Letter to editor: Thank you, Premier Horgan, for standing up for B.C.'s coast

Left: B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman. Centre: B.C. Premier John Horgan. Right: B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver. File photos by The Canadian Press.

Dear John Horgan and George Heyman;

First and foremost I would like to express our sincere appreciation for standing up for our coastline, rivers and lakes that support a vast and sustainable economy of which sport fishing is a huge contributor. One that provides a meaningful and rewarding career for many in B.C.

My name is Brian Mack. I work in the sport fishing tourism industry in Southwest British Columbia and hope that this way of life can be available for our children. Currently, it is being threatened by the proposed plan to ship toxic diluted bitumen over many of our pristine wild salmon rivers and along our coast. I started our company(Silversides Fishing) back in 1996. What we have been doing since then is allowing tourists from all over the world to enjoy some of the finest sport fishing in the world. Our clientele purposefully travel to Vancouver or the Fraser River Valley to catch salmon and giant white sturgeon or enjoy fly fishing too for trout, salmon and steelhead. Many of them come from Europe, the U.S. and every province in Canada including Alberta. This place is famous, and for good reason.

We have very serious concerns and fears about the future of our jobs and health of our waterway posed by a pipeline that is going to pump extremely toxic diluted bitumen (dilbit) over tributaries of the Fraser river including the Fraser itself. Dilbit destroys fish and their ecosystem. It cannot be cleaned up. What happened on the Kalamazoo River in Michigan in 2010 should be cause for serious concern.

And then the dilbit will travel by tankers that must navigate a most sensitive and risky route putting our coast at severe risk of disaster. Just check out what recently happened in the China Sea where a ‘safe’ double hulled tanker crashed into another ship, exploded and sank, spilling 1 million barrels of toxic condensate oil into the sea. The area is preparing for a marine catastrophe that threatens a vast food fishery.

Our concerns about leaking pipelines are justified by historical patterns in North America of pipeline safety or rather lack of safety. As we see it, a devastating pipeline spill is a 100 per cent certainty. For that reason alone we must stand up to a project that will bring colossal economic, social and food security harm to our province. There is no price that can compensate for such foolishness. Even my teen daughter, who gets to inherit a world dictated by our decisions, is very concerned. 

A sham approval process was key to green lighting Trans Mountain. Trudeau admitted last week to selling out B.C. as a tradeoff in a recent exclusive interview with the National Observer.

The claim of Canada having a ‘world class oil spill response’ is a joke. It does not exist and never will. At best, only five to ten per cent of oil spills have ever been recovered.

The NEB approval process is at best a complete sham, akin to a kangaroo court system designed to fail justice itself. The NEB blatantly ignored science, DFO concerns, First Nations consultation and rights, Kinder Morgan’s pipeline safety record and many more key elements. Keep in mind the NEB is composed of some former oil-industry members who have never disapproved a project.

 If certain Albertans think that we have to play Russian roulette with our coastline and freshwater resources that generate over a billion dollars and employ over 100,000 people, then something isn’t quite right. Certainly the recent Twitter hashtag #KeepCanadaWorking is more suited for B.C., as our tourism economy is far more valuable to the ‘national interest’ than environmental destruction.

And the further trampling of First Nations legal rights is not in the national interest of most Canadians either.

I believe that many Albertans won’t want to destroy the very resource that they use for their own pleasure. Many of B.C.’s sport fish bookings are from Albertans wanting to catch the fish of their life, right here in the Fraser Valley or coastal waters.

I think the bigger question is: since when does the oil industry get to trump B.C.’s constitutional right to protect our way of life, our jobs, especially one that is well established? Perhaps Alberta Premier Notley should question who she really serves because it doesn’t sound to us  like the ‘national interest of Canada’.

We will continue to support our B.C. coastline, wild rivers, world class fishing and the rights of our children to continue to enjoy what many of us grew up with. Therefore, we support the decisions of John Horgan, George Heyman and certainly Andrew Weaver who is a key element in this.

Thank you.

 

Signed:

Brian Mack: owner/operator - Silversides Fishing Adventures

Chris Ciesla: owner/operator- Bluewater Rockies Sportfish Guiding Co.

Warren Barker: owner/captain – First Fish Charters

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