Tories Need to Listen to B.C. on Tankers

APRIL 20, 2011

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced this week that he will not ban expanded oil-tanker traffic along our coast if he forms the next government of Canada.

The issue is hot because of Enbridge’s proposed $5.5-billion Northern Gateway pipeline that would link the Alberta tarsands with a tanker port at Kitimat.

Harper says Canada’s East coast has tankers and that he doesn’t want to stand in the way of the West cashing in on similar economic opportunities by formalizing the current non-binding ban on tankers along B.C.’s northern coast.

While there is clearly a lot of money to made in shipping oil, mostly for the oil industry, Harper needs to listen to the majority of British Columbians who oppose more tankers.

The tanker industry has a good recent safety record since it began using double-hulled vessels, but the risk of even a single accident is too great. B.C.’s coastline is stunning and already generating sustainable wealth through fisheries, aquaculture and nearly unlimited potential for tourism.

We must oppose expanded tanker traffic on our coast.

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