Are the federal Liberals secretly undermining the offshore moratorium?

NDP leader Jack Layton is now the second federal politicianto publicly support maintaining the moratorium on offshore oil and gas.Retiring Liberal MP David Anderson was the first.

Federal NDP opposition to the lifting of the moratorium maybe important in the coming months, because federal bureaucrats from Natural ResourcesCanada (NRCan) have been secretly advising big oil and gas companies that BC’s fragilecoastline may be open for business.

Enbridge- the Calgary-based pipeline company proposing thetwin Gateway pipelines that would transport tar sands crude to Kitimat andimported condensate to Edmonton- has reportedly been told by NRCan that thethree to six tankers traveling to and fro on BC’s coast to use the proposedpipeline would not be captured by the existing moratorium.

At this point it is not clear if this is just a bureaucracy runamuck or actually the federal Liberals are secretly positioning themselves toremove the moratorium or render it ineffective by creating damaging loopholes.

The bizarre rationale for NRCan’s yet to be made publicposition is that only north-south tanker traffic is under moratorium, noteast-west traffic to Chinaand other such points.

This attempt to undermine the longstanding tanker moratoriumbased on an implausible interpretation of previous findings will not stand upto public scrutiny.

Shouldn’t Paul Martin and the Liberals make their positionclear?

My guess is they won’t until we force them to.

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