The Simushir, a Russian-flagged cargo vessel is the newest cause celebre of anti-tanker activists out in British Columbia. Liberal MP Joyce Murray and NDP finance critic Nathan Cullen are waving distress flags over what they portray as a near-disaster that reveals systemic faults in Canada's shipping-safety regime.
When disaster almost strikes but doesn't, a question always lingers: Was the close brush a reminder that accidents will happen, or proof that we can deal with them when they do? So it went with the Simushir, the Russian container ship that lost power off British Columbia's coast last weekend and drifted into the political shoals of the province's ongoing tanker debates.
B.C.'s Christy Clark government is proposing to overhaul of the Societies Act, and they've distributed a snoozer of a White Paper to let you know all about it. If you've dozed off already, WAKE UP, because there's a massive zinger quietly planted deep inside.
Enbridge is expected to be a significant issue in this fall's municipal election campaign in Kitimat, just as Woodfibre LNG is expected to be in Squamish.
Working in Alberta, the belly of the tar sands beast, the odds are often overwhelming but, over the past few months, something has changed. The resistance to the tar sands has not only grown in leaps and bounds, it is changing the dynamics of the entire fight.
There is a famous Chinese curse that goes "may you live in interesting times." The government ushered in some interesting times indeed on September 12...
"In the lawsuit filed today, we argue that due to fundamental flaws in the JRP's report, Cabinet was deprived of the legal authority to make a final decision on the pipeline," Chris Tollefson, ELC executive director and lawyer for BC Nature, said.
Approval was given despite the negative findings of hundreds of scientists from across Canada and around the world who signed a letter to Prime Minister Harper in June. Indeed, Harper could hardly reject a pipeline in his own country when he had told the most powerful leader in the world in September 2013 that he "won't take no for an answer" on the Keystone XL pipeline.
The truth is that Northern Gateway is important to both British Columbia's and Canada's future. It will open up new markets for our most valuable resource, creating thousands of jobs and new opportunities for British Columbians and Canadians. And, by incorporating leading measures for safety and environmental protection, we are designing a project that delivers these benefits while also protecting our environment.
The Conservative government's decision to approve the Northern Gateway pipeline is the greatest threat to national unity since the Quebec crisis in 1995. It is reminiscent of Pierre Trudeau's National Energy Program of 1980, except in that case the program could be and was cancelled. This is, simply put, an "up yours" to our province of B.C.
Using an outdated and tired argument that economic development can only come at the expense of our environment, David Miller recently dismissed Northern Gateway as wrong for Canada. I respect Mr. Miller, but I firmly disagree with his assessment.
Terry Teegee doesn't seem too worried about the Harper government's recent approval of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. According to the tribal chief of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, the announcement's low profile signals waning support for the pipeline from the prime minister.
Whatever the final government deal is with the B.C. Teachers Federation (BCTF), and whenever it's settled, the BCTF must quit opposing economic growth if it ever hopes to accomplish its long-term salary and class size goals.
The next hurdle, should it come to that, is the escalation of protests and the use of peaceful civil disobedience to stop the pipeline. Already over 20,000 people have pledged to join with First Nations to do whatever it takes to stop the pipeline and prevent the destruction it would bring with it.
The federal government's failure to respect the will of British Columbians is particularly ironic. In 1980 when Trudeau introduced the National Energy Program, Albertans were outraged. They argued that it was utterly inappropriate for the federal government to interfere with their energy policy as it was deemed to be within provincial jurisdiction. Have we not learned anything from history?
Anyone claiming this pipeline is a done deal is ignoring the fact that Enbridge faces a major uphill battle. The federal government's approval of the pipeline was likely the easiest hurdle that Enbridge had to jump. The Harper government and Big Oil are looking East because they think it is an easier road to tar sands expansion than the road to the West. We can turn this project that Stephen Harper calls a "nation builder" into a movement builder. Energy East, its review and Harper's pipeline plans need a People's Intervention. Now it's our chance to give it to them. It is easy to approve a pipeline, but a whole lot harder to build one.