Desperate people do desperate things.
Today I want to talk about Resource Works, the shills for Woodfibre LNG, proposed for Squamish at the head of Howe Sound – BC’s beautiful and southernmost fjord.
I’m part of a large group opposed to this plant. Let me, however, make this abundantly clear: Our opposition, contrary to what you may read and hear in the media, has nothing to do with NIMBYism. Our concern is LNG tanker traffic which, if allowed in Howe Sound, would be in direct contravention of minimum exclusion zone requirements and other safety operating criteria as generally recognized worldwide and by the law in the United States.
Pushing the limit
These danger zones have been superimposed on the chart of Howe Sound to the right (click on the chart to see in greater detail).
You can see from this chart why residents are extremely upset and why every municipal council in West Vancouver, Sea-To-Sky, Squamish and the Sunshine Coast have passed resolutions against the development of Woodfibre LNG.
Resource Works presents itself as independent and only desirous of establishing a fair dialogue. This rubbish demonstrates their credibility deficit which will become clear.
For, if you read their Mission Statement, you’ll see a petition next to it under the title “BC NEEDS LNG”, asking you to sign. There is no need to elaborate – this outfit has made no secret of the fact that it supports the WLNG plant fully and opposes our group.
On that last point, they allege that our organization of homeowners and residents, which raises its meagre funds through fundraisers in local community halls, is well-funded while they, in fact, have the entire business community the British Columbia behind them. We’re not complaining – those odds are perfect as far as we are concerned.
Making it up as they go
To the meat of the matter – Resource Works lies, cheats and dissembles without batting an eyelash. I don’t accuse any particular person, however obviously somebody in Resource Works is making these things up and doing these unethical and, indeed, unlawful things. My case…so far.
A few weeks ago, in an article here unchallenged by Resource Works, I demonstrated that they had faked a TV interview with an American expert on tanker traffic, Dr. Michael Hightower of Sandia Laboritories in New Mexico, and had him saying precisely the opposite of what he had in fact concluded. At least Resource Works were embarrassed enough to quickly withdraw that from their propaganda when they were caught out but the fact remains that this was done and proved to be done – something you wouldn’t think even stocks and bonds salesmen would do.
At the same time, in a report found on their website, Resource Works quoted a judge as extolling the virtues of BC laws relative to Natural Gas, whereas Justice Fitzpatrick had said nothing of the sort and had gone out of her way to say that she was not commenting upon this matter. A glance at the judgment, which is easily available, will demonstrate that.
Now we have a new wrinkle and let me tell you how I discovered it.
Quite by accident, I went to their list of Partners on Resource Works’ website and saw that the Jack Webster Foundation was listed as one.
I could not believe my eyes! I have a strong relationship with that foundation, having received their highest honour, the Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award. Moreover, Jack Webster arranged for me to go into radio in the first place back in 1980 and was my mentor. There is no way on God’s earth that Jack would have taken sides in a dispute like this, let alone on the side of big industry, against the “little people” he always went to bat for.
I immediately wrote to the Foundation expressing my dismay that it would get in the midst of a controversy in our community, only to find out by return mail that they knew nothing about it!
Resource Works, without any discussion, much less permission from the Webster Foundation, included them as a partner and forged* their logo on top of the statement!
The Webster Foundation, which prides itself on independence and support of journalism without political or other affiliation, was horrified at what had happened and demanded that their name be removed forthwith.
I then wrote three or four other Partners and within the hour got a reply from the head of the nationally well-known Macdonald-Laurier Institute, stating bluntly that they had never heard of their being a Partner of Resource Works! This was news, and not welcome news to them! Moreover, they avoid controversies of this sort like the plague.
Apparently, one of their experts had given Resource Works some paid advice somewhere along the line from which Resource Works concluded that made Macdonald-Laurier a Partner! Again they forged* the Macdonald-Laurier Institute’s logo on their Mission Statement. (I’m waiting for three other replies, two of them very small outfits but one of the BC Institute of Technology and I would be surprised indeed if the same results were not forthcoming.)
I have to wonder if the former Attorney General Bud Smith knows anything about this? What about former AG Geoff Plant? How about former Premier Dan Miller? What about the BC Business Council and their well known President and CEO, Greg D’Avignon? They’re helping finance this bunch – does Mr D’Avignon know about these shenanigans?
What about premier Christy Clark who has, or at least at the time of its inception, had close personal relations with the management of Resource Works?
Our group fully expects that WLNG will make its case as strongly as possible and we understand the right of Resource Works to support them with all of the resources at their command.
What we don’t expect is that we will have to face constant falsehoods, dissembling, and, indeed, chicanery in building a list of partners.
How can we trust them?
Surely what this does is call into question their entire campaign! For, if Resource Works can’t be honest in their basic presentation of themselves and of what they are doing, how can we trust a word they ever say?
The truth is not in them. Resource Works real partner, Woodfibre LNG’s president, Anthony Gelotti, has had an op-ed published in the Province (another Resource Works “partner”!) alleging that tanker traffic is safe as proved by records going back many years.
This is the sort of distortion we have come to expect. In fact it is the constant mantra of Byng Giraud, WLNG Vice-President. The statistics they use relate to tanker traffic on the high seas, not in harbours, fjords and rivers! One only has to read GCaptain each day to see how many large tankers, including LNG tankers, are colliding, running aground, and hitting things in waters similar to the Fraser River and Howe Sound almost on a daily basis. The Bosphorus, not unlike Howe Sound, is a particular problem.
While we’re concerned that the tanker traffic be safe everywhere, our principal concern is with Howe Sound, the Fraser River and with many others including Vancouver Harbour, the Salish Sea, the Straits of Juan De Fuca and the BC coast in general. Statistically, there must be accidents – we don’t want them to happen in these waters, bringing inevitable tragedies.
*The Criminal Code of Canada defines Forgery as:
(2) Making a false document includes
(a) altering a genuine document in any material part;
(b) making a material addition to a genuine document or adding to it a false date, attestation, seal or other thing that is material; or
(c) making a material alteration in a genuine document by erasure, obliteration, removal or in any other way.