Saving the BC Coast

Coming in off the ferry from Vancouver to Nanaimo

Crystal clear water... low tide at Rebecca Spit with Cortes island and coastal mountains on the horizon

Although I happen to live in Ontario, I am a Canadian. I care about all of Canada, including B.C. and wonder what will happen if the people who value oil profits above the environment get their way.

What those who seek to reap profits in the short term fail to realize is that the environment is our real capital.

If we squander it now, in the long term we will be left with nothing.

Tanker Free B.C. is having a letter writing campaign in the run-up to the impending B.C. provincial election. If the citizens of B.C. elect a government that stands up for the environment, it could make an awfully big difference to the environmental outcome.

If you live in B.C. you can use this link to write to the candidates to let them know that you care.

When humans wreck the environment, it impacts on us all. So even though I can’t vote, I’ve thrown in my two cents. I’ve edited Tanker Free B.C.’s letter into something suitable for those of us who live in other parts of Canada to send. Because everything is connected, and, as Canada’s coat of arms points out, our great nation runs from sea to sea.

Dear Candidate for BC Premier,

As a Canadian who values the “Supernatural” province of BC (and the $13.4 Billion tourism economy it enables) I am gravely concerned about American pipeline giant Kinder Morgan’s plans to transform Vancouver into a Tar Sands shipping port.

History proves that all oil ports and pipelines experience spills –
no matter what safety measures are promised.

Approaching the unspoiled BC coast

The estimated 35 long-term jobs from an expanded oil port pale in comparison to the hundreds of thousands of jobs dependent upon a clean coast. We cannot market ourselves as “The Best Place on Earth” while running one or more oil tankers every day through our harbour.

The pipeline and tankers risk harming BC’s coastal communities, marine ecosystems, and natural wealth, from the Fraser River Delta and productive farmland, to the Gulf Islands and Victoria. The pipeline would travel through the heartland of BC – through Kamloops, Merritt, Abbotsford and Surrey, over farms, forests, rivers and streams – exposing them to spills similar to the recent disasters in Arkansas and Michigan.

Such a large percentage of the world’s finite supply of fresh water lays within Canadian Borders, it is unconscionable to risk it for such short term gains. The pipeline threatens the future of Canada, as well as the planet. Allowing Kinder Morgan’s expansion means more Tar Sands development, the world’s dirtiest fossil fuels, driving global climate change. I worked hard raising my family; I want my descendents to live in a country they can be proud of.

The Coast Salish people understand all these risks better then anyone and have voiced their unequivocal opposition.

British Columbia deserves a leader with the vision and courage to chart a course for British Columbia based on clean technologies and a sustainable economy, a leader who can guide the transition of our society from fossil fuel dependence and resource extraction toward self-reliance, renewable energy, effective public transit, local food production, and value-added manufacturing.

B.C. deserves no less than a leader who recognizes the real value of British Columbia – a leader who will fight to keep BC “Supernatural”. Canada deserves no less. Please keep Canada clean and secure.


Laurel L. Russwurm

Dog looking over the side of the boat

As always, you’re welcome to use any or all of my letter, please help yourself.

Once upon a time they thought the ocean fish in the maritimes were an inexhaustible resource. Endangering the natural beauty of our world is bad enough, but damaging the environment puts us all at risk.

Twenty percent of the world’s freshwater supply lays within Canadian borders, but only about 7% is considered renewable (available and usable). Tar sands, fracking and pipelines all endanger our water supply.

If we squander our environmental capital for the sake of short term profits we ravage the legacy we should be leaving for our children. How much is the destruction of Canada worth?

The next generations must be able to drink the water and breathe the air.

A dog is silhouetted on the deck, staring off across the water

a horizontal border of red graphic maple leaves

Further reading:

Image Credit:
All photographs by Valerie Glendenning released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

One thought on “Saving the BC Coast

  1. Laurel; Your article and points intersect with so many issues that a 20 volume encyclopedia couldn’t cover half of them.
    My main concern with exporting Canadian oil to Asia is that Canadian citizens will not benifit from the resource like we should. Our politicians seem highly concerned with very short term gains, I suspect that may have a lot to do with their terms of office (An ‘unemployed’ politician has no value to multinational corporations). I cannot abide the thought of Canada being sold wholesale to the global markets without even processing jobs staying here!
    Yes, our tax consumption requires that we should sell our resources to the world. I could live with that, inspite of Holland (with no natural resources) having a better social safety net?? What I cannot live with is the fact that Canadian Politicians are acting as if “our” national resources are “theirs”, to sell or barter!

    I am in favour of exporting oil to the global market in order to break the stranglehold of the American spigot in our oil barrel. That has cost Canadian taxpayers and Canadian oil producers many billions of dollars over the past few years. (Canada has essentially been subsidizing the US).
    As a side note; tarsands oil has already been exported from Vancouver for several years.

    I suspect that environmental activists have been paid to prevent the construction of new refineries in Canada. A refined product, produced in Fort McMurray and then shipped by pipeline to the West Coast would seem the most logical solution. It does not seem that will happen.

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