Victoria: Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green Party, is calling for politicians to hold themselves to a higher standard of facts and evidence in discussions around the Trans Mountain pipeline.
“There is an inordinate amount of fear-mongering going on in the political climate surrounding Trans Mountain,” said Weaver.
“In 2018 in this country, our commitment to facts and the truth is more important than ever.
“Today in the House, the MLAs for Abbotsford West and Chilliwack-Hope implied that their communities are at risk due to bitumen shipments by rail, stoking fears that a Lac-Mégantic-style disaster could befall them if the Trans Mountain pipeline does not go through. This is patently false – the truth is that the train in the Lac-Mégantic tragedy was loaded with highly combustible Bakken crude, not heated bitumen or undiluted heavy crude.
“The risk of Trans Mountain lies in the way diluted bitumen behaves in an ocean spill. Studies using suspended particulate matter, which characterizes the water off B.C.’s coast, suggest that bitumen would in fact either form tar balls or sink. There is not sufficient scientific evidence on whether such a spill could be cleaned up.
“In Alberta, Ms. Notley is engaging in her own fear-mongering by alleging this amounts to a ‘constitutional crisis’. It is irresponsible to be throwing such inflammatory terms around when B.C. is simply trying to consult with British Columbians and to seek scientific evidence about a substance that poses a significant risk to our communities and to our economy.
“The Prime Minister acknowledged that the NEB process that led to this project’s approval was flawed, and promised to subject it to a revised environmental assessment process. As an intervener in those NEB hearings, I know that they were woefully inadequate in terms of facts and evidence. For instance, the spill response was predicated on calm conditions and 20 hours’ worth of sunlight in a single day. This is unacceptable and ample evidence suggests that Mr. Trudeau and Ms. Notley’s attempt to strong arm B.C. into rolling over for this project is because of politics, not evidence.”