Justin Trudeau must have skipped that lecture.
It sounded like an attempt at reconciliation when the incredibly greasy Liberals proposed a joint scientific advisory panel to "advance collaboration and alleviate any ongoing concerns regarding spill response capacity. It turns out that was Liberalese for "you play ball with us and we'll stick the bat up your arse" or "why don't you collaborate in sweeping everything under the carpet so we can drive this damned pipeline straight to the ocean."
Elizabeth May has a term for it, "collective insanity."
B.C.-based politicians say they haven’t been able to get a straight answer out of the federal government on the science involving oil spills, and that the federal government’s actions on Kinder Morgan will lead to a renewal of Western alienation from the federal government.
“There is a case of collective insanity,” said Elizabeth May, the Green MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands.
She views federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna’s public statement to her B.C. counterpart, George Heyman, proposing a panel on spills as nothing more than a “public-relations stunt,” further illustrating the approach taken by the Trudeau government on Kinder Morgan’s $7.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
“The time for Catherine McKenna and Justin Trudeau and [federal Natural Resources Minister] Jim Carr to examine the science of a dilbit [diluted bitumen] spill, and the fact that they can’t clean it up, was before they issued the permit to Kinder Morgan. They promised evidence-based, decision-making,” said May, who referred to revelations by the National Observer that, in her words, “the fix was in.” The online daily news outlet reported that senior federal officials were told to, in May’s words, “provide a legally justifiable set of conclusions to get to yes.”
In a 10-page, Nov. 18, 2016 letter to Prime Minister Trudeau before the Liberal government approved the project, BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, a climate scientist before he entered politics in 2013, warned that “contingency planning for spills, accidents or malfunctions, during construction and operation of the project are not supported by rigorous science.”
Weaver said he never received a reply, nor has he, with an academic background in ocean physics, been asked by federal officials for his expert opinion (politics aside) on the consequences of diluted-bitumen spill from the Trans Mountain pipeline.
Two major studies have examined the issue of spills. One, on the effects of oil spills into Canadian marine waters released in 2015 by an expert panel of the Royal Society of Canada, concluded that more research is required “to better understand the environmental impact of spilled crude oil in high-risk and poorly understood areas, such as Arctic waters, the deep ocean and shores or inland rivers and wetlands.” The other study, published in 2016 by the U.S.-based National Academies of Sciences on the “environmental fate, effects and responses” of diluted-bitumen spills from pipelines, also cited the need for further study to address “diluted bitumen’s behaviour in the environment under different conditions, its detection when submerged or sunken, and the best response strategies for mitigating the impacts of submerged and sunken oil.”May isn't about to let Trudeau off the hook:
“I’m wondering if the Trudeau administration is muzzling the scientists at DFO so it can pump up the so-called scientists at NRCan to promote the test in Alberta, instead of mentioning that DFO has done a study with seawater that shows that dilbit can’t be cleaned up.”
Weaver agrees. “There is no example anywhere in the world where more than two per cent of a diluted bitumen spill has been cleaned up,” he said.
“We don’t need another study. What we need is to not transport that stuff across our borders — and that is what British Columbia is trying to underpin through its reference case. That there is real concern about our inability to clean up a diluted bitumen spill.”Trudeau lost the moral high ground when he shamelessly reneged on his oh-so-sincere promises about "social licence" and First Nations consultations and honest environmental assessments and evidence-based decision making. All he's done since then is make a bad situation much, much worse. It's hard to imagine what this guy won't stoop to to steamroller the betrayed public standing in opposition to Kinder Morgan for the sake of driving the Trans Mountain pipeline to "tidewater."
If he wants to spark a resistance movement in British Columbia, he's going about it the right way. He's on the verge of "tearing it all apart."