to be 'exposed' by Harper & Layton long before he was ready to unveil it to the public. That allowed Harper & Layton to shape the narrative and depict it as a foolish, harmful tax grab. In every sense of the word, the Tgories and NDP aborted Dion's policy.

Dion was unable or unwilling to grasp the degree of preparation necessary to introduce something as major as the Green Shift. You have to build solid public awareness both of the problem and of alternatives to deal with it. Then you have to sell them on your proposal. That's utterly beyond the means of a cash-strapped opposition party. It's the sort of challenge that's so big it requires the resources only being in government affords.

I'm still bitter at Dion over this. The Green Shift was, and is, the best option but he himself torpedoed it, thereby ensuring it will be extremely difficult if not impossible for a successor to revive. Ignatieff has already spurned it saying the Canadian public passed judgment against it during the last election.

Anyong said...

The NDP cannot be any worse than the Cons or the Libs at this time. With the Cons and the Libs in a bag, a person would not know which one would jump out first. How else can this country be given a shake up but through an NDP vote for the Libs and Cons need a stunner.

The Mound of Sound said...

vote Green