VICTORIA -On CBC Radio One program, “On the Island”, this past Wednesday morning, Gary Lunn, Natural Resources Minister, and the Conservative incumbent for the federal riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands, continued to try to confuse the public about the real status of oil tankers on BC’s North Coast.
Dogwood Initiative is working to ensure that the public is not misled on the tanker issue during the 2008 election. The following questions may clarify Gary Lunn and his party’s position on oil tankers in BC’s fragile Inside Passage:
Gary Lunn says, “The Conservatives enforce all measures that protect our coast from oil tankers.”
The Reality: The conservatives only recognize the existence of the Tanker Exclusion Zone (TEZ), a voluntary routing measure that applies only to tankers traveling from Alaska. The exclusion zone will not protect our coast from oil or gas tankers traveling to and from two proposed oil tanker ports in Kitimat.
Question (1): Does Gary Lunn support a ban on all oil tankers that would apply to tankers going to Kitimat?
Gary Lunn says, [the tanker controversy] “is a manufactured issue”.
The Reality: Enbridge Inc. is currently conducting consultations for a proposed 500,000 barrel a day pipeline connecting Alberta’s tar sands to Kitimat, BC. Reportedly the company is already clearing brush for surveying purposes along the pipeline route.
Enbridge’s proposal calls for large oil tankers to travel through BC’s northern Inside Passage for the first time. Another company, Kinder Morgan, intends to resuscitate a similar proposal..
Question (2): Has The Ministry of Natural Resources had any discussions with Enbridge about this proposal?
Gary Lunn says, “The Environmental Assessment Process will ensure the coast is protected”.
The Reality: The EA process simply recommends and requires measures to minimize and mitigate environmental risk; the process virtually never refuses projects outright, and it doesn’t decide whether a projects, e.g. oil tankers, are a good idea in the first place. That is for politicians to do.
Question (3): Does Gary Lunn agree that the Environmental Assessment process has failed to reign in the destruction of the boreal forest caused by the oil sands?
Gary Lunn says, ”We [The Conservatives] were involved in establishing the Great Bear Rainforest”.
The Reality: The Conservatives did provide $30 million for the Great Bear Rainforest’ but also have backed away from a 35-year old Government of Canada policy that prohibits oil tankers in adjacent waters leading to the fast tracking of 5 separate tar sands related tanker/pipeline projects in various stages of the approval process.
Question (4): Does Gary Lunn support oil and gas tankers in the fragile waters off the Great Bear Rainforest conservation?
Question (5) Will the Conservative government support regulations or legislation that prohibits oil and gas tankers protects these fragile waters and coastline from the risk of an oil spill?