Transport Canada’s Clearing of Enbridge Ignores the Facts


What an interesting pair of stories – on the one hand Transport Canada has said that tanker traffic is safe on our pristine west coast while another tells of Enbridge repairing its faulty pipeline that resulted in yet another spill for the company this past May in the Northwest Territories.
We are being subjected to an Orwellian barrage of bullshit.

What I’m saying re the pipelines and tankers is true – the dangers of this horrific Northern Gateway are absolute. They are mathematically inevitable.
This is not some hyperbole but absolute fact matched I might say by Environment Canada’s own documents which predict periodic oil spills from tankers with one “major spill every 15 years”.
I wonder of Environment Canada has ever met with Transport Canada.
If you scan Enbridge’s documents you will see reams and reams of stuff on how to deal with spills and nary a suggestion that they can be avoided.
It’s interesting to note how the PR flacks have got people changing “Tar Sands” to “Oil Sands”, which this gunk clearly is not.
The federal government, with backing from Victoria, is now embarked on a careful policy of propaganda and bribes. They want us, the public, to accept the inevitability of the pipelines and tankers. The propaganda will be flying. Evermore bribes will flow to First Nations, communities and lower level governments. BC citizens of all stripes will be tempted with prospects of jobs (about 560, mostly in Calgary – with fewer than 40 permanent ones in BC). The construction jobs will mostly be done by expert teams with lower income, short term jobs to locals.
As the huge campaign gets going and you are bombarded with crap, please remember this – it is inevitable that there will be leaks and spills and the consequences to our land and oceans catastrophic…And remember, no one is going to stop the pipelines and tankers after a disaster – they will continue to run as if nothing had happened!
When these catastrophes happen, and you have supported them either actively or by your silence, please then look your kids and grandkids in the eye and say, “I didn’t care enough to fight the bastards.”


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

10 thoughts on “Transport Canada’s Clearing of Enbridge Ignores the Facts

  1. We did have a BC Ferry go aground in the same area as these super tankers would try to navigate. How many tankers spilled oil in the Alaskan waters before the Exxon Valdez?
    One oil spill will be devastating and it won’t make a bit of difference what the history of tanker traffic has been! There will be bloodshed should Harper, Redford and Dix approve this pipeline and tanker foolishness. Anyone who supports this project, especially Enbridge brass and politicians should have to clean up the spill with their own sweat and money. I want to see them there, as in purgatory, for as long as it takes (i.e. forever) to clean up the mess.
    Greg Shea (Lake Cowichan)

  2. Rafe how about telling us how many reportable tanker accidents in BC waters in the roughly 100 years of their operations here? (zero, other than one canola oil spill). Or in 60 years of shipping oil out of Vancouver Harbour (also zero). How about telling us how Vancouver Island, Haida Gwai and dozens of ports still get fuel for heat and fishing boats (push tankers). This does not guarntee no future accidents especially with larger ships, but unlike much of our history, modern tankers have double hulls, GPS, radar, tethered tugs in tough areas, and so on. A little more truth and perspective would be appreciated – from both sides.

  3. I’ve been spending a few hours a day trying to spread the truth about this ill-conceived pipeline on media sites all over the country. Big Oil has its shills everywhere repeating lies. You’re right, Rafe, this is war.

  4. Once again we are being deceived by the powers that be. My favorite line in the Transport Canada paper is as follows: “demonstrates that the unmitigated risk for Northern Gateway oil tankers would be the same as, or less than the world averages for similar oil tanker and terminal operation in similar waters and conditions6”. This begs two questions:
    #1 – Where did they find similar waters and conditions that are handling this type of ship and cargo?
    #2 – Is this simply risk of a spill, or an assessment of the potential damage of a spill?
    Remember there is a remarkable difference between a 50% chance of stubbing your toe and a .01% chance of destroying the world. Yet by the government’s logic, you are more concerned with saving your toe than saving the world.

  5. What is truly ironic is the fact that young voters, who don’t vote, won’t go to war to defend this harper govt. “the Harper Government” has no army. As descendants of real Canadian war heroes, we will not defend a govt whose own kin are nothing more than volleyball playing cowards. Soft of the hand. There will be no men in the trenches, no martyrs, no sacrifice. Chairman Harper will profit, at Canada’s expense. Cut disability pensions for soldiers, who fought for Canada, not Harper. Buy jets to replace vets, stupid as it is. This is a free country, one worth dying for. Corporate slime whose children and generations to come will be smeared forever. Harper, a man of no integrity, no honour, no valour. A man whose soft hands will forever judge him. A person who stands no chance, in a dark alley. A loner who hates Canada, who has tricked the impressionable. We won’t forget you Stephen, nor your soft gut, your fat kid authored book of hockey or your inability to fight as we Canadians have and will do. Canada is ours, never will be yours. Hide all you want tubby, the truth will haunt your descendants.

  6. Having transited, fished and explored by small troller/fishing vessel in most of that area years ago I feel more than qualified to say any VLCC that tries to navigate in that area is just asking for disaster…. let alone the very heavy traffic that they are proposing.

    I’m frankly amazed there hasn’t been a cruise ship run aground up there yet.

    Thank you Rafe.

    Why can’t you run for office again? Why do politicians only grow brains after they have left politics?

  7. Hey, DOT is dealing with the second level of sin: We have “left undone those things we ought to have done”. At a political level, any reasonable Canadian knows there are risks with this; they have big spills going through the midwest–how can they not have spills going through BC?
    Therefore, a body which says all is ok loses whatever credibility it might have had before this absurd conclusion.

  8. We have to remember that the DOT is an arm of the government and as such, is not immune from the government wishes. The government says that the tankers are Ok and then the DOT just mimics the government stance. There has been no real thought or research done by DOT – government doesn’t want it.

    Or, they are nothing but a bunch of lying frauds – you decide. Either way, the government in this case, is the enemy (using their own words ).

    Guaranteed that the government doesn’t have any oil booms or related equipment, necessary to police and maintain several hundred of km’s of British Columbia pristine coast – northe expertise to deal with a major spill. Look how long it took to respond to the sinking of the BC Ferry – several days IIRC.

    The conservative federal government and the BC and Alberta government , just plain cannot be trusted.

    With the apparent “Election Corruption and Fraud” now being reported, this Canadian government needs to look at the damage they are doing to this country – nah, they are too stupid to do even that.

    Time to tell the government that the people of canada no longer believe them or their promises. An Orwellian society we have become.

  9. I guess Transport Canada spent 2 or 3 weeks on the analysis of the project, which i’m sure is lots of time to do a full independent risk assessment. Wonder if ANY risks were identified?

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