Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ignatieff's oceans announcement yesterday in BC

Ignatieff's announcement yesterday in B.C. supporting a ban on oil tanker traffic in northern B.C. (Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait, Queen Charlotte Sound) seems to be getting a lot of support based on some of the news coverage. This guy (video) is ecstatic. BC residents already support the ban to the tune of 80% according to one recent poll.

As for opposition, Enbridge who want to build a pipeline to Kitimat are making noise, the Globe plays that up. The Enbridge application was filed with the National Energy Board last month so it's timely for Ignatieff to have taken a stand. Also, Gary Lunn sounds nervous, dancing all around the issue, an interesting indicator of how he may view it politically.

Note that Environment Minister Jim Prentice just made a big show of establishing a marine conservation/park area surrounding the Haida Gwaii islands and waters ("The new seabed conservation area extends 10 kilometres offshore from the existing Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve to protect a 3,500-square-kilometre chunk of the Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Shelf natural marine regions. About 3,500 species, including some designated as at-risk, populate the waters.") Ignatieff's announcement seems pretty consistent with that. How do you protect that massive conservation area without such a ban? And it's worth wondering if the Conservatives made that conservation move in contemplation of the Enbridge application for political cover.

I'm not intimately familiar with the ins and outs of the B.C. quirks here, in terms of the history of this issue, but on its face, it seems like a timely move that will be tricky for the Harper crew to deal with.

(h/t PB)