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Wednesday, July 04, 2012 by Karl Hardin

How B.C. can stop oil tanker plans

If you live in B.C. you have the power to stop the Enbridge and Kinder Morgan oil tanker and pipeline proposals from going ahead (if you live outside of B.C., don’t worry you’re part of the plan; we’ll have more on that soon).

That’s because you have the power to influence provincial, municipal and federal politicians in B.C. who can stop these projects. By influence, I don’t mean writing a form e-mail to your local MLA. What I mean is organizing, on the ground and online.

You won’t be able to do this alone; to succeed you are going to have to co-ordinate with tens of thousands of other people in B.C. and all over the country.

The most immediate way to protect our coast from oil spills is to ensure the next B.C. provincial government is opposed to these proposals, whether it's Liberal, NDP, Green or Conservative. The bottom line is the government of B.C. has the power to stop these projects from going ahead (more on that in a minute).

We need to get every provincial politician to take a position on whether they’re willing to open up the B.C. coast to increased crude oil tanker traffic. They’re going to need convincing and a lot of pushing before the next election. To push them we need to build political power where it counts (at the riding level) and speak the language that really resonates with them: votes.

The bottom line is the government of B.C. has the power to stop these projects from going ahead.

The No Tankers network is made up of all kinds of people: Mulroney Tories, Mulcair and Dix NDPers, Christy Clark BC Liberals, Cummins Conservatives and Elizabeth May Greens.

As long as we can agree increasing the risk of a catastrophic oil spill on B.C.’s coast is a bad idea, we can get down to business and work together to convince each party to get on the right side of the fence. The anti-HST crowd was successful because they were organized. No Tankers is way bigger than the HST.

As you may know, the provincial NDP has come out against Enbridge’s oil tanker project. They’re not exactly sure what mechanism they’re going to use to stop it yet. That’s why they’ve assembled a legal team to research possible tools. But they are confident that they can stop it. The NDP has not yet taken a position on Kinder Morgan’s plans to increase crude oil tanker traffic through Vancouver Harbour, the Gulf Islands and past Victoria through the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

For her part, Premier Christy Clark still hasn't taken a firm position either way, instead releasing a series of five conditions upon which to base further consideration, including a condition that B.C. must receive its "fair share" of revenue from these projects. This last condition made for some good theater at the recent Premier's conference in Halifax, and suggests that she's open to these proposals if she sees enough cash.

The suggestion that this debate is about getting enough money was summarily rejected by her own constituents in an informal telephone poll we conducted in her riding.

With your help we’re going to push key provincial politicians to oppose both Enbridge’s and Kinder Morgan’s oil tanker proposals.

So, how could the province of B.C. stop oil tanker proposals?

First off, if B.C. said no, state-owned Chinese oil companies who are buying up access to oil in Sudan, Iran and Canada — and who are largely responsible for the push to send unrefined Canadian heavy crude overseas — would probably see the writing on the wall and pull their investments out of the Enbridge and Kinder Morgan proposals. Bingo bango.

If the B.C. government went even further, not only saying they don’t want these proposals but actually denying the oil companies provincial approvals, the federal government could decide to get upset and take the province to court. But that would not likely end well politically for Conservative politicians in B.C. There’s nothing like a fight between the feds and a province to solidify opposition to the federal government of the day.

If the federal government said “the hell with it” and took B.C. to court anyways, that still wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. It would take years to resolve and would lead to very interesting debates over just how much power the provinces have to protect their own lands and waters.

The possibility of a provincial win is why we’re nose to the grindstone right now preparing for the May 2013 election in B.C. by laying the groundwork that will enable you to coordinate with other people who live near you in a meaningful way online and on-the-ground.

