A Vancouver Courier op-ed has left me confused. No, it’s not by Mark Hasiuk. It’s by Mike Howell:
Mayor Gregor Robertson seemingly lost his political mind this week by taking a risky position on a divisive issue that could see him booted from office.
In a widely tweeted op-ed in the pages of my former employer—no, not Pravda but the Vancouver Sun—Robertson shocked Vancouverites by declaring war on the oil industry.
Now maybe I haven’t been paying attention but is there really a large popular support in Vancouver for increased oil tanker traffic in Burrard Inlet? By what metric is Howell using to determine Vancouverites are “shocked”. Is there a public opinion poll somewhere?
UPDATE: Whoopsie. Yes, he was being facetious [wipes egg from face].
It’s a bit mysterious how he determined this, especially in light of other Of note, province-wide public opinion polls that show strong support – 46% strong in fact – for the banning of oil tanker traffic off the coast entirely.
You could certainly point out, rightly, that the City of Vancouver doesn’t have jurisdiction here and this is just posturing. And you could certainly question whether the proposed by-law would actually be enforceable.
But the idea Vancouverites – after re-electing him and his green agenda in a landslide – would suddenly turnaround and boot Robertson from office all because he is, in essence, asking Kinder Morgan for a damage deposit seems…um…far-fetched.
But then I don’t know much about these things. [Editor’s note: Obviously!]
On a completely different subject, here’s Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan:
“This [pipeline] doesn’t benefit B.C.,” Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan told The Province on Sunday.
“I haven’t seen any support from anyone in my community about this project . . . It’s no surprise that people in Burnaby aren’t that keen on making Albertans more money.”
“It is an issue,” said City of North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto. “If there was an accident with the tankers in the inlet, the potential for the oil to spill on to the shores of the city is quite high.”
Mussatto said the planned expansion is much larger than he thought it would be. “It’s a significant increase,” he said…
…Mussatto said a larger concern is the continued dependence on tar-sands oil that the pipeline expansion represents.
…and District of North Vancouver Mayor Richard Walton:
“My gut response is obviously if you’re increasing the amount of traffic dramatically in a contained space, the risk of an oil spill is going to go up dramatically as well,” he said.
“I don’t see oil coming down through the harbour and out through the Strait of Juan de Fuca benefiting anyone locally,” said Walton. “If we’re bearing the risks here and we’re not receiving any of the economic benefit, we have to say how great are these risks?”
The latter two quotes coming from a North Shore News story republished online by the Vancouver Courier.
Final note: Despite the egg, the underlying point remains the same: You can be concerned about the safety of a project for it’s own sake and are not be required to propose an alternative.