"Tanker in Vancouver Harbour" by AverageJoe, on Flickr
"No amount of miniscule increases to safety, or a provincial policy paper that ultimately allows the Christy Clark government to approve the proposed [Enbridge] pipeline, provide any assurances that the land and waters will be protected." Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, News Release, July 23, 2012
There has been a lot of discussion amongst political parties in British Columbia regarding oil pipeline expansion from Alberta. I hope that British Columbians and their government come up with a solution that balances the needs of the economy with the long term needs of the environment. Recognizing the historical, economic and cultural claims to the land and water, government must address aboriginal concerns. The provincial government should engage in extensive dialogue with First Nations communities who are affected by these oil pipelines.
The two main parties, the BC Liberals and BC NDP should work on a common position in order to effectively represent the views of British Columbians. Simply stating, as the BC Liberal Party has done, that if the province receives sufficient royalties then the pipelines can proceed is odd as it does nothing to address the issue of safety. Most residents of British Columbia would agree with the idea that the province takes most of the risks of oil pipeline expansion to the coast yet receives little of the benefits. Increased royalties does not mitigate the risk in the least. The BC NDP also needs to articulate its position on increased oil tanker traffic along the Burrard Inlet and Salish Sea. As Canadians, we need to think of proposed oil pipelines through the legacy that we leave our children instead of concentrating on short term economic gain. We will not be able to fully remove bitumen from our shores once it has been spilled. We should therefore think carefully before proceeding with any plan that jeopardizes our collective future. A common position is needed now more then ever.