This is not going to be easy, but we can do it with your help. Download the first of three action kits: the Find Allies Kit. There are already more than 800 people across B.C. who have downloaded the kit and who are making the No Tankers network huge. Last week Find Allies superstar Wanda Best sent us 1,600 signatures she collected on the No Tankers petition! People across B.C. are coming up with interesting ways to organize at the local level: everything from scuba relay fundraisers to film screenings. A digital version of the kit and two more kits, Find Leaders and Find Resources, are coming soon, so stay tuned.

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Carol Pickup says:
Jul 05, 2012 06:49 PM

Don't hold your breath that we can sway Christy Clark, Harper or their governments-they will remain loyal and supportive of Enbridge and all oil companies and projects. We need to focus on supporting the Official Opposition and the majority of B.C. citizens who oppose these projects. Keep up your good work Dogwood!! Carol Pickup

Karl Hardin says:
Jul 07, 2012 06:31 PM

Hi Carol,

Thanks for posting! I certainly understand your skepticism! The No Tankers network already has significant political power and this is just going to keep growing. I believe that as we continue to organize on the ground in important ridings and decision makers hear, in person, on the phone and at events from their constituents that this is a vote-determining issue for them and that they are getting organized in their riding, especially if they represent their party's base, it's going to give pause to most decision makers, regardless of party affiliation.

Andy Sibbald says:
Aug 21, 2012 07:20 PM

The left needs to put partisan politics aside and unite just as the Conservatives did. If you put all the NDP, Green and some Liberal voters together the Conservatives would be out come next election

rtlafleur says:
Aug 22, 2012 10:58 PM

Exactly, a coalition would be an excellent alternative option.

lili soleil garbutt says:
Aug 23, 2012 06:48 PM

If we are really serious about stopping the Enbridge pipeline we will vote N.D.P. as adrian Dix has said he will be against this happening. so you know what to do.

Danielle Rousseau says:
Jul 05, 2012 07:58 PM

It makes no sense to ship oil along this coastline: BC benefits in no way from the transportation of noxious substances environmentally, ecologically, economically or in terms of our development as human beings. Developing alternative resources and education, learning to be responsible citizens of this planet benefits all of us.

Sharon McCullough says:
Jul 06, 2012 12:07 AM

Hi Danielle, No, it doesn't and it is the worst kind of Russian Roulette because the lives and eco systems don't belong to the ones pulling the trigger. The truly offensive part of all this is that harper is committing crimes.He knows it. More Canadian citizens are calling for his arrest, the RCMP will have to put the well deserved cufffs on him. he knows his days are numbered. He's got tankers sailing in treacherous B.C. waters today. Today there are pipelines bursting regularly and the frequency is far more than what we hear about. The lengths and weights of these tankers and the limitless human, mechanical &computer error probabilities of 1 more Valdise spewing that much of the filthiest, most adhearent, bitumen loaded sludge in any spot on the inlets and we have a 100% certain catastrophy and that's all it will take.The magnitude of one accident will kill thousands of animals, wiping out species people,thousands of years of growth, all fish, all Spirit Bears, all whales, all seals.. Gone. Forever. That one accident can not happen. Those tankers have got to be stopped. Environmentalists ~ or 'terrorists and money launderers' need help and B.C. needs help.The numbers are growing and speaking up but the pc gov't is not listening. And they won't. They don't care . And harper hates everybody....

kristine saxhaug says:
Jul 06, 2012 02:45 AM

Remember to NOT vote conservative in your riding in BC, if you don't want big oil ships or pipelines then get out and vote. Lets show Harper that the people are serious. Do your part and vote. Thank you.

Priscilla Judd says:
Jul 07, 2012 02:55 AM

I think it's better to vote Conservative in the 2013 BC election because it will split off some votes from the BCLiberals - not that I want people to vote Conservative but if you have friends who are bent on voting "right wing" maybe suggesting Conservative is not a bad strategy. Personally I'll be canvassing for the NDP.

