In British Columbia, First Nations, environmentalists and a big segment of the general public are gearing up for a war against a dangerous and potentially catastrophic product, diluted bitumen also known as dilbit. We're at war against something, something vile and highly destructive.
In Alberta, their premier warns that she's gearing up for war, war against the people of British Columbia. In a thinly veiled threat in Alberta's throne speech Notley threatened to shut off the oil taps. She turned coy about the target but it's pretty obviously the people of British Columbia.
Notley reminds me of the struggle underway between the Trump regime and the governor of California, Jerry Brown, after attorney-general, Jeff Beauregard Sessions announced that Washington will be suing California's "sanctuary cities." To governor Brown that feels like war being waged on the state.
Canada has just been pushed around by Trump with his threats to levy tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminium exports to the US if we don't do America's bidding on NAFTA. British Columbia has likewise been pushed around by Trump over softwood lumber. Bombardier got pushed around by Boeing and an American government that sought to levy insanely high tariffs in an attempt to kill off the C-series jetliner. Now Trudeau and Notley are playing Trump's bully game.
Alberta dilbit imperils the environment of British Columbia and, in particular, our coastal waters that could suffer irreparable, catastrophic ruin. This hazmat crud, laced with really evil garbage including acids, heavy metals, carcinogens, abrasives and pet coke, has caused calamity wherever it has been spilled.
If there was ever a peril calling for the application of the precautionary principle the Kinder Morgan pipeline is it.
"The precautionary principle or precautionary approach states if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action.
"This principle allows policy makers to make discretionary decisions in situations where there is the possibility of harm from taking a particular course or making a certain decision when extensive scientific knowledge on the matter is lacking. The principle implies that there is a social responsibility to protect the public from exposure to harm, when scientific investigation has found a plausible risk. These protections can be relaxed only if further scientific findings emerge that provide sound evidence that no harm will result."
In the case of dilbit there is more than a "suspected risk." The producers and transporters of the product have demonstrated the reality of that risk over and over again. So now, the burden of proof that it is not harmful to British Columbia, our mountain passes, our lakes and streams and, above all else, our pristine coastal waters rightly falls on Justin Trudeau and Rachel Beauregard Notley.
Just what has got them so riled up that Notley resorts to bullying ordinary British Columbians? What does the British Columbia government have in mind that so offends them? It wants to conduct tests, the same tests that Big Oil and the Trudeau government and the Notley government ought to have done long ago.
B.C. wants to conduct research that the Royal Society of Canada, leading ecologist Dave Shindler and even Environment Canada say has not been done.
We need answers. They ought to be providing those answers. Trudeau says they've done the science. Where is it? Why has he not produced it if only to clear up this bottleneck of his, Notley's and their predecessors' making?
It speaks volumes that Trudeau and Notley are both getting more strident, more menacing as the demands mount for some honest answers about their bitumen fetish. They've chosen not to provide those answers and that's on them, no one else.
The more bullying them become the more apparent it is that they probably already have the answers to our questions. They know how bad this crud is, they know how it behaves when - not if, when - it's spilled either on shore or at sea. They don't want to talk about it.
It's entirely reasonable that British Columbia follows the precautionary principle. The burden of proof is on Notley and Trudeau. We're still waiting.