How does it feel to be labelled a member of “environmental and other radical groups” including “jet-setting celebrities” funded by foreign special interest groups who “threaten to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological ends”?
This is what Federal Minister of Natural Resources, Joe Oliver, has called British Columbian citizens who have signed up to make presentations to the Joint Review Panel (JRP) hearings on Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline and associated oil tanker traffic.
Just in case you were in any doubt about how Prime Minister Harper feels about British Columbians exercising their democratic rights to comment on a project that has serious implications for our province, consider his recent echoing of Ezra Levant’s, so-called “Ethical Oil” ads.
Like Mr. Oliver and Mr. Levant, Mr. Harper warned of “the use of foreign money to really overload the public consultation phase” of the pipeline review, and promised his government “will be taking a close look” to ensure “our regulatory processes are effective and deliver decisions in a reasonable amount of time.”
Mr. Harper has already shown his contempt for democracy by proroguing parliament twice to shut down debate. Now he is threatening to shut down BC residents who oppose the Northern Gateway project. The JRP hearings are meant to decide if this pipeline is in “Canada’s best interest.” Since when did British Columbians stop being Canadians?
It’s bad enough that the panel members are all closely involved with the energy sector, that none of them is from BC, and that this process has rejected a proposed project only twice in its history.
Now, we have a federal government scare-mongering because a few presenters are foreigners or have received foreign money.
Like most Canadians, I am much more concerned about foreign interests buying up and controlling our energy industries and making decisions that have the potential of destroying my country, not theirs. I’ll accept whatever help I can get to counter the millions of dollars these companies have poured into ensuring this project goes ahead.
Back off, Mr. Harper.