Richard Patterson says:
Jul 06, 2012 11:51 AM

What is the rush to get rid of our reserves? This government seems bent on using today's oil reserves to pay off the budget to make HARPER look good and giving him future jobs with his buddies in the international corporations. This leaves our grandkids with no oil to run the country. What! Wind mills on the coasts and solar panels on the prairies. Just another example of "To Hell with Canada as long as Harper gets his way" with his small-minded mean spirited thinking.

Brett Clibbery says:
Aug 21, 2012 05:11 PM

What makes you think Harper isn't already on Big Oil's payroll. I firmly believe he is banking millions right now.

Stan Gauthier says:
Aug 22, 2012 12:18 PM

I'm sure harper is owned by the oil patch just as surely as the American republicans are owned by big oil and the Democrats are owned by Wall Street. The one thing you can count on from harper is endless conniving and deceipt in order to push through the pipeline. After all, this is the age of government by "STEALTH." Harper will go all the way with this, rather than lose his source of funding, even if it takes him down which wouldn't be a bad outcome. This makes our fight doubly worthwhile since we could take down the pipeline and the harper government. This would also prove to all observers that the people still have some power

Lili soleil says:
Jul 06, 2012 12:21 PM

Sense does not anter into it, it is all about money and power.

Maureen Karagianis says:
Jul 06, 2012 01:44 PM

I fully support the effort to stop Enbridge and Kinder Morgan. And I agree that the provincial election next year is key. However, I think to be credible we need to address our dependence on fossil fuels. the press will ask each of us "how do you propose living without the products that China sends back to Canada: computers, cell phones, and all the other plastic products that BCers line up to purchase. Is it really necessary to put that junk ahead of our seas, our land and our shores?!

ahssan moshref says:
Jul 08, 2012 03:15 AM

We could live with less. This idea of "you are not complete if you don't own me" is only working in the benefit of the Corporations. There is too much waste and consumption. And we have to stop living this superficial life at the expense of our environment. And the products that are send to china are done so because of cheaper labor. There is a German saying I will translate: "The environment does not need us, we need the environment.

Charmaine says:
Aug 21, 2012 05:19 PM

We need to be seriously looking into alternative energy sources! This TED presentation is quite interesting....

Steven says:
Jul 06, 2012 08:23 PM

I am sharing the blog every day and asking my Family and Friends to share also ,

Karl Hardin says:
Jul 08, 2012 12:03 AM

Thanks so much Steven! When it comes down to it, it's personal conversations with the people you care about that can have the greatest change-making impact. That's certainly been the case in my life. That's why we're so stoked here in the office these days about all of the amazing people across B.C. who have downloaded the Find Allies kit and are talking about this with everyone they know.

Ben says:
Jul 06, 2012 09:53 PM

The same thing is happening in Brazil where the Bello Monte dam is under construction. No benefits for the people living around and destruction of the nature. All profits go to those greedy companies.

Michael Gilfillan says:
Jul 06, 2012 11:18 PM

The time for putting our bodies into the gears of the all consuming corporate greed machine is fast approaching....may the creator grant us the strength (or at least the desperation)to respond as required.

esther muirhead says:
Aug 23, 2012 06:46 PM

will enuf of us go to jail for the sake of those who have no voice; the children, the earth, the ancestors? betty krawzyk has alot to inspire us on becoming political prisoners.

Mark Wilson says:
Jul 07, 2012 02:13 AM

We need to stop this madness. This is the greatest Country in the world probably the last wilderness frontier. We already no the catastrophic effects of oil world wide. It is poison yet the people behind it are free to destroy are lands, water and are health. They are no better then drug dealers. There are many alternate energy sources but they have been held down for years and continue until the oil is gone. We have people that have and are running this country like their own personel bank accounts.

