[links and video in on-line article]
Why is Trudeau Backtracking On B.C.'s Oil Tanker Ban? These 86 Meetings
with Enbridge Might Help Explain
By Carol Linnitt • Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 18:45
Since the Liberals formed government last November, Enbridge and
Northern Gateway Pipeline have lobbied Ottawa an astounding 86 times,
federal lobbying reports reveal.
Fifty-one of those meetings have taken place since August — which,
funnily enough, is around the same time Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
started backtracking on his commitment to ban oil tankers on B.C.’s
north coast, a policy that would leave Enbridge’s Northern Gateway
pipeline proposal dead in the water.
Since October last year, representatives from Enbridge and Northern
Gateway Pipeline met with representatives from the Prime Minister’s
Office eight times, Transport Canada 10 times, Fisheries and Oceans
Canada 10 times, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada 12 times,
Natural Resources Canada 31 times, and mostly Liberal Members of
Parliament 39 times to name just a few.
During this time Enbridge and Northern Gateway Pipeline lobbyists met
with more than 130 top-level chiefs of staff, policy directors, and
ministers, records show.
Diesel Spill Off B.C. Coast Creating New Urgency Around Promised Tanker Ban
The issue of oil transport along the B.C. coast has been thrust back
into the spotlight in the wake of ongoing diesel spill recovery efforts
near Bella Bella.
Coastal residents were in a state of disbelief last night after learning
an emergency response vessel, sent to B.C.’s central coast to retrieve
the diesel-leaking Nathan E. Stewart, sank beside the sunken tug in
Since October 13, cleanup of the diesel spill in the traditional waters
of the Heiltsuk First Nation has been slow and unsuccessful, hampered by
a lack of response equipment, relief crews and favourable weather.
This has heightened criticism of the federal government and Trudeau who
made a clear commitment to enact an oil tanker ban for the north B.C.
coast during his election campaign last year. Trudeau even included
formalizing the tanker ban on the list of ‘top priorities’ in Transport
Minister Marc Garneau’s mandate letter in early November last year.
When pressed on his promise to ban tanker traffic — a proposal some say
is not nearly comprehensive enough to protect the coast from vessels
like the Nathan E. Stewart —Trudeau awkwardly dodged the question.
“Over the past year there’s been a lot of underinvestment by the federal
government in marine safety and spill response. That’s something we’re
absolutely committed to turning around,” Trudeau told Breakfast Television.
“And one of the symbols of that — as someone who knows Vancouver and the
Lower Mainland as well as I do — one of the first things we did was
reopen the Kits coast guard base because we understand that having
responders there if something happens is absolutely essential.”
Jess Housty, tribal councillor for the Heiltsuk, took to Twitter to
express her dismay with the Prime Minister’s comments.
“Saw your interview today,” Housty tweeted. “You know Kits is ~650km
away from Bella Bella and Seaforth Channel, right?”
“When we are talking about protecting the coast out here, for the people
who live here, that’s life and death,” Cullen told DeSmog Canada.
“The insult is twice because the promise was twofold: one, to bring in a
tanker ban. It’s been a year and we’re still waiting. Two, to establish
respectful relations with First Nations.”
“This is literally killing two birds with one stone,” Cullen said.
He added Trudeau’s inability to follow through on his promises is
indication of a dangerous duplicity.
“We are a year in and one has to wonder if there are two Justin
Trudeaus. One that campaigns and does public events and Twitter. The
other that meets in the private backrooms in Ottawa with more oil
lobbyists — one would imagine by a factor of 10 — than he has with
environmental and First Nation leaders.”
Cullen said it isn’t just the diesel spill near Bella Bella that British
Columbians have to worry about, but the pending decision on the Kinder
Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline.
“You wonder if the West Coast is being thrown under the bus for nothing
other than political calculation.”
John Horgan, leader of the B.C.NDP, said the response to what is
unfolding in Bella Bella at both the federal and the provincial level
has been “frustrating” and “astounding.”
“It does really speak to an Ottawa-based arrogance to believe that
reigniting the much-needed Coast Guard base in Vancouver is somehow a
benefit to the coast north of Vancouver Island all the way to Prince
Rupert,” Horgan told DeSmog Canada.
When asked about Enbridge and Northern Gateway’s recent lobbying spree,
Horgan said Tweet: Liberal govt should spend more time w people of BC
when considering tankers/pipelines, less w those lobbying govt
http://bit.ly/2ee43rs“the government should spend more time with the
people of B.C. when considering these problems and less with those
lobbying government offices.”
Lobbying Records Disclose the Bare Minimum: Watchdog
These high volumes of lobbying are troubling, according to Duff
Conacher, co-founder of Democracy Watch, a government accountability
“Everybody should be worried about the power of large corporations in
terms of lobbying governments,” Conacher told DeSmog Canada.
“They not only have economic power in terms of threatening to sue under
trade deals or to take their business elsewhere…but they also usually
hire people who have connections to the ruling party to do their
lobbying so they have undue and unethical political power as well.”
Conacher said Enbridge and Northern Gateway could be doing a lot more
lobbying of the federal government without any disclosure due to vast
amounts of lobbying loopholes.
The documented lobbying by Enbridge and Northern Gateway is likely just
scratching the surface, he said.
“Only oral pre-arranged meetings are required to be documented in those
monthly logs. So you shouldn’t think that’s all the lobbying: that’s
just the lobbying they disclosed.”
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