Discover why Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan thinks B.C. is becoming a banana republic

There's one municipal politician in this region who consistently manages to connect the dots between international trade, domestic politics, and the local environment.

That's Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan.

Check out the video above and hear why he thinks B.C. is becoming a banana republic.

At a recent council meeting, he made his comments regarding Port Metro Vancouver's decision to hire SNC Lavalin to conduct an environmental-impact assessment.

The Montreal-based engineering company gave a thumbs-up to Surrey Fraser Docks' proposed Direct Transfer Coal Facility.

"Over and over again, we see decisions being made by bodies who are not independent," he said. "Port Metro Vancouver is conducting this environmental assessment. The majority of directors on Port Metro Vancouver are appointed by the very companies that stand to economically benefit from these decisions.

"And so here you've got a board of directors, appointed by the companies, that is in charge of the environmental assessment to determine whether they're going to make more money," Corrigan continued. "So they go out and hire SNC Lavalin to do the report for them."

[Port Metro Vancouver subsequently issued a statement saying Fraser Surrey Docks, not Port Metro Vancouver, hired SNC Lavalin.]

Corrigan pointed out that the World Bank Group has debarred SNC Lavalin for 10 years following an investigation into bribery in Bangladesh.

"Those of you out there who read a little bit out there about SNC Lavalin and their reputation would not be saying to us 'what a great idea it is that they're given the task of doing an environmental assessment to protect the interests of citizens in our country'," Corrigan said. "They certainly haven't been protecting the interests of people all over the world, or the World Bank wouldn't have banned them from utilizing any World Bank funds."

Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway, which is controlled by U.S. billionaire Warren Buffett's holding company, hopes to import coal from the U.S. to Surrey Fraser Docks, where it would be shipped by barge to Texada Island.

From there, it would be exported to Asia.

Surrey Fraser Docks hopes to increase annual coal exports by four million metric tonnes per year, with a possiblity of eventually doubling that to eight million metric tonnes annually.

Public-health officials have condemned the health-impact assessment, saying it doesn't even meet the most basic requirements.

See also: Port authority responds to Burnaby mayor

Comments (3) Add New Comment
Forest
"We can only depend on the press" to report these atrocious circle jerks on the part of multinationals. Why is this story buried in the "blog" section of the GS? And thank god for ethical and intelligent politicians like Derek Corrigan. There are not many of his kind left, which is a crying shame.
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James Buffett
You won't see this being covered by mainstream media.
Another reason to pay attention to the Straight and Charlie's writing.
Here I am sitting at the dock of the bay watching the coal come in......
Corrigan should consider running for leader of the BC NDP. he's got the experience and has run the city of Burnaby very well since he was elected as Mayor.
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Richard
I agree with Corrigan's assessment of the situation. He should seek the leadership of the BCNDP and let someone else like Sav Dhaliwal run for mayor in 2014.
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