The phrase "world-class oil spill response and prevention" is a meaningless platitude. There is no such thing as world-class oil spill response and prevention. Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver's announcement does little to diminish the risk or change the nature of shipping oil on the B.C. coast.
A tax loophole exempting tar sands pipeline operators from paying an eight-cent tax per barrel of oil they transport in the U.S. is costing the federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund millions of dollars every year. With expected increases in tar sands oil production over the next five years, this loophole may have deprived U.S. citizens of $400-million dollars worth of critical oil-spill protection funds come 2017. Regardless of how many barrels of tar sands oil will be traversing U.S. soil, none should be exempt from spill liability taxes. If anything, corrosive diluted bitumen should be taxed more for the inherent dangers it presents.
I wish the Harper government would drop the greenwashing and propaganda campaigns. But really this isn't about a pipeline or the pipe dreams of a Prime Minister. This is about the people and the lands they live on. The people of my home region in northwestern British Columbia are hardworking and community-minded by nature and inclination. The attacks from the Harper government, and the threats posed by Enbridge's pipeline and the supertankers they bring, have only brought us closer together, strengthening our determination to protect the values and natural wonders that we hold most dear.
The future of energy in Canada will determine the fate of our society. It must be widely discussed, nationally as well as provincially, beyond the boundaries of politics and economics. This is about the type of country we will leave to our children and grandchildren.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper can make all the safety announcements he wants but it doesn't change the fact that the people of B.C. are moving in the opposite direction he is. We are saying less tar sands oil not more, thank you very much.
The U.S. State Department released its long-awaited report on the Keystone XL project last week. Most media focused on the executive summary, but several scenarios in British Columbia are outlined in the full report, even though the province is thousands of kilometres removed from the proposed pipeline.
Like Idle No More, the Keystone pipeline battle is a gut-level expression of Aboriginal determination. Unlike Idle No More, it is tightly organized and well defined, with proven staying power and a simple focus: to prevent construction of the $6.5-billion project.
U.S. President Barack Obama and B.C. NDP Leader Adrian Dix can choose to plot a course. A course towards more dependence on dirty tar sands oil -- a business-as-usual approach -- or, towards a shift in focus with a reduced dependence.
The four founders of Idle No More didn't start out famous. Until flash-mob round dances, prayer circles, and blockades spread across Canada, few people knew Jessica Gordon, Sylvia McAdam, Sheelah McLean, and Nina Wilson. But today, Idle No More is emerging as a powerful movement for the rights of native peoples to protect the lands and waters.
Between 1999 and 2010, Enbridge has had over 800 oil spills. Enbridge has spent almost $5 million on its greenwash campaigns trying to convince us they are following an "unwritten code of conduct" and have learned about "integrity and respect." Regardless, the movement against the Enbridge pipeline as well as the Kinder Morgan Pipeline is growing.
I feel strongly that as non-indigenous people living here in what we now call North America that we all have a lot to learn from those that were here long before we were. Working together, we need to find ways to heal from the history of colonialism and find new ways to work together to make healthy alternatives to dangerous tar sands oil, a reality. There are very real energy, housing and transportation solutions already readily available.
I am from Germany and moved to British Columbia with my wife and daughter in 2006. Our original plan was to stay for two years but we fell in love with the spectacular natural beauty of this province. No wild places like the B.C. coast remain in Germany. The idea of losing the wholeness of this landscape, First Nations cultures, the salmon, bears and whales to a catastrophic tanker or pipeline accident is heartbreaking.
The proposed Northern Gateway pipeline carrying raw bitumen to the B.C. coast is a bad idea, but it's ultimately the wrong fight. Let's assume the momentum of bringing Enbridge to its knees leads to a mass protest across Canada and all the proposed pipelines are stopped. Oil companies still have other options.
It's not Ottawa or Ontario that stands in the way of Alberta's success, nor will the rants of Thomas Mulcair or Justin Trudeau have any noticeable impact on the well-being of Albertans. An independent Alberta would face the same problems as now, and even worse, because British Columbia next door would be even less inclined to open its territory to a pipeline from the "Republic of Alberta".
Extract: The Pipeline Wars is an explosive, shocking warning that if the Northern Gateway pipeline goes ahead, it's checkmate for climate change as Earth's icecaps melt, oceans rise, and ultimately people and animals die as billions of tons of greenhouse gases are pumped into the sky.
The Haisla First Nation live in one of the most beautiful spots on Earth, on the west coast near the aluminum town of Kitimat. The town's massive smelter has long been a sore spot among the Haisla, dropped into their traditional territory in the pro-development 1950 without consultation or substantial compensation. Now, the Haisla find themselves on the front lines of one of the most important Canadian environmental and development debates of the 21st century, but they are no longer the powerless victims of a half century ago. If Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline proceeds, it will terminate on Haisla territory.