This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: Pipeline puts B.C.’s lucrative green tourism industry at risk

The last column of 2013… where did the year go?

It’s been nearly a year since I started my weekly column with 24Hrs Vancouver and it’s been an honour to have access to an audience of over two hundred thousand readers every Monday! While the number of readers to my site has been growing exponentially over the last two years, it’s increased even more thanks to the 24Hrs exposure.

And that my friends, is good for all of us. 🙂

This week, Brent and I take a look at whether or not the National Energy Board made the right decision with regards to the Enbridge pipeline.

I say no, he says yes, but be sure to read his column before you vote and comment!

The winner of last week’s duel on Canada Post was Brent with 58%.

This week’s topic:

Did the National Energy Board make the right decision in recommending Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project for approval?

The federal Joint Review Panel has given the green light to Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project with 209 conditions. This means the project moves to the next step to face federal cabinet approval, something that could take up to six months to happen.

In making this recommendation for approval, the panel has effectively set the stage for what some are already calling “Battleground B.C.” — and for good reason. Despite the recommendation of the review panel, the project has a long way to go to come to fruition, and will end up being one of the biggest social-environmental battles this country has ever seen.

Read Brent Stafford’s column

The project is still opposed by several First Nations communities along the coast, and it has not been demonstrated that the province would reap any significant long-term economic benefits in exchange for taking on the considerable risks involved.

Many First Nations in B.C. have said they will continue the fight in the courts, no doubt with communities along the route, environmentalists and every British Columbian who values our pristine lands and water.

I’m not generally opposed to pipelines — enough already criss-cross B.C. to bring us the resources we need to fuel our vehicles, heat our homes and operate our businesses. It’s a fact of life. The Enbridge project isn’t any of the above. First, it crosses some of the roughest terrain in the country, inaccessible by road, and it sends bitumen overseas to be refined elsewhere — losing out on Canadian jobs — via some of the roughest marine passages in the world. Try cleaning that up without adequate resources.

Second, B.C. produces some of the best seafood in the world, and has a world-class coastal tourism industry. Risking any of this is not an option this province can afford. Why? Watch the documentary Black Wave: The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez for an eye-opener. Black goo on beaches isn’t marketable, and neither are dead marine animals and fish. Bitumen can’t be handled like oil and human performance in response to a spill is an unknown variable.

Without a doubt, the decision reached by the Joint Review Panel wasn’t surprising to anyone who has followed this project since it was announced — but it was still the wrong one for British Columbia, even if every condition is filled.

Say no to the Northern Gateway pipeline. Say yes to B.C.’s future.

Read, comment and vote at

2 thoughts on “This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: Pipeline puts B.C.’s lucrative green tourism industry at risk

  1. Excellent article Laila. And not only is the piping of bitumen from alberta to the coast endangering the green tourism industry but on a grander scale when you step back and look at the dirty toxic coal from the usa that has made Vancouver the largest coal export terminal in NA, surpassing Norfolk Virginia, the Kinder Morgan scam that will put something like 600 tankers a year in burrard inlet and the development of the South Fraser as the major industrial hub for Port Metro Vancouver you can see that the BC of the future is going to be very different. In my opinion, Greed and Power has destroyed Alberta and now it is about to destroy BC.

    I am increasingly concerned about how non-elected and non-accountable organizations like PMV are shaping the future of MV and the future of BC. Some days I wonder why we have any local government at all. It appears that all of the decision are being handed down from Ottawa to their colonial representative on the coast to jam down the throats of the populace no matter how foreign they are to our wishes and our culture.

