Letter to the Editor: Port given too much power

The federal and provincial governments are working to sacrifice Prince Rupert to the oil and gas industry...


How naive and gullible are we here in Prince Rupert?

We have been promised jobs, prosperity, money for roads and infrastructure and better hospitals, health care and education when we attain our goal of LNG production and make way to ship more oil and gas overseas. That’s all we can think of or see with our eyes glazed over. Our response is bland and uncomprehending as we passively accept the knowledge that the federal government has turned the control of our port over to the Oil and Gas Commission to regulate.

We are not stupid. We are not ignorant. We are educated and informed.

What is the matter with us?

The federal and provincial governments are working to sacrifice Prince Rupert to the oil and gas industry. Lelu Island is just a piece of a larger picture.

In the July 15, 2015 issue of the Northern View, the report called “New LNG regulations for Prince Rupert port” states: “Four objectives have been outlined with respect to the regulations —  to establish a federal regulatory regime for LNG projects in B.C., and specifically the Port of Prince Rupert, to make the Oil and Gas Commission of British Columbia have LNG facility construction and operations oversight, to reassure investors, developers and the public that there is a mandated and regulated regime in place and to have consistency in LNG projects on B.C. federal and provincial lands.”

During the B.C. Legislative Assembly debate regarding Bill 30 Liquefied Natural Gas Project (Lelu Island), MLA Dr. David Weaver provided more details when he referred to our port in his speech. Here is a quote directly from the printed text: “As I continue down this path, it’s very troubling that the recently proposed Port of Prince Rupert liquefied natural gas facilities regulations put forward by Transport Canada and recently posted in the Canada Gazette, plan to put the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission in charge of regulation of LNG terminals. Talk about putting the fox in charge of the hen house  … Especially worrisome are the broad exclusions described in Section 11 of these federal regulations now in the Gazette. This is what they say, ‘Unless provided by these regulations, a provision of an incorporated law that imposes an obligation, liability or penalty on an owner, occupier public authority, public body or unspecified person or unnamed entity does not apply to Her Majesty in right of Canada or to the Prince Rupert Port Authority.”

Then Dr. Waever explains: “It’s essentially saying the laws that would generally apply to the port will only do so if expressly required by regulations, regulations set by the Oil and Gas Commission. The effect of this provision would be that laws of general application would no longer apply to the port, making it above the law.”

It leaves me wondering if we will be sitting beside an oil polluted slough, dreaming of what we can do with all the money we will make while we eat our canned salmon from China.

Peggy Davenport,

Prince Rupert


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