Common Sense Canadian

Burnaby mayor calls BC “banana republic” over coal port review

PostedJanuary 27, 2014 by in BC

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan pulled no punches at a recent council meeting, criticizing the undemocratic process being led by Port Metro Vancouver to drive coal port expansion.

Corrigan calls out the port authority and controversial Canadian engineering firm SNC-Lavalin, tapped to conduct environmental assessment work for the proposer Fraser Surrey Docks coal port expansion, suggesting that BC is becoming a “banana republic”. The comments were captured in video posted to youtube Eoghan Moriarty.

“The majority of directors  on Port Metro Vancouver are appointed by the very companies that stand to economically benefit from these decisions,” Corrgian explained. “So they go out and hire SNC-Lavalin to do the report for them.”

Now, SNC-Lavalin has done more to bring Canadian engineering into disrepute than any company has ever had the misfortune to do in the history of Canada. This is one of the few Canadian companies who could attain the high goal of being banned for 10 years by the World Bank for corruption. This is a company that is up to its earlobes in corruption in Montreal.

“And yet, here in BC,” Corrigan continued, “they’re the independent organization brought in to do environmental assessments for the very board appointed by the companies who benefit from the environmental assessment. This is crazy. This is completely losing control of any public interest in these kind of projects whatsoever.”

Corrigan criticized the controversial plan to ramp up American coal exports to Asia through Surrey Fraser Docks.

“So here we are, with the Fraser Surrey Docks being utilized to bring in American coal that’s been refused in American ports to ship overseas,” said Corrigan, “…as if we’re not all sharing the same air shed and that that dirty coal isn’t going to blow right back into our atmosphere. It’s insanity.”

Corrigan raised what is becoming a common theme – the growing divide between local governments like Vancouver and Burnaby, both of which are opposing Kinder Morgan’s plans to vastly expand oil tanker traffic through the region, and senior governments driving these projects.

And then they wonder why politicians have such difficulty in tursting the machinations of our senior orders of government – the ones that are given all the constitutional authority to impose their will on local municipalities.

About the Author

Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.



    Wow. Well said. Thank you Mayor of Burnaby for standing up for Canadians! This is absolutely ludicrous and needs to be brought to all british Columbians attention. How is this not criminal? I bet Harper is involved with this crap


    I used to work for SNC. I
    I have never, ever in my 40+ years of employment worked for a more mindlessly beaurocratic, aimless, monolithic entity. They deserve everything that has happened to them over the past 2years of corruption convictions and scandal.
    I agree with everything the Burnaby mayor has said


      And if you don’t believe me………. Google “ex SNC employee” (since there is plenty of “ex” SNC peons) and read the comments……….. some of them are pretty funny

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