David Black - Photo by David Dyck, Canadian Press

Gordon Gibson, David Black, and the Fraser Institute got it wrong


Gordon Gibson used to be Liberal until he fell in with those proponents of consensual slavery, The Fraser Institute. While I find myself in great sorrow saying this, Gibson has become a all out capitalist suck.

Witness his article today on the op-ed page of the Globe and Mailas he talks about David Black’s idiotic plan to build a $13 billion oil refinery near Kitimat.

The Gibson I knew would never have allowed this Gibson to utter such tripe.

Gordon waxes lyrical about this “project”, uncritically accepting the numbers put out by Black’s flacks (neat little rhymer, don’t you think?)

Here’s paragraph 2:

The startling development is a proposal; for a $13 billion oil refinery… that would provide 6000 construction jobs for five years and 3000 direct jobs thereafter, as well as thousands of service soon-offs. Hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenues be generated annually. In effect, our resources would have value added here instead if China. No government could ignore that kind of opportunity”.

This is precisely what Black’s flacks said.

Gordon, had I made such a statement in the Legislature when you were a member of the opposition, you would have eaten me alive. You would have demanded to know what research developed these figures.

The thing that separates a journalist from a flack is the search for proof of statements made. You take these numbers as a given – what the hell has happened to you? Your column today should have been a paid advertisement for David Black.

You go on to say:

“On the environment side, there idea would vastly reduce concerns about tanker accidents. No longer would the floating behemoths be carrying heavy bitumen. Instead the cargo would be diesel, gasoline our jet fuel which evaporate quickly after a spill. Environmentalists should be overjoyed.

The Exxon Valdez didn’t carry bitumen.

As to environmentalists being overjoyed – let me explain things to you, Gordie.

I can only speak for myself though I believe that most of your despised environmentalists would agree on these points.

I’m not against development per se although like Jeff Rubin in his recent best seller The End Of Growth, I believe that we had better get rid of the notion that we must always develop or fall far behind. There are limits, this pipeline and tanker traffic being just that.

What I’m against is this entire exercise, on environmental grounds.

Pay attention, Gord:

1. Spills from the pipeline are not risks but certainties. Enbridge admits that.
2. Spills from tankers are inevitable – I know of no one whom would say different. And even diesel, gasoline and jet fuels do colossal damage, especially to fish, birds and other wildlife.
3. And here, take off your Fraser Institute dark glasses, for this is the crunch –
We are talking about 1100 kms. through two mountain ranges and the Great Bear Rain Forest – all areas unreachable by clean-up equipment. Even if they could be reached, the Kalamazoo horror teaches us that if nothing else, bitumen spills can not be cleaned except by cosmetic efforts like putting turf over the bitumen to make it look OK for awhile.

Moreover we’re talking about a company, Enbridge, that averages more than a spill per week. Moreover, because these spills cannot be cleaned up, we’re talking ongoing piling of one disaster upon another – a serial environmental crime.

Is it unreasonable to stand 100% against a project that will do this permanent damage – despite all efforts to avoid it and clean it up if they don’t?

The tendency is to demand compromise and mitigation (a despicable weasel word) but what is there to compromise? It’s rather like striking a happy balance between life and death.

As a piece of journalism your article is a piece of shit.

As an act of the Fraser Institute kissing the ass of environmental despoilers, it is a masterpiece worthy of being in the public relations hall of fame.

Erratum: Gordon Gibson is no longer associated with the Fraser Institute.


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.

7 thoughts on “Gordon Gibson, David Black, and the Fraser Institute got it wrong

  1. no matter there will be a pipeline. why not put it just the bc side of the border and sell the finished products….tanker trucks, trains or better yet get rid of the idea of tar sands bitumen as a product to sell. after all, it takes one barrel of energy to make two barrels of useable bitumen. oh yeah the natural gas…great idea, use all of the electricity to compress it and then sell it…..what an incredibly stupid idea. waste to create pollution. well gordon, why not pull your head out of your butt and turn back time to where you were honourable and honest not just a pro-capitalist hack!

  2. Absolutly right on Rafe; Working as a volunteer for the BC Wildlife Federation for 45+ years I have always found that Mitigation and Compensation is nothing more than a “lessening of punishment”. On the issue of the Embridge pipeline, I believe that it a proposal that is not environmentaly sound or safe and not in the interest of the citizens of BC, today and in the future. I should point out that I am speaking for myself as the BC Wildlife Federation has not come out yet with a position on the proposed project.

    Ed Mankelow Past President 1973-75

  3. I would say that about says it all. It is sad Gibson has taken this position but then people change as they age. Here you are a former Socred cabinet minister & supporting enviornmental issues to such an extent people would think you were a Green Party member. Gordon Gibson, well he went the other way.

    There really can’t be any pipeline through the Great Bear Forest, etc. We have only to remember the 3 mudslides a month or so ago. Then when you factor in forest fires, we have a problem. yes, a pipeline rupture & a forest fire. Now that would give film makers enough footage for all the armageden movies they ever wanted to make.

    Blacks “trial Balloon” is simply distracting people from the real issues, the sale/give away of B.C. Rail the impending same treatment of the BCLCB, the mess at Hydro, ICBC, & Ferries, & community living. People are talking about the tankers & pipeliens while B.C. continues to have the highest rate of child poverty in Canada for 8 yrs running & some of the dirtiest hospitals around.

  4. Sad Gordon Gibson used to be one of my favorite politicians but it would appear he has gone over to the dark side. I will put my flag at half-mast today.

  5. Thanks again Rafe. You may have noted that among other things Bill C-38 (the omnibus fascism bill) had the effect of removing responsibility for spills from all governments and corporations. Spills are henceforth designated “an act of God.” No one responsible at all for spills, cleanup, or anything else, except that God guy.

  6. I noticed several years back that Gordon Gibson was leaning to the right, right. Where he is at is the same as Harvey Oberfeld (getting real old and loving what they have). Gordon and Harvey have everything they need in life and that has affected their thinking. I would like to thank you Rafe for I believe that you have everything you need in life but still battle for the rights of our future.

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