My Dad’s Politics

My Dad, at 83, has a sharp, clear independent mind. Growing up I was at odds with him sometimes, but I could never write off what he had to say, even as a teenager, because he would surprise me with his unique way of putting things.

Last week he shared a letter he had written “to some MPs” about Monday’s election. This time what surprised me was his clear analysis of the risks of increasing oil tanker traffic in Burrard Inlet. “Has he become a Green Party supporter, or has hell frozen and he is willing to back the NDP?” I thought. I needn’t have worried. What remains consistent with my Dad is what one might call realism on a good day or pessimism on a bad day.

I asked him if I could share his letter on this blog and, surprising me again, he said:

Yes, why not. I sent it to 5 MPs and 2 MLAs. I don’t expect it to change anything but the hazard is so obvious and the promises that no one will never again do something stupid like running into an island so empty that one has to say something.

So here it is!

On Oct 19 voters can reject the present government by voting for others to be asked to form a new govenment for up to five years in the Canadian way. I would be inclined to vote for someone who could credibly promise to stop an increase in oil tanker traffic around Vancouver. The Vancouver Sun recently outlined positions of some local candidates. I was amazed and dismayed how little consideration was given to the proposed increase in oil tanker traffic in Burrard Inlet from about 4 tankers to about 34 tankers per month. Careful management can mitigate the damage caused by small fuel spills from freighters like the recent one in English Bay, even when about 80% of a spill always escapes to pollute beaches or whatever. The proposed 8.5 fold increase in heavy oil tankers means that the inevitable major spill will happen 8.5 times sooner – perhaps in the narrows of Burrard Inlet, or on the beaches of Point Grey and West Van, or the Sturgeon Banks, or the Reifel National Bird Sanctuary, or the Fraser River delta, or the Gulf Islands, or Victoria. It is absurd to consider anything that would destroy any or all of these ecologies. A major oil spill in places like Prince William Sound or the Douglas Channel is a major ecological disaster but to unnecessarily chance such a disaster in our ecologically important area and the best place in the world to live is incredibly stupid.

The articles in the Sun offer little hope that any party will stop the Kinder Morgan/ Transmountain pipeline expansion from 300,000 to 890,000 barrel/day that would cause the increase in oil tankers from Vancouver.

NDP – would extend the pipeline hearings to use more union-dues-payers, then approve the pipeline.

Liberals – would plan the pipeline then tax the carbon and hope that the climate stops changing.

Greens – would hope that stopping the pipeline will stop climate change but would not have enough votes.

Conservatives – would try to see the spills more quickly so maybe 20% of the spill could be picked up at great cost after the pipeline is finished.

Most protests against the KM/T pipeline seem intent on stopping the use of oil so as to stop global warming but it is too late for that. With methane from melting tundra and ice caps melting on Greenland and Antarctica, sea levels will rise a metre or so in 100 years or whatever scientists guess and people will then have to cope. Meanwhile we need petrochemicals and plastics to make life possible for existing people but the oil does not have to be shipped through Vancouver. I hope that even if the KM/T pipeline is passed by the NEB the Federal cabinet will cancel it.

I hope this helps.

I love my Dad, but my opinions do differ from his.

imageI’m a little more optimistic, hopeful and…lovely?

I think in this 2015 election a vote for the Green Party, the Liberal Party or the New Democratic Party is a vote for sanity so we are free to choose the best candidate of those three in our respective ridings. I think we can live with a lot less new oil-based products. I don’t think the NDP’s first priority is to obtain more work for unionized workers.

For more about what I think about the NDP and why I voted for them go here.

For more about what I think about the Conservative Party and living in a riding with a Conservative MP, go here.

Published by

James Rowley

James lives in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada with his amazing partner, Leanne Koehn, and their two amazing kids in their beautiful house. He studied Science and English Literature at the University of British Columbia where he met Leanne. He also studied acting for a while at Studio 58 in Vancouver. He works as a teacher of English and curriculum writer for new Canadians.

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