I read with interest Mr. Weston’s statement: “Why conservationists (not just Conservatives) should support Bill C-38.”
His main argument for repealing the Environmental Assessment Act 1999 and creating a new Act is major project streamlining. His premise is protection should yield to mitigation.
So let us compare and contrast the elephant in the room: Northern Gateway. This major project will create fewer than 300 permanent jobs in B.C. according to Enbridge’s own proposal. Enbridge’s CEO Pat Daniel has hinted that the dual pipeline build could be tendered to PetroChina.
However, Mr. Weston suggests this new Act will create jobs and stimulate the economy. Perhaps for China, but I fail to see how this benefits B.C.’s economic growth.
Mr. Weston goes on to ensure British Columbians that the changes to the Fisheries Act will continue to protect species. What he fails to mention is that destruction of fish habitat will be removed from the Act. Based on the Enbridge fight with DFO over the Northern Gateway route over 1,000 streams and rivers, I suggest Mr. Weston is dead wrong in his assessment.
Lastly, there is a moral imperative that is lacking in Mr. Weston’s statement. Northern Gateway is a 50-year gamble that puts a pristine part of B.C. at risk: our coastline, our fresh waterways, our land. The people, wildlife and fish stock of Northern B.C. deserve a voice from all B.C. MPs regardless of their political stripes.
Mr. Weston has failed to recognize the far reaching changes that will be his legacy as a legislator.
To put these environmental changes into a budget bill along with changes to OAS and Employment Insurance should have given Mr. Weston pause. It did not and is extremely disappointing.