    In addition the hypocrisy of the political class is sickening. Just as an example, in White Rock the future of our community is being threatened by a proposal that would see 18 coal trains a day, each of which is 130 to 150 cars longs travel through our community, poisoning the people with deadly carcinogens and toxic heavy metals. The beach in WR is in jeopardy of being poisoned from the likes of arsenic, lead and cadmium and yet the local politicians including the mayor of white rock who is personally invested in coal in Mongolia and Alabama and who owns shares in the largest producer of thermal coal in western Canada sits by and allows it to happen. Is it any wonder that the response to the threat that coal bring to the future of White Rock can only be described as mellow at best. Pretty hard to own coal operations and oppose the shipment of coal at the same time isn’t it? It isn’t any different for our MLA Hogg whose financial disclosure documents reveal an investment in one of the nastiest Thermal Coal operations in the Pacific Northwest, just to the south of us in Centralia Washington. Annually, this coal plant emits 350 pounds of mercury pollution, making it the state’s largest single source of mercury pollution. Mercury pollution is a bio cumulative neuro-toxin which causes brain damage in humans and is especially dangerous for children and pregnant or nursing mothers. What amazes me personally is that neither of these politicians see any shame in these investments that are contributing to the melting of the planet and the poisoning of people. In fact, both of them openly declare their ownership in these operations on their Financial Disclosure documents. And these are only two examples of our local politicians who say one thing and do another. Wonder why no politicians are standing up and fighting for the citizens of White Rock as they face this threat from carcinogenic coal that is laced with all kinds of toxic heavy metals? Well there you go. Now you know.

    So when I sit back and see the factors of the re-colonization of BC with this province being increasingly shaped from elsewhere through proxy boards that are packed with political appointees and the hypocrisy of the politicians and I have no doubt that unchecked the future of BC a decade from now will not be a healthy green. In my opinion it will be a dirty, monied green for a few but for most of us BC with all of its bitumen pipes, tar sand tankers, and carcinogenic coal will be a very different place. And that is exactly why, if you believe as I do that BC could be and should be the best place in the world, then all of us need to step up, speak our truths and stand tall to ensure that the continuation of these crimes is stopped.


  2. Well said Ross.
    Your anger, and your disappointment in (politicians) and the greedy, is palpable. As well it should be.
    Our political members, and anything stemming from or controlled by these thieving, lying, having “investments” in the very things their constituents don’t want, is beyond absurd and seriously needs immediate addressing.
    Why are these people (our “politicians” who have links to private “for profit” enterprises that go against their constituents wishes) allowed to keep “serving” when it’s very obvious there is a massive conflict of interest? (Railgate Christy following u Laila? I hope so)

    In the six degrees of separation, it would be hard to find ANY politician these days who ISN’T connected to some multi-billion dollar profit organization, and that’s probably a low-ball figure as it’s probably closer to 2 degrees of separation once you’re “IN’ the political sphere.

    So, how do we stop this? How do we pick leaders who are intelligent and have experience, but who aren’t swayed by fistfuls of money (or lucrative job positions for when they are “outed”) shoved at them to OK this project or that?
    How do we find “wealthy leaders” who still have integrity and a connection to the environmental sustainability that is required and needed (the ones not yet gutted by Harper and his band of thieves) and the wishes of constituents in today’s politics? How do we keep people from becoming “greedy” for “more” instead of just doing their job and being happy they have a good paycheck and perks?
    It seems it’s never enough for these greedy bastards, and their NEB puppet masters who direct the PMO.
    If we don’t have a political party left standing that has any integrity (I can only think of the Greens at this point) what the hell are we doing? Just going through the same-old, same-old motions, the same issues with some new names and mostly old degenerates who I wouldn’t trust to clean my house, yet we give them hundreds of billions to play with yearly? Seriously, what the hell are we thinking? Who are the real fools?

    I guess, from watching and listening and talking, this isn’t a problem that will go away anytime soon, as Canadians in general are too flaccid (yes, flaccid) to get off their ever-widening asses and protest inequality, tyranny and oppression, with integrity and “force”.
    We “want” in this country, but few are willing to give up whatever “comforts” they think they have, to risk change that will bring us what we truly need. Our populace has gotten too complacent and doesn’t want change.. well, any real change so long as it doesn’t affect (or only if it improves) one’s financial standing in a world that values this (incorrectly) above all other “qualities”.

    I’m glad I got to see the world (a 60’s baby) before it totally went to hell. Maybe that’s why I’m so mad, because I know what we’ve lost, are losing, and how what we are told by these master manipulators that we are “gaining”, in no way replaces or improves this.

    Merry Christmas, and let’s hope people smarten up in 2014.
    I ain’t holding my breath though……



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