Letter: Pipeline politics undermine Canada’s democracy

Unfortunately, I have also seen what appears to be an erosion of democracy in Canada.

To the editor:

For the last two years, I have been intensely following the review process and the wave of opposition to Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, which would extend from Alberta to Kitimat, B.C.

Unfortunately, I have also seen what appears to be an erosion of democracy in Canada. During this time, we have seen the federal majority Conservative government gut Canada’s environmental laws through omnibus bills and streamline the review process for future major resource projects all in what would appear to be an attempt to roll out these projects regardless of the risks and objections.

Our supposed leaders are risking turning Canada into a ‘petro-state’ that seems to value short-term economic gain from fossil fuels over long-term environmental and economic sustainability.

On Dec. 19, 2013, the review process for Northern Gateway wrapped up with the panel releasing their decision. They recommended approval for the project despite massive opposition. However, if Enbridge wishes to proceed with this project, they must meet 209 conditions set out by the review panel, for the federal government’s consideration.

What I find really disturbing is that, according to the David Suzuki Foundation, 1,161 people voiced their opinion on the proposed pipeline, with 1,159 against and two in favour of the pipeline.

If the panel valued the opinion of the two people in favour over the 1,159 opposed, could someone explain to me how this process could possibly be considered to be fair and objective? The panel said they focused on the science in their decision. Did they look at legitimate science regarding the impacts of bitumen spills on First Nations communities, wildlife and the general environment, or was it science geared to be more ‘pipeline friendly’?  Were these hearings truly impartial?

Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t have any pipelines anywhere provided the proper safety measures are in place. However, the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and related tanker traffic puts at risk a highly sensitive ecological region—B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest. This temperate rainforest is home to First Nations who are steadfast in their opposition to Enbridge, as well as spectacular wildlife, including the rare white kermode or ‘Spirit Bear,’ which happens to be B.C.’s official mammal.

Enbridge’s track record doesn’t inspire me with confidence. Enbridge has had more than 800 spills since 1999. In 2010, an Enbridge pipeline ruptured in Michigan’s Kalamazoo River causing the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history. Over three years later, Enbridge has yet to properly deal with the mess made by their ruptured pipeline.

B.C.’s Premier Clark says she has five conditions that must be met to support the project. Given Enbridge’s history and the massive opposition, why doesn’t she just say, plain and simply, “no” under any circumstances? The risks are simply too high.

It’s time that we in Canada stop letting pipeline politics undermine our democracy, as well as threaten our environment and our own wellbeing, now and into the future.

James MacGregor,

Kelowna

 

Kelowna Capital News

Just Posted

The RCMP presence in Central Okanagan public schools is being reviewed by the board of education. (File photo)
RCMP presence welcomed in Central Okanagan public schools

Staff survey feedback overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents

The administrative headquarters for the Central Okanagan Public Schools. (File photo)
COVID-19 exposures confirmed at 2 Central Okanagan Schools

The infected individuals are self-isolating at home

Farming Karma is set to release a line of fruit vodka sodas soon. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna fruit growers expanding line of beverages

Farming Karma is expanding from fruit sodas to fruit vodka sodas

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Jane Linden
KCR: Volunteering keeps you active

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read