Tyler Sures says:
Jul 08, 2012 12:30 AM

Endangering our environment so big industry can benefit while taking NO responsibility for the damage they cause is NOT what I VOTED FOR

David W Glavin says:
Jul 09, 2012 06:23 PM

This PC Administration in Ottawa and this arrogant Liberal administration
Both do deserve to be hung out to Dry and should be made to suffer for the
way they have made th poorest people of the poorest suffer. I Do however also say that the Government in Ottawa and the Government in Victoria are
both never going to be forgotten for the damage and harm that they have caused the people of this country of the dominion of canada. We do need the late Mr Trudeau back in the saddle as the Prime Minister once again.
Thank you
David W Glavin
Burnaby BC

Melanie says:
Jul 28, 2012 12:32 AM

Thank you Dogwood people for staying on top of this issue and being open, reasonable, and kind! Yes, the Pipeline is horrible in so many ways, but we cannot fight horrible with more horrible! Take positive, realistic action and be persistent. Thanks again :)

Karl Hardin says:
Jul 28, 2012 02:43 PM

Thank you Melanie! It's really nice to receive feedback like that. You've certainly made my day. Thank YOU. We feel privileged to be part of such an inspiring network of people standing up together for what's right and fair.

Donna Patrick says:
Aug 01, 2012 02:42 AM


Anonymous says:
Aug 10, 2012 06:03 PM

We need to stop the pipeline, this government is crazy if they think all that is important is money

Carol McIntyre says:
Aug 20, 2012 03:18 PM

Is there a bumper sticker that says "No to oil tankers on the BC coast"? If so, where do we get one?

Esa Kuusisto says:
Aug 20, 2012 04:05 PM

Building a Chinese-owned refinery is NO solution. The province still endures the same risks withe the pipeline.Leave the bitumen in the ground or if fuels are needed in Canada build or feed refineries East of the rockies.

Damian Hinman says:
Aug 20, 2012 07:34 PM

Keep up the good work everyone. I left BC in body but not in spirit. I will be keeping a close eye on how this battle unfolds. Your victory will send waves throughout the world.

Farlie Paynter says:
Aug 20, 2012 10:11 PM

Instead of spending our complete energies stopping a wrong, what if we start a right so there is no vacuum. ie Back and support a new clean energy which will replace it. There are some really good viable alternatives like cold fusion or LENR. Six companies are now in commercial production like Defkalion in Greece which may be moving to Vancouver. Quite a number of universities are testing and backing this technology like MIT, NASA etc. The journal of Petroleum Technology is predicting the fall of oil like what happened to the whaling industry in 1859 with the discovery of oil. The amazing E-cat of Andrea Rossi is staring to create a wave of interest with 1000 degree centigrade heat being produced by powdered nickel and Hydrogen gas where the nickel transmutes into copper. Check out this and study it to see if it is a valid technology.

bruce partridge says:
Aug 21, 2012 12:42 PM

Thank you Dogwood. We must act together and en masse.
As for facts, Enbridge ads say that it has a 99.999% safety record. Running the numbers this means one 10-meter long rupture every 100 km of pipeline across BC. So Enbridge is saying it will have more than twenty times as many disasters as it has had recently in Michigan and Wisconsin. Some safety record to brag about!

hirundine says:
Aug 21, 2012 01:01 PM

When people wake up and realize there is a world government, in place.

We are being duped into believing that elected politicians, actually represent us? Is naive? That a kind of "fake war" is being perpetrated. To keep the majority of people in poverty. Perhaps we need to take a closer look? At the organizations that shroud themselves in secrecy? Those that dish out knighthoods. The ones that claim, to know god.

Otherwise, it's just part of the same game of using tax-payer funds to provide infrastructure, for corporate giants that are ultimately alled owned by these elites. Justice for those same people, yet the rest have to find their own money. Whereas the lobbyists grease the wheels, for their secret handshake club friends.

Opposition? Why just infiltrate and use them, too. It's easy when it's secret!

Debbie Burkhart says:
Aug 21, 2012 02:20 PM

Keep us the great work...we need all the help we can get... from everyone. As the Dali Lama said "Leave this world a better place than you found it".

