I have long been in opposition to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. This pipeline would carry bitumen and condensate, which is a chemical dilutent, between the Alberta Tar Sands and Kitimat, on B.C.’s northwest coast. These substances would be transported to and from Kitimat on supertankers, through some of the most dangerous coastal waters on earth. B.C., a mere doormat for this project, would shoulder all of the risk and realize virtually no benefit.
Why, you might ask, should Revelstoke residents care about this proposed pipeline? I was recently asked this question by our MP, David Wilks, who wanted to know how I thought the pipeline would affect us directly. If the detriment to our economy, the great potential for ecological disaster, or the increase in greenhouse gas production aren’t sufficient cause for conern, then I would argue that with Bill C-38, the Budget Implementation Bill which is currently before the House and Senate, the Conservative Government just made the pipeline very personal for most everyone in Canada, including Revelstoke. This bill, ostensibly about budget implementation, is loaded full of amendments to environmental laws; it waters down the Federal Fisheries Act and the Environmental Assessment Act, exempts pipelines and other energy projects from conditions under the Species at Risk Act and the Navigable Waters act, limits environmental assessments under the National Energy Board to two years, and astonishingly, gives Cabinet the power to override any environmental assessment decision it sees fit, retroactive to 2010. The list goes on.
These changes are an undemocratic and desperate attempt to pave the way for the Enbridge Pipeline, and as a consequence, we will have to live with this watered down legislation and hope that somehow we can find the teeth to protect our own natural habitat and resources when the time next comes. First though, we have to work to defeat, split, or make drastic changes to Bill C-38. If people have solutions to problems they see in this Bill, they should please send them to our MP, David Wilks. He wants to hear them. Better yet, they should ask him to vote against it.