Thursday, May 3, 2012

Today in the Legislature

I urge you to read through this material provided by Gary Coons, NDP Critic for B.C. Ferries and Coastal Communities:
In the bc legislature we asked questions about the spill in Gitga'at territory...I am away in 100 Mile Rob Fleming our envir critic led...

R. Fleming:
Two days ago the Gitga'at First Nations reported finding a bunker fuel slick over a wide area inside Grenville Channel near Hartley Bay. The slick emerged from the long-identified sunken wreck of the Zalinski, which has been leaking oil for over ten years. This isn't the only shipwreck leaking oil near the community of Hartley Bay. The sunken B.C. Ferries vessel Queen of the North continues to leak fuel, leaving the local community at risk of having their shellfish beds contaminated.

Ten years ago the federal government promised to clean up the Zalinski, just like the Liberal government has promised to clean up the Queen of the North, and neither has delivered on these promises.

My question is to the Minister of Environment. Does he understand why the people of Hartley Bay reject the idea of oil supertankers from the Enbridge northern gateway plying these very same waters when it's clear they can't even depend on their government or the federal government to properly respond to existing oil spills depend on their government or the federal government to properly respond to existing oil spills?

Hon. T. Lake:
Once again, the member opposite bases all of his conclusions on speculation rather than information. This is a vessel that went down in 1946. A plane flying over the area detected a sheen. The Canadian Coast Guard did a flyover and estimated that the amount of fuel on the surface of the water, despite the fact that it was very wide, was also very thin. A bit like the NDP fiscal policy, by the way.

The estimated total of that fuel is under one litre. No one knows at this point if it is coming from that sunken vessel or was a small spill by a passing vessel. We are following up with the Canadian Coast Guard. We will base our response on information, not speculation.

R. Fleming:
Once again, the Minister of Environment is caught off guard, unaware when the federal government….

R. Fleming:
When the federal government cancels the oil spill response centre on the Pacific coast, he doesn't even know about it. When the Coast Guard sends divers to the site today and issues a warning risk that the amount of fuel leaking right now is increasing, he has no idea that that's happening either.

Referring to the Enbridge project, Arnold Clifton, who is the Gitga'at's chief councillor, says: "They have got to clean up this mess before anyone thinks of sending anything else through our traditional territory." The federal government and the Coast Guard, the entire oil spill preparedness and response program has been independently audited and found to be in complete disarray, under-resourced and lacking capacity and coordination. Recent federal budget cuts are making the situation worse.
When is the Minister of the Environment and this government going to stop cheerleading the Enbridge northern gateway project and start cleaning up existing oil spills like the ones that are affecting Hartley Bay?
Hon. T. Lake:
I will again remind the member opposite that we base our positions based on evidence. We have not taken a position on the Enbridge gateway pipeline simply because the process is in the very early stages. But what we have said is that we will protect the interests of British Columbia. We will ensure that any proposal that comes to our shores comes with the world-class protection of our marine environment that people in British Columbia expect.

While I'm standing up, I would like to point out that the member yesterday misquoted the Premier when he was talking about support for the Northern gateway pipeline. The member has yet to stand up and correct the record — that the Premier was talking about the northern gateway transportation strategy. But again, let's not let the facts get in the way of an NDP story. That's the way that they make their decisions — based on speculation, not information.

R. Austin:
Sport fishing is a huge economic driver in the northwest. People come from all over the world to fish the Skeena and its tributaries. Jeremy Crosby, chairman of the Skeena Angling Guides Association and owner of Pioneer Fishing Lodge said this about the Enbridge northern gateway: "The northern gateway project involves huge environmental risks with minimal economic benefit."

Mr. Crosby's business depends on a clean environment and living fish. He knows that even a single spill would devastate his industry. Will the Liberals listen to concerned northwest businesses, drop their support of the Enbridge northern gateway pipeline and join with the official opposition in standing up for the interests of British Columbians?
Hon. T. Lake:
The question is: will we listen to the fishermen, the sport fishers in the northwest? Absolutely. We intend to listen to all British Columbians. We intend to follow and participate in this process in a thorough, knowledgable and robust fashion.

But that's not the way that the members opposite would like to do things. The Leader of the Opposition in Kamloops today, when commenting on a mine application said: "I think the problem is, you know, they applied about two years ago, and the government hasn't taken a position on this." So, in other words, the government is supposed to go out and take a position on every application before it goes through a robust, comprehensive, top-quality environmental assessment process. On the other side, they just decide ahead of time what should go forward and what should not go forward.

Over here, we base our decisions on evidence, and that's the way that we will continue to do it on this side of the House.
R. Austin:
I represent a region which has long played host to industrial development. As Kitsumkalem Chief Councillor Don Roberts told the joint review panel assessing the Enbridge northern gateway: "We are not saying no to industry, we are saying no to Enbridge crude oil."

