Letter from Dorothy Field to Stephen Harper

Letter from my friend Dorothy to Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the question of his profoundly anti-democratic omnibus “budget bill” C-38. The bill’s major intent, among many nefarious minor intents, is to obliterate environmental groups and their opposition to the Alberta tar sands and its pipelines. Dorothy is right; Harper has badly misjudged the people and province of British Columbia. Our province is not-so-secretly a main target of the bill, but Harper has forgotten that this region spawned both Greenpeace and Adbusters out of its special and evergreen form of fractious dissent.

This letter is filed under “all time great letter of complaint” department. (For text version of letter, see the comments.)

[For those unfamiliar with this issue, all you have to know is that oil from the vast Alberta Tar Sands must be shipped out of Alberta and across someone's else's territory, and that now means B.C. With the defeat of the Keystone Pipeline that was to move oil south to (and through) the USA, that oil must now traverse British Columbia to the Pacific to get to market. This would require pipelines through mountainous (and earthquake-prone) territory, then into tankers that must traverse Hecate Strait, the 4th most dangerous stretch of water in the world, as well as the rough waters of the entire BC coast. The Enbridge Pipeline is the most publicized but there is also the existing Kinder Morgan pipeline, through which a new quintupling of oil will be travelling right to Vancouver and then through Vancouver harbour by tanker. Meanwhile, BC is being promised very little economic benefit and what's worse, no assurance of aid in cleanup for pipeline and tanker spills that are, as history has shown us, 100% likely. Not only that, but Tar Sands oil is particularly toxic, containing bitumen/solvents to make it flow. See "Kalamazoo spill" to understand bitumen toxicity. Those tankers, by the way, pass less than a mile from my place in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.]

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One Response to “Letter from Dorothy Field to Stephen Harper”

  1. LB Says:

    Here’s the full text:

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper
    Office of the Prime Minister
    80 Wellington Street
    Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

    Dear Prime Minister Harper,

    I am writing to express my distaste for the omnibus “budget bill” C-38 which is an attack on environmental safeguards, fisheries protection, due process for mega-projects such as pipelines, workers’ access to EI, food and drug regulations, health care oversight, government ethics oversight, the CBC, our Archives, etc, etc (also Bill C-10, also the dismantling of the long gun registry, also the dismantling of the wheat board, etc etc etc).

    First, to load everything including the kitchen sink into one massive 420 page which is really 60 bills bundled together makes a mockery of parliamentary process. It is in fact an assault on democracy.

    Second, to eviscerate our environmental review process is a travesty. I would like to suggest that you have misjudged British Columbians. Your preparations to ram through the Enbridge pipeline and oil tanker traffic down our coast do not sit well here. My sense is that this issue will make the Clayoquot demonstrations look small.

    I am a grey-haired 67-year-old woman who has been entirely non-violent all my life. I intend to remain so but I will not sit quietly and let the Canada I believe in be undone before my eyes. All around me I see that more and more Canadians are coming to understand your modus operandi and what it means for Canadian democracy. I’m sure my name is already on your list of people who speak out too loudly. So be it. I believe I am not alone in my determination to stand up against these drastic measures put through by your government with its bare 39% of the popular vote.

    Repectfully,

    Dorothy Field

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