Despite the best efforts of Canada’s federal government to fast track oil tanker and pipeline projects, we’re closer to stopping them than we’ve ever been. We’ve got a plan to play political hardball that can finish the job, and you are a key player.
To recap, in the last six months Prime Minister Stephen Harper has labelled opponents of Enbridge’s oil tanker project “radicals,” gutted protection for fish, limited participation in future public hearings and given government the power to overrule a review panel’s recommendation.
What does all that mean? Basically, before the last federal election it was highly likely that Enbridge would receive federal approval, because projects were rarely rejected. Now, the budget bill means that Enbridge is basically certain to get the federal approvals they need.
So that’s unfortunate. But does it mean expanded oil tanker traffic is inevitable? No, because the decision over these projects has never really been a regulatory decision. It has mostly been, and is definitely now, a political decision.
The Prime Minister has made his political decision clear: he wants more oil tankers on B.C.’s coast. But the government of British Columbia has yet to make up its mind one way or the other — and has the power to stop this project. To learn more about how the province can stop Enbridge, check out this blog.
We’re not going to pretend we can change the Prime Minister’s mind, but we need to make it uncomfortable for him to keep pushing as hard as he is. At the provincial level, we need to create and leverage enough political power to ensure the province of B.C. stands up for itself.
We’re not partisans. We don’t care what flag a politician flies. We just want them to stand up for our rivers and coast. And if they don’t, we want there to be consequences.
Three Paths to Victory
We’re mapping out a detailed journey for three paths that you can follow if you want to create the political power we need to win.
1) Find Allies: The first step is growing the largest network we can of people of all political persuasions. Size is the first component of political power.
Progress: We’ve finished mapping out this mission in the Find Allies kit and hundreds of people have taken it up and are underway right now. Hundreds of new allies are joining the No Tankers network every day by signing the No Tankers petition. Currently, we’re about 105,000-people strong and more than 200 businesses have signed our business petition.
2) Find Leaders: Step Two is where we put the power of the No Tankers network into action in your local area. You have much more influence over your local politicians than you do over ministers or the premier/prime minister.
Progress: In March, hundreds of you on southern Vancouver Island wrote to your local representatives asking them to take a stand against the expansion of oil tanker traffic on B.C.’s coast. Within the next few months, six local governments passed motions officially opposing oil tanker plans.
To win, we need to replicate these kinds of actions all over the country at every level of government and that’s why a couple months ago we asked for donations so we could develop a way to put these kinds of organizing tools in the hands of citizens all over the province. Thanks to your donations, we’re mapping out a kit that will help you team up with others in your community in a co-ordinated way. There are some technological hurdles to doing this at scale, and we’re working on them as fast as possible. We anticipate rolling out the Find Leaders kit in the fall.
3) Find Resources: Money keeps the wheels on the bus. And that’s why we ask you to donate your hard-earned cash from time to time (OK, fairly regularly). In all seriousness, it’s the generosity of people like you who keep this whole thing going. We need to fundraise constantly and creatively if we’re going to pay for everything we need to keep building the power required to win.
Progress: For example, the University of Victoria SCUBA Club held a 24-hour relay and raised $4,000 for the No Tankers campaign. Stay tuned for our third kit, which will provide the tools for you to raise money to support the No Tankers cause if you so choose.
Believe it or not, the No Tankers movement started in a living room presentation to 15 people just a few years ago and now we’re working with more than 100,000 Canadians and dozens of amazing groups, following the lead of dozens of First Nations and cheering on armies of politicians who have already come onside.
Most British Columbians understand rightly, in their gut, the folly of allowing crude oil tankers on our coast. They understood it back in the ’70s and they understand it now.
Whether or not we succeed depends on people like you.
Thank you for doing the extraordinary, taking a step outside your comfort zone and being a vital part of the No Tankers movement.
We’re closer than it looks.
For the coast,
Eric, Emma, Karl & Celine
P.S. It’s quite a journey we’re on together and we know many of you have questions, so we’re hosting a telephone briefing for anyone who’d like to get more of the scoop on our strategy to stop Enbridge and Kinder Morgan. If you’d like to join, select a time that works for you and we’ll get back to you with the details.
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