Pro-Oil Side a No-Show at Business Community Pipeline, Tanker Discussion


Read this story from the Vancouver Observer on a meeting hosted this week by the Board of Change – a Vancouver-based group of progressive businesspeople concerned about environmental issues – to discuss the pros and cons of new oil pipelines and coastal tankers in BC. (May 25, 2012)

A collection of business-minded Vancouverites gathered at the SAP building in Yaletown Thursday evening, hoping for a lively—and perhaps heated—debate about the merits of pipeline and tankers on the BC coast.

There was just one small problem: almost everybody in the room was on the same side.

The evening’s panel discussion was hosted by the Vancouver Board of Change, a network of local businesses, nonprofits, and students dedicated to the pursuit of both money and meaning. Panelists included outspoken political commentator Rafe Mair; ecologist and author Rex Weyler; and Art Steritt, Executive Director of the Coastal First Nations.

Organizers said they requested the participation of several different companies and individuals to speak to some of the “pro-pipeline” arguments, during a discussion focused on BC’s two major project proposals (the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline to Kitimat, and Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion terminating in Vancouver).

Unfortunately, not one of the people or groups they asked actually agreed to take part.

“We asked 15 or 16 organizations and people on the pro side, and nobody said yes,” explained Board of Change director Monika Marcovici.

For a while, the Board was hopeful that North Vancouver blogger Vivian Krause would attend to share her views on the pipeline and politics. But in the end, Krause said she couldn’t make it.

“Everyone has an excuse,” Marcovici said.

In an effort to balance the scales, moderator Robb Lucy introduced the idea of having audience members don their oil industry hats to ask some tough questions, since all three panelists shared the same “no pipeline, no tankers” perspective. Many of the people in the audience were Board of Change members, and organizers hoped this event would help clarify the issues so that the group would feel comfortable taking an official position.