Debbie Burkhart says:
Aug 21, 2012 02:30 PM

Over the years the people of Canada and the politicians have sold almost all of our natural resources without any thought to the future...only thinking about money and profits. Let's not only take a stand against oil tankers off of our precious coast but let's start a movement or join forces to take back our food chain, stop the pharmaceutical companies from removing natural herbs, remedies and vitamins from our shelves and make the government accountable for all the dismantling of important agencies they are destroying at present. We cannot count on our government, the people of Canada must get involved and make a difference! We can do it!!!!

Rod says:
Aug 21, 2012 02:34 PM

Now if B. C. was a separate country - instead of a Province???

Will Meeks says:
Aug 21, 2012 03:18 PM

Do you have a site for us to download graphics to print out and make stickers out of?

Emma Gilchrist says:
Aug 21, 2012 05:54 PM

Hi Will. We don't right now, but that's an interesting idea! E-mail emma at if you'd like a particular graphic. Cheers, Emma

peter boxwell says:
Aug 21, 2012 03:29 PM

i know if we have oil tankers it will kill all the wild animals by the ocean and we will never recover it,s not worth it killing our oceans.

thekenster says:
Aug 21, 2012 05:23 PM

duh, the only way to ensure no tankers is to vote for the only party able to ensure it doesn't happen. A vote for the greens is a vote for Christy who is only concerned about revenue and has waffled and finally made a ridiculous cynical bid for money in exchange for an environmental disaster. Dogwood your non-partisan approach to this is equally dumb!

David Mapleton says:
Aug 21, 2012 05:33 PM

I live in Kelowna and do not hold out much hope in swaying the local MP here. Not only is he a Conservative but was also born and raised in Edmonton. The only option I can see that I have is to vote NDP next election. I have NEVER voted NDP at any level at any time in my life. But than again, living in Kelowna this will probably be just another wasted vote. I think it is terribly ironic that, on the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, we may once again rquire the aid of our First Nations people to stop the pipeline.

Robin Chambers says:
Aug 21, 2012 05:43 PM

Up-grade the Tar in Alberta, sent it and LPG to Prince Rupert That will at least save Douglas Channel and Hecate Strait. Dixon Entrance can take more traffic. Oh! Forget it, It's absolute madness to try and make a profit by transfering tar-sands from Ft. McMurray to China/Japan. We seem to be finding new 'oil' reserves almost every where. We are at the tipping point from 'fossil' power to green and companies like Enbridge know they are the last of the dinosaurs.

Mary says: says:
Aug 21, 2012 09:08 PM

I admire your initiatives. I am a member of the NDP and I am firmly opposed to more oil pipelines going to a coastal port in B.C. and the exportation of crude oil, that can lead to environmental disasters. Alternative sustainable energies must be developed in B.C. and other parts of Canada.

Elizabeth says:
Aug 22, 2012 12:17 AM

- Re: Compensation for risk -
Margaret Heffernan in her Willful Blindness gives an example of people accepting risk to their community if they saw a proposal as providing some larger common good. When offered money, their acceptance rate declined.

- What's Dogwood's take on the Kitimat refinery proposal?

Emma Gilchrist says:
Aug 22, 2012 05:50 PM

Hi Elizabeth,
The Kitimat refinery proposal is a case of taking a bad project and trying to make it less bad. We're prefer to start with good projects and make them better. There are still intractable First Nations legal issues and the problem of ramping up oilsands production to ship raw bitumen across B.C. in a leaky pipeline ... so not good enough.

Marilyn Maxwell says:
Aug 22, 2012 12:31 AM

This is so messed up! Wake up! The BC government, with approval from the NDP, is promoting fracking gas Pacific Trails Pipeline right through the Great Bear Rainforest route to Kitimat with Gas Tankers in the Straits. HOW IS THIS ANY BETTER? HOW IS THIS PROGRESS?

