To The Editor:
If Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Prime Minister Trudeau think that they can dictate to British Columbians on the basis of whose economy and environment is more important, then they need to think again.
We have an important sport and commercial salmon fishery, and a coastline that is the envy of every tourism operator in the country. And yet Ms. Notley and Mr. Trudeau think we should sacrifice our economic interests for theirs. First, no amount of money could fix a crude oil spill. Just ask the Alaskan fishermen and First Nations people impacted by the Exxon Valdez spill.
So we are not talking about exporting twinkies, lumber, natural gas or even coal. We are talking about a substance that could severely damage or destroy our marine ecosystem. BC has only one marine ecosystem and no amount of money could help rebuild it.
Question: why are Alberta and Ottawa not supporting refining tar sands crude where it is being mined?
That way we could all benefit from purchasing Canadian refined oil products and end the importation of foreign oil.
The answer I keep getting is that it is too expensive and not a viable economic solution. Well, guess what, exporting crude oil through BC's fragile marine ecosystem is not a viable economic alternative either. Nor do we want to be held hostage to Alberta's economic needs.
We in BC have as much right to protect our environment and economy as Albertans.
So, Ms. Notley, a little less of "it's our right" and "the federal government has made a decision", as Mr. Trudeau also promised us that the impacts of resource extraction would be balanced against the needs of protecting the environment. It's our environment and our economy that's at stake here, so please start by respecting us and that fact.
After that, we can negotiate as equal partners in confederation and not from some subservient position of just because you mined it, you have a right to export it.
All of which is respectfully submitted
Andy Shadrack, Kaslo BC