Given the economic doldrums facing other resource-based sectors in B.C. with the collapse of oil prices and the malaise in the minerals and metals markets, the B.C. engineering community recognizes the importance of projects such as LNG Canada moving forward. For many firms, the development of an LNG industry will buffer the impact that the downturn of the resource sector is having.
90 per cent of all new wells drilled in B.C. that would supply the province's proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry will be fracked. Fracking demands massive amounts of freshwater, industrializes large areas of northeast B.C. and has major impacts on the climate. So, how is the B.C. government getting away with touting this industry as a "clean" energy resource?
The premiers' Canadian Energy Strategy focuses on energy conservation and efficiency, clean energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change. But details are vague and there's no sense of urgency. Although the language about climate change and clean energy is important, the strategy remains stuck in the fossil fuel era.
First Nations in B.C., like the Lax Kw'alaams band, deserve greater clarity on what, if any, projects trump Aboriginal title rights. Companies looking to invest in B.C. deserve greater clarity on the willingness of the government to support projects on Aboriginal title land -- without the consent of First Nations.
Recent events in Canada have shown not only that change is possible, but that people won't stand for having corporate interests put before their own. The people of Alberta did what was once thought impossible: they gave the NDP a strong majority. Voters in Prince Edward Island followed B.C. provincially and Canada federally and elected their first Green Party member, as well as Canada's second openly gay premier.
Once lauded for policies such as the carbon tax and energy agreements with California, B.C.'s political leaders have now embraced liquefied natural gas, claiming industry expansion will create hundreds of thousands of jobs and add billions of dollars to provincial coffers -- never mind that no one in power now will be held accountable for these promises because they're several elections from being realized.
Like it or not, it's time for Squamish to grow a pair and get political. Stop, even for a few hours, the trail bike riding. The hiking. The mountain climbing. The kite boarding. If the mudders really want to "live the life," then it's time to really get dirty. But by putting a little time aside for arguing and debating for the environment you so immensely enjoy.