It’s Gerry’s turn to know better

Opposing Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline does not make someone anti-fossil fuel

Dear Sir:

Gerry Martin in his “Rob should know better” letter to the editor of March 5 commits the same sins he accuses Rob Brown of committing in Rob’s Feb. 12 Skeena Anger column regarding Enbridge’s Janet Holder.

Being against the Enbridge pipeline does not make one an “avid anti-fossil fuel zealot” anymore than being against dangerous driving makes anyone against cars.

Gerry makes the distorted and ill-conceived argument that because we all drive fossil fuel consuming vehicles, we are all complicit in the pipeline’s construction in some moral way. Morality implies a choice. We have little to none.

Our society is designed for car use and neither industry nor government has felt it good policy to create alternatives despite obvious popular support. Blaming citizens is like blaming those who have to remain in a smoke-filled room for contracting cancer.

He goes on to encourage us “to stay positive and find a constructive way toward meeting our need for oil products, our interest in economic strength … and our non-negotiable demand for environmental protection.”

This neatly sidesteps the point that the pipeline is not to meet our need for oil products. We don’t even refine our oil. The pipeline will require a one-third increase in tar sands extraction to meet foreign needs, not domestic.

This increase, by furthering our development as a resource extraction economy, will in fact weaken our ability to perform as a healthy and diverse economy as it will hurt our manufacturing sector, (where the good jobs are).

The true winners are the foreign companies that own the tar sands who simply want to move the bitumen to themselves so that they can make more money.

But Gerry’s remark about the environment is most puzzling of all. Is he saying that we have to accept the possibility of environmental damage to our watershed and coast as an acceptable cost of doing such ill-conceived business? Also, is he completely ignoring the climate change effect of extraction?

I am sure Janet Holder is a fine person. But she is also a senior executive charged with getting a pipeline built across a province whose people don’t want it. The message of the many Janet-featured ads is that she will look after us. Reassuring but untrue, as is the assertion that we can make the pipeline and the shipping sufficiently safe.

When Janet Holder dresses up as a fisherman, she’s selling snake oil. She should keep it in Alberta.

Robert Hart, Terrace, B.C.





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