NDP, Green candidates oppose Woodfibre LNG outright; Liberal and Tory are different story

NDP, Green candidates oppose Woodfibre LNG outright; Liberal and Tory are different story

NDP, Green candidates oppose Woodfibre LNG outright; Liberal and Tory are different story
Green candidate Ken Melamed doesn’t see a future for Woodfibre LNG (facebook/Mitch Stookey)

Local NDP and Green candidates are steadfastly opposed to the Woodfibre LNG project near Squamish, reveals a recent series of one-on-one interviews.

Meanwhile, the Liberal candidate for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, is on the fence, while Tory incumbent John Weston remains predictably supportive of the controversial project.

According to the survey (see full results here), conducted by Propeller Strategy – a non-profit group with a focus on environmental and public interest issues in BC – former West Vancouver Mayor Goldsmith-Jones has “four conditions that would need to be in place before Woodfibre LNG could be properly reviewed.”

[quote]The criteria included a marine strategy, a climate strategy, genuine consultation and most importantly an audit is needed of the new environmental laws resulting from changes made by the Conservative government.[/quote]

Little has changed for Weston, who attacked West Vancouver council last summer for passing a resolution to ban LNG tankers in Howe Sound. Municipal leaders there joined other Sunshine Coast and Howe Sound councils opposed to the plan.

But for NDP candidate Larry Koopman and the Greens’ Ken Melamed, a former Whistler Mayor, the answer is a hard “No”, as Woodfibre clearly lacks the social licence required to proceed.

Woodfibre wrong for many reasons

Woodfibre LNG would see large tankers travelling up Howe Sound (Eoin Finn)

According to a media release from Propeller Strategy, the “LNG export industry is not appropriate for BC,” says Melamed, nor is it “consistent with the values of Canadians and a strong economic policy.”

Propeller conducted a similar survey of municipal candidates throughout the region before last year’s election, which revealed that a staggering 94% of respondents were opposed to Woodfibre. Those indications were borne out post-election, as Squamish took a harder tack with Woodfibre, denying permits to build an expanded pipeline connected to the project through the Squamish estuary.

Woodfibre faces a wide range of concerns – including the danger of running tankers up the narrow, heavily-populated Howe Sound, ecological impacts from the plant and the fracking in northeast BC that would be required to supply Woodfibre with its gas, and questions about the project’s owner, Indonesian billionaire Sukanto Tanoto.

Propeller’s Stan Proboszcz, who carried out the interviews with several constituents in attendance, commented, “Important local issues are often absent from federal election campaigns.”

[quote]Woodfibre LNG will put the local economy, environment and citizen safety at risk, and voters deserve clear positions from all candidates on this issue before the election.[/quote]


About 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.

20 thoughts on “NDP, Green candidates oppose Woodfibre LNG outright; Liberal and Tory are different story

  1. This article is indicative of the Liberal party belonging to the same owners as the Conservative. Justin Trudeau has voted in lockstep with Stephen Harper on every issue that has gutted our democracy. He does not walk his talk. He says one thing and votes another way. PLEASE check his voting record – he is not a Liberal.

  2. Something that seems to be overlooked is that it is not just whether LNG or pipelines etc are a good idea or not. There is also the factor that I do not want to live in an industrial wasteland. There are other ways of making money.

  3. Good points have been made in these comments. Larry Koopman cannot do much if he is bucking his party and its leader, Tom Mulcair. Ken Melamed and the Greens are very clear on their opposition to Woodfibre, LNG and pipelines.

    The larger issue for me is that we should be reducing our reliance on fossil fuels for both energy and our economy and strengthening the transition to cleaner energy and the new economy. Canada is well positioned to take a lead on this, but we seem to continue to let the opportunity slip away to others as we argue about pipelines and LNG.

  4. Canada has no standards for evaluating marine transportation of LNG. This fact alone should have put a big ‘hold’ on this project. It is evolving completely ad hoc. Take a look at the proposed storage system…a couple of re-purposed lng vessels! Certainly the economics are suspect as well….Russian gas will be cheaper and more accessible.

  5. I understand Mr Mulcair is all for the LNG in Howe Sound, and Larry Koopman is against it {How is that going to pan out?}

  6. Ken Melamed and the Green Party have opposed the LNG tankers consistently and unequivocally. They are the only ones with a clear vision for sustainable economic health and viable energy alternative. Larry does not have NDP party support for his personal opposition to these tankers on our coastline.

  7. The thing that I’m aware of is that no matter where Larry and Pamela personally stand, they will very likely be told (by Mulcair and Trudeau) how to vote on the issue. Mulcair is fully behind LNG. Who knows where Trudeau stands on most issues, but I suspect he has corporate supporters who will bring him to support LNG and pipelines on BC’s Coast.

    The Green Party is the ONLY party that opposes pipelines, tankers and LNG. Cost benefit is just not there – the number of jobs and income LNG could bring in, as opposed to the potential risk and tourism dollars we would lose if the worst were to happen.

    This is a very important issue for me. I live on the coast and I walk Ambleside Park almost every day. I’ve seen the results from the 2,700 gallons of bunker fuel that was spilled 04/15. I didn’t see much in April, but in June and July black greasy sludge started washing ashore. The Vancouver Aquarium paid $183,000 to have it analyzed – NOT our governments (Federal Conservatives or Provincial Liberal) and the sludge that has been washing up on several beaches was definitively linked to the spill: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/oil-spill-in-english-bay-reached-several-vancouver-beaches-scientists-say-1.3158593.

