A Vote for Harper is a Vote for Oil Tankers in BC


We must rise as one and vote against all Tory candidates on May 2 and do so by voting for the candidate most likely to beat them and here’s the reason:
Ponder the words spoken by Prime Minister Harper on a recent visit to North Vancouver – quoted in the Vancouver Sun:

“I think we have been very clear on this,” said Harper.

“We will only allow tanker traffic if we can be sure that tanker traffic is safe. But will we ever say that we cannot have the same kind of commerce on the West Coast as on the East Coast? Of course we’re never going to rule out those opportunities for our country.”

Harper said he wants to “see the day” when Canada is able to continue to increase trade with Asia.

“So we’re not going to create artificial bans on the West Coast that don’t exist in other parts of the country.”

Those are the words which must surely cause British Columbians to utterly reject Harper and his Tories at the polls.
The objection to the Enbridge double pipeline proposal from the Tar Sands to Kitimat thence by huge tanker down our coast, and expansion of the Kinder-Morgan pipeline from the Tar Sands to Burnaby, are not based upon some 1960s flower children chants (it turns out we should have listened to them) or some anti-business bias. The deep concerns come from fact, not emotion (though I confess that I have strong emotions about my province) about a policy which is based upon the false premise that these propositions have little risk.
Forgive me for using my oft-repeated simile but the dangers cannot be pushed aside lightly by one-liners.
Suppose you have a revolver with 100 chambers, only one of which has a bullet and suppose you put the gun to your head and pull the trigger just once. The odds are simple, 99-1 against. What, however, if you decide to repeat this insanity without any limits as to how many or how long?
The risk is then a certainty waiting to happen.
As you are calculating the odds of the gun going off you would be concerned about the consequences; namely, unless you were firing marshmallow not bullets you would be dead.
Not only are these pipelines and tankers certain to have accidents, the consequences are not marshmallow but utter catastrophe.
The pipelines, two them to Kitimat – one with Tar Sands gunk, the other to take back the natural gas compound to Alberta used to dilute the bitumen for pumping – transit some of the last true wilderness on the planet, including the Great Bear Rainforest.
What happens if there is a leak during this 1000-plus km journey?
The spill piles up until help comes, and given our geography, God only knows how long that would take!
Enbridge’s track record is appalling. With its Kalamazoo River spill last year it was roundly criticized for tardiness and that was in a populated area.
When Enbridge has its BC spill it will be in wilderness devoid of easy access. When the spill is reported the company must seal off both sides of the rupture and during that interval oil continues to flow through the breach. We’re talking 1100km transversing about 1000 rivers and streams in the wildest terrain in the world. No matter how quickly Enbridge responds, the damage will be an enormous, permanent tragedy. Moreover, while at the best of times any rupture will be tragic, what if the rupture is by terrorists who know how to make it as catastrophic as possible?
The proposed tanker traffic out of Kitimat is just as serious a concern as a land tragedy, perhaps even more so. The Exxon Valdez will pale by comparison. This is the most dangerous of the world’s seacoasts.

I hesitate to say that as we voters calculate the consequences of Harper’s offhand dismissal of our case (75-80% of British Columbians have consistently polled in favour of a tanker ban), we should remember that there isn’t anything in it for BC. I hesitate because even if the rewards were immense we should be opposed because no monetary reward could compensate our loss. In fact, BC is simply an easement and gets nothing of consequence. 

Why are our two senior governments so eager to have our province, on land and sea, hostage to China’s need for Tar Sands gunk? Isn’t the idea to get away from the use of fossil fuels? Aren’t we, in a sense, enabling the drunk to drink?

(It’s interesting to note the similarity of this policy to the government’s utter lack of concern that the Campbell/Clark private power plan sends all the benefits out of province. What is it about us in BC that the governments we help elect want to destroy our environment while making foreigners rich and happy?)

Back to proposed and existing pipelines and tanker traffic.

Stephen Harper’s policies guarantee that BC will sustain incalculable damage.
That being the case, British Columbians must ensure that Harper doesn’t get electoral encouragement, much less a majority from us.
Retaining our beautiful province is in our hands when we enter that polling booth May 2nd.


About Rafe Mair

Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, was Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. In 1981 he left politics for Talk Radio becoming recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists. An avid fly fisherman, he took a special interest in Atlantic salmon farms and private power projects as environmental calamities and became a powerful voice in opposition to them. Rafe is the co-founder of The Common Sense Canadian and writes a regular blog at rafeonline.com.

4 thoughts on “A Vote for Harper is a Vote for Oil Tankers in BC

  1. The OIL SANDS are the greatest thing to happen in this place in a lone time. Without them our economy is screwed. so if you don’t like it, don’t use anything that need oil, oh but wait almost everything does! So go be a hippie in the woods and see how long you last.

  2. A little more for this one; Enbridge has damaged more than 40 miles of shoreline in the Kalamazoo River. It has also exposed the residents who live in that area with the carcinogenic risks associated with benzene contamination.

    Enbridge took almost two full days to report the spill to authorities. After initially claiming full responsibility for the spill, and pledging publicly to assist families involved, when the media blitz regarding this incident died down there Enbridge hired a law firm to challenge the damage claims.

    You will love this part;

    Enbridge came up with a very high-tech solution to keep wildlife out of the contaminated areas after the spill. A lady from Battle Creek, Michigan has a photo of this high-tech solution. It is a plastic owl on a stick….really something.

    Look up Nikki Skuce, senior energy campaigner at this link provided…


    Moreover, Enbridge has admitted in public that it cannot promise or guarantee that there will be no spills on its high-risk Northern Gateway project here in BC.
    So it is not a question of “if” but a question of “when” (the damage to our environment will occur)

  3. I read, Harper plan on, Global Governance for Canada. Harper said, global Governance has been worked on, since WW11.

    Harper is selling our country out to, the wealthiest corporations in the world. Campbell, Alberta and Sask. premiers, all signed in favor for, the pipeline from the dirty tar sands and the dirty Chinese tankers, before Campbell left. If you remember, Harper really chastised the BC citizens for, forcing his partner in crime to resign. Harper and Campbell have worked on that project, and other projects coming up. They do plan on, forcing this abomination from the dirty tar sands, onto the BC people, and our beautiful province.

    If Harper wins, be prepared to kiss this country good-bye.

  4. Safe tanker traffic equals the same silly assertion “military intelligence…”

    It has been already proved beyond doubt that commerce on the West Coast cannot ever be the same as the East coast; fish farms full of Atlantic salmon prove this for us un-equivocally……

    Although a dark view, a tanker spill would finish the fish farms for good; unfortunately the rest of the local ocean environment would be included…..

    We have enough evidence with the Exxon spill and how that corporation escaped liability and clean-up duties. We have further evidence of corporate negligence in the Kalamazoo River…..

    If there is a rupture in the pipeline in a remote area, what guarantee is there in place for anyone to be informed? How would we come to know of this if the area is so remote as to not allow access?

    Regarding politicians in BC selling us out continually, Rafe this only happens because we, as the citizens of this great province allow it to happen.

    Maybe time we stand collectively to walk like an Egyptian?

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