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