Mulcair wrong on tankers

Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair recently told Northern residents that he's "categorically opposed" to tankers in the Douglas Channel.

Editor:

Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair recently told Northern residents that he’s “categorically opposed” to tankers in the Douglas Channel (Mulcair talks tankers on tour, Aug. 20, 2014).

In the ongoing debate about tanker traffic in B.C., it’s important that the public knows the facts.

First, the Douglas Channel is one of the widest and deepest waterways on the west coast ­— three times wider at its narrowest point than Transport Canada’s recommended width for tanker traffic.

As the B.C. Chamber of Shipping notes, oil tankers regularly traverse the Bosphorus Strait, one of the world’s busiest shipping routes. The Bosphorus Strait is 698 meters across at its narrowest point compared to 1,575 meters for the Douglas Channel.

Second, for generations, the Douglas Channel has operated as a busy shipping lane.

B.C. has some of the toughest regulations for shipping in our waters and in this case of Northern Gateway, those regulations will be met or exceeded.

Third, only licensed B.C. coast pilots will guide tankers and two tugs — one of them tethered — will escort every laden tanker.

Finally, spill response capabilities will be three times better than what is required by existing regulations.

The debate about shipping on B.C.’s coast is important to our province’s economic future. Northern Gateway will create over 3,000 construction jobs and 560 permanent jobs for British Columbians.

That’s why it is best that the debate be based on facts, not political rhetoric and fear mongering.

MaryAnn Freeman

Terrace, B.C.