April 25, 2011

Joining 80% of BC residents, three North Vancouver candidates support oil tanker ban on BC’s north coast

Burrard Inlet(Photo by Gord McKenna via Flickr)

Every summer I swim in the waters of Burrard Inlet and English Bay. My favourite spot is Cates Park (Whey-ah-Wichen, Faces the Wind), which is nearly opposite a Chevron oil refinery that is responsible for a slow leak discovered a year ago. This refinery is east of the Second Narrows bridge which, as the name suggests, spans a narrow crossing — and it’s a shallow one as well. The number, size and capacity of oil tankers passing through here is growing, with no decline in sight as our thirst for oil continues to increase. This worries me because it leaves us ever more vulnerable to a spill that would ruin a coastline inhabited by the Tsleil-Waututh Nation long before this place had a name, and enjoyed by Metro Vancouver residents and tourists alike. The beaches and waters are home to starfish, crabs, jellyfish, geoducks and many varieties of birds. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot some other fish, a seal or even a whale. Eagles are frequent visitors.

We can’t afford an oil spill in Burrard Inlet, nor can we afford one anywhere along our beautiful coast. The consequences of the Exxon Valdez spill off Alaska are still felt there. A spill of that magnitude hasn’t yet happened to us — neither in BC nor in the Saint Lawrence — and on Monday, May 2 we have the opportunity to uphold the decision the Liberals made in 1972 by voting for candidates who support this ban.

Eighty per cent of British Columbians support a federal ban on oil tankers off the northern BC coast. North Vancouver candidates* Taleeb Noormohamed (Liberal), Michael Charrois (NDP), and Greg Dowman (Green) all support the ban, as do their parties and the Bloc. The ones left out of touch are the Conservatives: siding with his party, our current MP Andrew Saxton voted against an oil tanker ban in December.

I want to keep swimming in Burrard Inlet. I want BC’s coastline to be protected from oil spills. All the federal parties except the Conservative party feel the same way.

The Dogwood Initiative also encourages us to sign the petition after voting for a candidate who cares about BC’s coast.

* Our Independent candidate’s position is not mentioned by Dogwood.