I applaud David Black’s May 21 rebuttal in this paper to Greg Stringham (Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers) and would like to add a couple of things.
In my opinion, any study commissioned by Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Natural Resources Canada is to be questioned. The Conservative government has reduced scientific staff and weakened the requirements for environmental protection.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada are the people who systematically destroyed the Atlantic cod fishery by allowing fishing until there were no longer fish. They are in the process of doing the same to Pacific salmon stocks by continuing to allow expansion of salmon farming within the waters of the migration routes of wild salmon.
As for Natural Resources Canada, I’m betting that they are on the side of the fossil fuel producers given the constant push by the federal government for expansion in this area for the economy.
When it comes to preparedness and world class prevention strategy, I believe that no such plans exist. If they do, why is it that any time the oil companies are questioned, there are never any details supplied?
Oil producers have stated they will not be liable for what happens to the product once it is aboard a tanker. If that is so, our coastline is even more at risk. Why would a country that is not proactive in aiding its own ailing environment care about ours?
The ideal situation would be for governments to get behind the alternative energy movements with as much zeal as they have shown for exploiting our unsustainable natural resources.
Given that that is unlikely to happen in the immediate future, I support Mr. Black’s attempt to have the heavy oil refined and shipped as a less destructive product.
No matter how the statistics play out, it would take only one spill of heavy oil to destroy the livelihoods of many people on our coast, for many years.