Andrew Weaver Must Either Recant His Support of Black's Refinery or Resign the BC Green Party

Elizabeth May campaigning with Andrew Weaver in Victoria in B.C. election last year

By now, if you live here in BC, you've probably heard that B.C. Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver is supporting David Black's proposal for an oil refinery to be built in [or near] Kitimat that would serve Enbridge's tarsands pipeline. And you may have read today's rebuttal by the B.C. NDP who say Andrew Weaver's position on a Kitimat oil refinery means the Greens have sold out.

IMO, he must either recant that thoughtless position immediately or resign the B.C. Green Party. Here's a list of talking points that explain why.

1. Weaver said in the Straight interview that “B.C. Greens have agreed and accepted the five conditions of the B.C. Liberal government” for the construction and operation of oil pipelines in the province. The first of the B.C. Liberals 5 conditions is that B.C. receive adequate compensation. The Green Party, be it here in BC, across Canada and around the world, stands for certain values. Foremost among them is the respect for all living things. Weaver surrenders that moral high ground by agreeing that for the right price any or all of the chain of life is for sale. It isn't.

2. The construction of such a pipeline, regardless of what's in it, will kill the countless flora, fauna and microbes along its route. Hardly the type of thing any Green Party anywhere should ever support.

3. Building a stinking oil refinery anywhere requires a huge amount of energy, so it has a huge carbon footprint before it even starts..So does building a pipeline through B.C.'s rugged terrain. Then there's the energy required to keep the crud heated enough to be pumped across that terrain. There is no free lunch so where does all that energy come from? Remember, they won't be saving any energy by refining the crud in Kitimat, just changing its structure. So, like any refinery, the operation of it would have an ongoing footprint too.

4. Like any refinery or industrial operation, this refinery would create waste products, tonnes and tonnes of them, what happens to them? Does Tinker Bell just sprinkle them with Pixie Dust so they disappear?

5. Then there's the fact that sooner or later everything screws up including pipelines. Recent history in Kalamazoo Mich. and Arkansas shows that no matter how well intended or engineered the Northern Gateway Pipeline will too. The difference here is that those recent pipeline 'leaks' didn't happen in the middle of an inaccessible wilderness, they happened right next to highways and towns where cleanup equipment had easy access yet they still were impossible to really 'cleanup'.

6. What is the cost to BC's future eco-tourism potential, to its reputation as 'Beautiful BC' when the inevitable horror show happens? How many long term jobs will be lost, how many businesses will be bankrupted then? How many long term downstream fishing industry jobs would be lost? Why would anybody, especially the Green Party, even consider trading real long term wealth for short term profit?

7. None of the above even touches on my main objection - the inevitable death of trillions of the bio-sphere's lifeforms when a, disaster strikes, and it will.

8. A refinery doesn't mean no tankers, it might even mean more. Consider that the Geological Survey of Canada has identified a fault line along the Douglas Channel which caused a 28 foot (nine metre) tsunami that destroyed Kitimat docks in 1975, and winter storms in the Hecate Strait have 15-20 metre waves making it one of the most dangerous pieces of water in the world.

9. Weaver says it's bitumen that's the problem and that by processing the crap coming from Alberta into a lighter form – synthetic crude – before it is piped to BC would make it acceptable. Acceptable to who? Synthetic Crude is slightly less toxic and the deadly chemical condensate cocktail necessary to make the crud pump-able wouldn't be involved. All of which equals slightly less death, slightly more slowly when it all falls apart. Would that be acceptable to a party who's constituents are supposed to include every living thing?

10. It's the same argument for the whole aquatic food chain as we saw clearly from the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska [which still isn't really cleaned up and never will be]. The Exxon Valdez wasn't carrying bitumen and Exxon's lawyers made sure they only paid a small percentage of their total 'liability'. How much would BC residents be on the hook for after a pipeline destroys the unrepairable and the corporations limited liability insurance runs out?

11. What about the treaties and other rights guaranteed to the First Nations all along the route and beyond? Wouldn't it seem appropriate for a Green Party to be out front to protect them?

12. What about the Precautionary Principle? We puny humans have no idea what will happen, at best we can only calculate the odds of the most probable future events. With the inevitable disaster and its potential for losses so huge compared to the relatively short term 'profits' for a few already uber-rich investors, the application of the Precautionary Principle should seem mindbogglingly obvious as a science-based, evidence-based, warning to Mr. Weaver.

13. By adopting such a foolish position Weaver undermines the entire Green Party's image and message both provincially and nationally. Elizabeth May has worked or years to establish the Green Party's credentials. She stood beside Weaver on Victoria's street corners and in doing so lent him some of her hard earned respect. Now she too, and her national party, will be painted and tainted by Weaver's foolish position.

i may have overlooked some other good reasons [please email me yours, i'll include them in a re-edit]. But for now, i'll conclude by reminding Andrew Weaver that the only solution to the destruction of fair Gaia being wrought by human hubris is Conservation. Further that humans are addicted to fossil fuels and feeding that addiction, or any other, only worsens the situation.

For sure, as Weaver acknowledges, everything is made from embedded fossil fuels, and for sure, folks in the first world would have to make uncomfortable sacrifices like those in the third world have long been making so we in the Empire can live lives of relative luxury, and that politicians everywhere know demanding sacrifice isn't going to win them many friends or votes. But the Green Party is supposed to be different, supposed to serve every living thing not just it's human benefactors.

'Just Say No' Andrew, your position is surrender not compromise. Just recant and apologize, everybody makes mistakes, even learned climatologists. If that's not possible, for whatever reason, you must resign from the B.C. Green Party immediately.