NEWS RELEASE · 5th September 2013
Green Party Canada
Green Party reveals over $100 million federal spending supporting Enbridge tanker plans
Today, Dr. Andrew Weaver, MLA (Oak Bay-Gordon Head) and Deputy Leader of the Green Party of British Columbia and Elizabeth May, MP (Saanich-Gulf Islands) and leader of the Green Party of Canada held a joint press conference to review the federal and provincial issues at play in relation to new information received by the party.
“Documents obtained from Environment Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans reveal that at a time when core science is being cut across the Government of Canada, tax dollars are being spent to do Enbridge’s homework for them,” said Andrew Weaver.
The Federal Government is moving forward over the next two years with a $100 million plus, ‘Complementary Measures Project’ (now called ‘World Class’) to research and model the complex waterways in the Kitimat and Hecate Straights region. In essence this is a federal government subsidy to the Northern Gateway Project, as they are unable to satisfy basic safety, environmental and regulatory requirements. In fact documents from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans identified that: “Behaviour models specific to dilbit spills do not exist, and existing commercial models for conventional oil do not allow parameter specific modifications.”
On the federal level contrary to what Stephen Harper has said about awaiting the evidence and panel results, the Government of Canada has been pushing ahead with spending over $100 million to support what should be industry based research. This comes at a time of major cuts to science funding for climate change, marine contaminants and ELA.
In fact, documents show that the Government of Canada has been spending taxpayer’s money to support this project, going as far as to name the DFO’s work “the Northern Gateway Project”.
The BC Green Party and Andrew Weaver acknowledged that the BC Government had submitted a very thorough review of BC concerns to the NEB Joint Review Panel. “Today, we call on call on the BC Government to follow through on the concerns they raised in their JRP submission, “said Dr. Weaver. “In particular, we ask that Premier Christie Clark :
Give an emphatic no to the Northern Gateway Project without ‘needless delay’.
Given the evidence available today the BC Government should implement an immediate moratorium on heavy oil tankers in BC coastal waters.”
In the House of Commons, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has claimed that the federal government was waiting for the NEB panel’s advice. In fact, in answer to a question from Elizabeth May in June 6, 2013 Question Period, Stephen Harper said,
“… the project in question, of course, is subject to a joint review panel process. Obviously, we believe in the rule of law and in adjudicating these things based on scientific and policy concerns. The government will obviously withhold its decision on the matter until we see the results of the panel and its work.” (emphasis added.)
“It appears to be an inescapable conclusion that the prime minister has misled the House,” said Ms. May. “If the project were approved, the spending on better weather forecasting along tanker routes and a developed understanding of how dilbit behaves in case of an oil spill would be minimum steps. Nevertheless, the project is not approved and tens of millions of dollars are being spent as though the process was a mere formality on the way to getting the dilbit boarded on super tankers through some of the most hazardous waters on earth.”
Interim Green Party of BC leader Adam Olsen added, “British Columbians need to be very aware that the federal government is talking out of both sides of its mouth in claiming to be waiting for the results of the review. The BC government looked at the evidence and found Enbridge has not completed even rudimentary science to understand what dilbit does when it is spilled. It is shocking to find that Ottawa is using our tax dollars to help Enbridge win approval for a project most British Columbians oppose.”
Joe Oliver doesn't trust Enbridge's Science
Comment by David McRae on 6th September 2013
Ahhh yes Joe O. still knows how to stretch the truth to a thin veneer without it breaking. He did mention, when he was in Vancouver, that studies would be carried out on oil on water (dilbit) and on possible needs for improving marine weather forecasting on the north coast but did not at that time come straight out and say which pocket would foot the bill.
I find it curious that Joe O. is quite willing to spend over a 100 million tax dollars on the same two studies that the pipeline proponents (Enbridge) claim to have carried out. Would it be possible that he is very uncomfortable with the fact that the Enbridge dilbit on water study came up glaringly short on the WHOLE TRUTH! (an unnatural micro-climate study with poorly simulated weathering and wave action) that the Joint Review Panel were able to see through instantly.
After watching Enbridge in action at the JRP hearings the last year and a half, I certainly see a real need for a taxpayer funded, unbiased, scientific study of dilbit on water (fresh water, salt water, water in all conditions of wind and waves and sediment content) with the objective being a credible and neutral report.
Canada has a number of universities that are more than capable of carrying out such scientific studies and probably at much less financial cost. Or is 100 plus million dollars the cost of a scientific study with the right slant to it???
While he is in the mood for spending tax dollars on the west coast maybe Joe O. could complete the fact finding and scientific study of the shoreline and sea life here. Especially the waters around the Hecate Strait, Caamano Sound , Chatham Sound and Dixon Entrance. It appears there may be some disagreement on how much life these water are known to contain. A full, science based inventory of the sea and shore life of these waters needs to be completed before a supertanker messes up on Ness Rock, Yates Shoal or even Browning Entrance or anywhere else on our west coast!
We need to know the facts of how much life will be potentially lost, not to mention their value. This study would probably cost tax payers more than a 100 million dollars, but I don't mind and am sure Joe wouldn't mind collecting more facts and science, maybe we could find some volunteers to help out. As you can see I am comfortable with spending tax dollars on Joe O’s need (and mine) for science based facts but what I am UN-comfortable with is not knowing who gets the money and who does the study!
I would object if the money went to Northern Gateway Proponents for the study and I would also object if it went to a hand-picked government "scientist" !!
I have this terrible sinking feeling that this whole Northern Gateway decision will be made on the buoyancy of dilbit. If Joe O does NOT want the northern gateway project to proceed maybe dilbit will sink. On the other hand if he wants northern gateway to go ahead, then maybe dilbit will float.
I strongly suspect that there will be certain factoids left out of Joe O’s decision making equation. David G McRae
The Gov't may have my tax dollars to spend..
Comment by Larry Walker on 5th September 2013
But I still have my vote......and it ain't going to the
PC's in any future election. This war has just begun and we may have lost a battle here and there...but it ain't over yet by a long shot. This is now my home and you (govt) will not be allowed to destroy it.