Canada's ability to oversee large energy projects is crumbling. No matter which way you look at it, Canada's regulatory system just isn't up to the challenging task of protecting the health, environment and economy of Canadians from risky energy projects.
If we connect the dots between all the natural gas, coal and tar sands proposals in B.C., a big picture emerges and the choice we face becomes both stark and clear: B.C. needs a government with leadership and vision to make the hard decisions. The province needs courage to stop building pipelines that would put at risk thousands of jobs and lock us into global warming. We need stewards to protect our collective future wisely, by investing in green jobs and saying yes to a clean energy future.
In the past the BC NDP condemned the Liberal carbon tax policy without doing the hard work to address how an NDP government would address these challenges. Under the leadership of Adrian Dix it is now clear that an NDP government would take these issues very seriously and they have taken the time to carefully consider how the carbon tax needs to cover more greenhouse gas emissions to ensure that we not only reduce pollution but also build a stronger and more equitable economy for B.C. I'm impressed.
Will he or won't he? This week, the Keystone XL guessing game took another twist, scrambling the odds on whether U.S. President Barack Obama will ul...
British Columbians clearly oppose both Kinder Morgan and the Northern gateway, but I wouldn't doubt we will see the pro-pipeline Harper federal government stick their nose into the B.C. election in the coming weeks, as they twist in the wind watching the fate of their beloved tar sands pipelines land right in the waiting hands of Adrian Dix and the NDP.
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.