We all know that B.C. will be carrying most of the risk on the Enbridge northern gateway with thousands of jobs in the sport fishing, commercial fishing and tourism industries being put on the line. Why are the B.C. Liberals supporting the Enbridge northern gateway when B.C. businesses, First Nations and communities are asking them to speak out to protect their interests?
Hon. T. Lake:
I'd like to quote the Leader of the Opposition in Kamloops again today when he said: "I think people expect you to look at the evidence."

Now, I know that on the other side of the House represented by the NDP, or the No Development Party, they make up their minds about any kind of proposal ahead of time.

Well, on this side of the House we look at the evidence. We wait for the process to be finished. We take part in the process in an informed thorough way, and then, we come to a position that will represent the true interests of all British Columbians. We'll continue to do that..

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  1. It cerainly seems both the federal and provincial governments have shown a pretty dismal performance on dealing with spills as has enbridge. To expect any better in the future would certainly be foolhardy.
    For this present Government to coose to wait for the findings of NEB to voice an opinion when it is clear all native and in fact most British Columbians are opposed simply shows that the wants of the people are irrelevent. The time to make Ottawa aware of our feelings is now.
    This government again shows how out of touch they are with the public. Forunately for us the timing is that they will in fact be gone when findings are released and will wish they had taken this opportunity to for once at least stand up.

  2. What a pathetic little man, Mr. Lake.

  3. Mr. Lake claims that their side looks at hard facts and evidence.

    Well, British Columbians and Canadians from other areas of the country do the same. We have the hard facts and ongoing evidence of the Exxon Valdez; still not cleaned up to this day.

    We have the evidence of the 1946 sinking, along with the ferry that went down, both incidents still polluting our waters and both levels of government demonstrating their inability or unwillingness to act on these matters.

  4. Dr. Terry Lake (?) - it sure seems that Mr. lake is well schooled in rhetoric answers - none of which make any sense to the question posed. Typical BC Liberal deflection and igorance - or maybe we should call it lack of grey matter.

    Doesn't anyone in the BC Liberal party or the Conservative party of Canada have enough common sense to realize what is happening and want to do something about. Alas, the answer is no - they are all too busy filling their own pockets and totally ignore the people that unfortunately, elected them to power.

    Sad days for sure, but the future is still somewhat an unknown entity and my money is on the fact that there will be huge reprocussions to the present government attitude - both federally and provincially.

    The NDP stand head and shoulders above the other parties - both federally and provincially. let the likes of Phil Hochstein scream and yell foul just like Gordon Campbell did, but it won't do them very much good.


  5. I agree with the above. The system has been hijacked, by self serving intrests. The use of subversion, at both provincial and federal levels to coverup self serving intrests, has gotten to the point, where the electorate risks becoming irrelevant. Corporate entities, are seeking control of the electoral process, by whatever means to push their agenda forward.

    This agenda, includes economic "serfdom" for workers, the sell off of public assets to private entities that are part of the corporate supporters, of the parties, and ultimately the sellout of the countries resources, to the highest bidders. Taxpayers will not have anything left, other than paying higher and higher costs, to maintain an ever dwindling infrastructure, and a political system that effectivly will be useless. With all the public assets in private hands, the government role would seem to be, to hold the electorate at bay, while their corporate friends, rake in the cash at the expense of taxpayers, who increasingly, will not be able to afford to pay.

    If you wanted to "destroy" a province or country, this form of "inside job", or "subversion from within", would be ideal. With no teeth left in government, and no possible way to ensure public asset's or their growth in value, for future generations, the "take over" would be complete. Democracy would have no real meaning. We would all be pawns in a "corporate run" province, or country for that matter. No say, no recourse, and ultimatley poorer as a population. The rich get rich, the poor get poorer. Your children have no future. Your tax dollars prop up corporations, not supporting the infrastructure or the "peoples wealth", and as individuals, we all go slowly bankrupt.

    Solutions? Stop the "mindset" of governments now. "Educate" the population, as quickly as possible. Allow more grass roots involvement, counter voter apathy to the extreme. "Reign in" governments that engage in this type of governance. Those that are "implicated" in this type of "political" subversion must be brought to task, by legal means. Prosecution, and incarceration of those involved, in "obvious" criminal activity within the system, must be a high priority. Justice must be seen to be done, especially in this case.

    Democracy, as practiced by the supporters, of "corporate kleptocracies" has no place in a modern society. It is ultimately "theft" of public resources, and theft of governance, that taxpayers have paid for since Confederation.
    Our system is under attack, by the enemy from within.

    The NDP may truly be our last, best bet, to stop the onset of the "rot" in our system, before we all lose.

  6. As we all now know. Harper has no ethics or morals, what-so-ever. Campbell and Harper pretty much dismantled and destroyed BC financially. Campbell betrayed his own people, by working for Harper. Campbell thieved and sold BC's assets and resources. Campbell also, lied and cheated to win two elections. Harper and Campbell have a very close relationship. Harper placed Conservative Boessenkool, in with the BC Liberals. Liberal Van Dongen, crossed over to the BC Conservatives. The BC Conservatives, support Harper, on the Enbridge pipeline. All of them are the one, and the same party....with Harper as their dictator.



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