The competition has been tight, but I think Christy Clark has finally won the prize for the Canadian Leader most out of touch with her constituents.
On her new 5-point criteria regarding the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project, she strikes out on 4 out of the 5 points.
First, Clark says we must wait for approval from the Enbridge Joint Review Panel (the federal review process currently underway, and in limbo with Harper’s Bill C-38). Well that’s the one she got right – at least she didn’t join the likes of Harper and publicly state her support for the proposal before the process plays out.
Second, Clark indicates that more money would seal the deal for the Provincial government! Excuse me; hasn’t our illustrious Premier heard anything at all this year? When did the 130 First Nations unequivocally opposed to the Northern Gateway, in addition to a majority of British Columbians, ever say “we’re against the project, unless we get more money out of the deal?” Money has NEVER been the issue, and for Clark to think that’s what the people of this province value, then she’s had her head in the sand for the past 10 months or she’s been preoccupied strategizing her latest publicity stunts and secret rendezvous (personally, I think it’s the latter).
Third, Clark insists we must have “world-leading marine oil spill response, prevention and recovery systems for B.C.’s coastline”. I have to wonder, does she mean like the ones at Kalamazoo, or maybe the BP ones in the Gulf, or how about the 800+ spills in the Enbridge system over 10 years? Exactly where does Clark figure this new “world-leading…spill prevention and recovery” will come from? To clean up more than 15% of a spill is impossible and to clean up bitumen is harder and has many unknowns. Pretending that there is a “recovery system” out there that will suddenly solve this issue is why she wins the competition – she’s the only one who thinks this is a reality.
If there were ever an oil spill in Hecate Strait there is no cleanup system. I repeat, there would be no recovery system in place. The only one you’re impressing with this rhetoric is Enbridge – I’m sure she’s won their support with the provincial government’s token requirements.
Fourth, Clark wants to ensure the “Legal and Treaty Rights of FN are addressed”. If you hadn’t noticed, there are over 130 First Nations standing together that are adamantly against this project and most of what they’re saying is about the land, sea and environment and not some legal point that must be “addressed”.
Finally, “Enbridge must make every effort to engage First Nations to provide them with opportunities”. And, we’re back to the money again. The loud and clear message I’ve been hearing is that there isn’t enough money that could offset the risk of an oil spill on our ecosystems and the natural environment that sustains us. Does Clark figure the people of Kalamazoo would be fine now if only they’d loaded up on the benefits earlier in the decade?
No means no. Fortunately for British Columbians, the Liberals aren’t fairing well in recent polls. Clark should have taken a lesson from NDP Leader Dix, who took a firm stance against the Northern Gateway a while back.
John Disney is the economic development officer of the The Old Massett Village Council, a band government of the Haida people.