Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Terrace Standard Hacking up Dogwood Initiative, NDP-- Promoting oil and gas in Douglas Channel

As always, the good news is that when such hate comes at you, it is part of a larger concern that the politics being brought forth by critics are harming "business as usual". As such, people concerned about traditional lands from Edmonton to Kitamaat Village and up and down the Inside Pasage of BC should take note, and perhaps a pat on the back. Fear them only when they ignore you.


This MP should stay far away
Aug 08 2007

A RECENT article in The Northern Sentinel from Kitimat highlighting how existing and potential jobs could be threatened by a federal NDP push to stop tanker traffic on the north coast will set off alarm bells in many circles.

The article quotes NDP MP Denise Savoie from Victoria as proposing a motion to impose a federal moratorium on the passage of international tanker traffic on oil, condensate and liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the Douglas Channel. This is the same MP who in The Goldstream News stated, “that 10 oil tankers have entered Kitimat harbour loaded with liquefied natural gas and condensate.”

Even Denise Savoie is fully aware of a couple of pesky little facts. First there has not been a single LNG tanker enter the harbor of Kitimat or any other port on the North Coast.

Interesting enough her motion only applies to the Central and North coast not the southern regions of the province, where this kind of traffic is moving in and out of the ports of Vancouver and Victoria on a regular basis.

Which makes her comment “Far be it for me from the south to make decisions on what happens in the north,” rather bizarre as that is exactly what she is doing.

But a look across the landscape reveals a number of other people who are now part of this campaign, who are equally selective in how they portray the facts. Will Horter of the Dogwood Initiative in the Goldstream News, when talking about some of the proposed facilities states “One of those facilities is being built in Kitimat by… Enbridge.” April O’Connor of The Living Oceans Society also refers to the mythical LNG and 350,000 barrel tankers plying the waters of Kitimat.

Last time I looked there was certainly no construction going on. In fact Enbridge has deferred their project to the west coast. The ease by which these folks can misrepresent the facts for their next fund raising drive makes their organizations appear far less ethical than any corporations they may criticize.

Skeena NDP MP Nathan Cullen’s explanation that although Kitimat would be impacted by the moratorium, the main target of the motion is the expansion of the Alberta oil sands is even more disturbing. If the larger NDP agenda is to stop tar sands production, shutting down the port of Kitimat will have little effect but the same can’t be said for the impact on northwest residents.

The Kitimat break bulk port project is unique. Its strength has been in the funding partners who are participating in the study which include First Nations, municipal governments, Province of BC and the private sector. Curiously enough the only group who has not contributed to date is the federal government.

A break bulk facility in Kitimat will complement the container port in Prince Rupert and provide the entire north with comprehensive access to the global marketplace. This project in Kitimat holds the potential to expand the economic base of every community in the northwest. It will attract entirely new investment and industries to the region.

For the first time, the northwest will be positioned to compete on an equal footing with southern communities and when you factor in the availability of low cost industrial, commercial and residential land in the north. We may even have an edge.

But ports are like any other business and ships are very mobile. As the shipping industry reads the material from environmental groups and our politicians, they are equally aware of the inaccuracies that are being portrayed. No one wants their vessel or cargo caught up in a fight that has more to do with politics than facts.

The issue for the NDP may be the tars sands and offshore gas and oil but the victim will be the entire Kitimat port project and local communities.

As Denise Savoie so accurate stated, “Far be it for me from the south to make decisions on what happens in the north.” I suspect there a lot of people who will agree with her. The further away she stays the better.

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Tar Sands Photo Albums by Project

Discussion Points on a Moratorium

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