    1. I’m as incensed as anyone about this catastrophe, but to be fair, its ‘alleged’ to be 2,700 litres (how they can tell is beyond me), not 2,700 gallons, which could be at much as 12,000 liters, depending on which gallons (U.S. or Imperial) you use.

      1. Yes, thanks John!
        The spill was 2,700 Liters NOT Gallons.
        I looked it up an it seems they usually measure most oil tanker spills in Tonnes not Gallons: http://www.itopf.com/knowledge-resources/data-statistics/statistics/
        “For historical reasons, spills are generally categorized by size, 700 tonnes…. Information is now held on nearly 10,000 incidents, the vast majority of which (81%) fall into the smallest category i.e. <7 tonnes."

        So, the smallest category is under 7 Tonnes. The oil spill in English bay was 2,700 Liters, which equals 713 Gallons. This means our oil spill in English Bay was considered VERY small on the spectrum of oil spills, but there was still a visible impact.

  8. The only true opposition to LNG project at Woodfibre is Ken Melamed, Green Party. It is doubtful Larry Koopman will oppose it if elected MP when Mulcair fully supports it. It could be a disaster on so many levels. I have lived at the mouth of Howe Sound and in the last five years have seen first the herring, then otters, octopus, salmon, osprey, even irmine come back. Even visits from humpback whales. It would be so very sad if we lost all this to an oil spill.

    1. You might want to check the NDP platform on these issues. I am sure I have heard and read that Mulcair came out against wood fibre/LNG unilaterally. Nathan Cullen, NDP is a passionate environmentalist and I cannot imagine him sitting still or a number of others as silenced back benchers – it ain’t gonna happen. We have Elizabeth May as the MP in our riding and she is wonderful as well and working with the Provincial NDP rep to push our faux Liberal party in BC to do the right thing. Also the NDP in Alberta published their new budget and there are 0 dollars in it for tar sands, or oil companies…they are definitely moving in better direction there. I would suggest that you take the questions directly to Mulcair on FB or email, whatever. I am more concerned about people voting Liberal who will seriously split the vote, and Justin Trudeau has voted in lockstep with Harper on every major issue…so much so there is more of a likelihood of a coalition between the two. Serioously – it is scary.

  9. Harper’s government fought against LNG tankers passing through New Brunswick’s Head Harbour passage because of “serious environmental,navigational and safety risks.” but there seems to be no government concern over tankers plying the narrow passage of Howe Sound dotted with its populated islands and coastal communities.
    This is just not good enough!
    Larry Koopman, I believe, is sincere in his objection to LNG but Mulcair supports it so should Larry win this riding, he will find that he will have NO VOICE at all in Ottawa. The NDP is the most whipped party there is. It’s true! Worse than the Conservatives!
    The only voice that will count is Ken Melamed’s. He has spoken out strongly against fracking and LNG all along and is never going to waver. His leader Elizabeth May is also adamantly opposed to all these damaging, dangerous and unnecessary practices. For the protection of Howe Sound and the waters all around our coast we only have ONE option and that is The Green Party with Ken Melamed

  10. That’s great that Larry Koopman is taking this position. It’s too bad his leader, Tom Mulcair, is fully behind fracking and LNG plants in BC. Larry will be forced to vote along party lines in parliament. So, sadly, his words are just words with no weight behind them.

    If we want a true advocate for a safe, clean place to live, we need to vote Green this time. Not only will Ken Melamed be allowed to vote his conscience on every issue, but his party is openly against LNG and will fight hard on our behalf to stop this project, AND he is polling a close second to John Weston right now–so he’s our best strategic bet for unseating the Tories in this riding.

    Great article, by the way. One of the best I’ve seen on the heated LNG debate in this riding.

  11. Woodfibre LNG would bring few construction jobs to locals – 39 jobs/year for Squamish and Whistler according to WF’s EA. Many of the jobs would go to overseas folk. Yes, 100 high skilled long term jobs. Wonder how many locals have this training – lots I hope – if WF happens.

    There are 2 Woodfibre co’s: Woodfibre Canada and Woodfibre Singapore. WF Singapore would sell the LNG, so no taxes to Canada from that. BC has set their taxes so low, and taxes are on NET profits), that it will be years before any tax $ comes to BC.

    All profits will go overseas.

    The planned cooling system, banned in California and NY, would kill lots of fish in recovering Howe Sound. WF calls its system “world class”; once through cooling may have deserved that label in the 1960’s but not in 2015. Several better systems now available, which WF is avoiding.

    The Environmental Assessment only contains info from Woodfibre and cos they hire. The government staffing has been reduced so much that no research is done by govt departments. The EA contains what WF tells BCEAO. So unfortunately today’s EAs are not “through science based assessments”, as you read in the newspaper.

    1. Hi Laurie,
      That is a very valid comment. While attending one of those EA meetings in Squamish-you know, the EA “public input” variety which are aimed at making the stakeholders believe that they actually have in-put when they really know they don’t have any, I asked a representative from Fortis,”How many local jobs will the LNG plant actually supply?”. His response was “None.” How I wish I had had a witness to that conversation.

  12. Potentially, explosive LNG tankers and LNG terminals have to be kept away from populated areas. Many people could be killed. The LNG tanker transit route through the Haro Strait is too close to Victoria.

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