The city an economic island

Green Party MP Elizabeth May has some questions about the Northern Gateway project.

Green Party MP Elizabeth May is wondering  how and why the federal government, which has slashed scientific research into climate change, freshwater science, ozone depletion and contamination of marine mammals (among other things) found  $78 million to spend on “the Northern Gateway project.”

This project will research how bitumen mixed with diluent will disperse in the marine environment, and will seek better weather forecasting along proposed tanker routes in and out of Kitimat. It has $42 million set aside for next year.

Question — why doesn’t Enbridge pay for the research?

Speaking of pipelines, a bevy of federal heavyweights is descending on the province to woo opponents into changing their minds. Leading the group is Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver.  Given his past muttering, I don’t see him as an effective suitor.

Attached to the pipeline concerns on land is the is the fear of a tanker spill along the coast. A recent Seattle Times story said ocean acidification (which it calls the lesser known twin to climate change) threatens to “scramble marine life on a scale almost too big to fathom and faster than expected.”  Sea water is already in bad shape from all kinds of pollution. How much can it stand?

Question; Does Prime Minister Harper discount the importance of our oceans because he comes from a prairie province?

***

Bee Hooker, among others, is angry over the city’s plans for a community forest in the Big Lake area. If I lived there I’d be angry, too. City council has not handled this project well. Question: don’t councillors realize the city is not an economic island, that we depend on our neighbours? And should treat them all with respect?

***

The province is contemplating liberalizing liquor laws. Question; why is it okay to encourage alcohol use, proven to be addictive, but not marijuana?

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.

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