Harper looks like the bird that swallowed the canary. He just can't stop smiling, because he knows that he will have the right of way eventually with the gas pipeline trailblazing the way. Duplicitous! We have been betrayed! NONE of these parties will get my vote! Promote Green all the way! Go Green or go home.

giordano says:
Aug 22, 2012 09:40 AM

No one really knows the chemical content of this junk. The Kalamazoo river spill in Michigan was partly due to negligent monitoring of the pipeline, but it may also be that this stuff corrodes pipelines more than ordinary crude.

Susan Eyre says:
Aug 22, 2012 11:39 AM

No tankers, absolutely!
climate change must be factored into our futures - as it is happening already. B.C. disaster relief payments have risen from $10 mill in 2003 to $86 mill each year since 2005 - this illustrates how much our climate is already destabilized. Landslides are much more likely, and who knows what kind of amplified storms we will get on the shallow seas between the mainland and Queen Charlotte islands -DEADLY! Greater Vancouver, Victoria use your sewage and garbage to generate electricity. The delivery system infrastructure is already in place - it will take you lobbying to get the politicians to carry that plan out. I believe Victoria is going in that direction anyway. the key is to kick our addiction to oil and the products. but we do need some oil -I have tried to visualize my compute formed out of something else...hmmm. However, we have a tremendous source of oil filling up our landfills, floating on the oceans and poisoning our fish. Waste plastic -I know that reusing plastic is difficult - but if humans can get to mars, they can sure reuse plastic. but it takes we people demanding the oil companies to put their profits into research to utilize all this "disposable" plastic. People and environments and inhabitants have died for our plastic disposable handiness. Time for some respect - I had a vision of all of us taking out plastic waste to the big oil distributors - masses of it -giving the waste oil back to the companies to deal with. Yes, we are dealing with a ruthless global economy, where the 99% of us are disposable.There are ways to not contribute to this annihilating economy -#1. is moving your money from the Banks - they are big players in the economy that will slay us - so move your dollars to your local credit union, #2 -stay/ get out of debt -debt is the global economys' fodder -they need you to be in debt to fund themselves, #3 - you are powerful and likely a humanitarian wanting a healthier world -so city dwellers, as so much depends on your awareness and action: move your $ to a local Credit union, and lobby Vancouver to become a sustainable modern city by using its' waste to generate power for dwellers and electrical transport. Big money generates the myth that we need all these sources of energy -that are causing climate change -that is because they can control the supply and charge everyone $ for it. As long as all the lights are left on in cities all night - there is noenergy shortage - all a manipulative lie. Not so with your sewage resource.
China also has plenty of sewage :-) and sun.
We can evolve -we need to evolve asap. and yes, I will post and chalk -NO OIL TANKER TRAFFIC IN B.C.

Heather Myers says:
Aug 23, 2012 04:01 AM

I am Canadian but living abroad for quite some time now. Originally from Alberta I'm sure there are plenty of conscious Albertans who are against the idea of any more giant or risky pipelines anywhere - especially in their own country.
At in any rate, at the moment I have time. Is there a kit or aspect of the existing kit that I can be effective with even though I am currently not in Canada?

Emma Gilchrist says:
Aug 23, 2012 08:30 PM

Hi Heather. Our focus is on building power here in Canada, but you can spread the petition online, donate or host a film screening to raise awareness.

Herb says:
Aug 23, 2012 09:06 PM

Regarding "increased crude oil tanker traffic", what Enbridge wants to pump across our province, it actually is diluted bitumen, aka "dilbit" which is very different from crude oil!
In the event of a spill the toxic diluent will evaporate and the remaining bitumen, a sandy sludge, will sink to the bottom, where it is impossible to clean up.
I believe it is essential and critical to make the distinction between crude oil and dilbit and educate the masses to further opposition to Enbridge's Northern Gateway project.

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