North Vancouver Green candidate Claire Martin criticizes Tom Mulcair's pipeline stance

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      Meteorologist Claire Martin has unleashed a storm of criticism a­gainst Tom Mulcair over the NDP leader’s open-ended stand on oil-pipeline expansion in the Vancouver area.

      “I would call him flip-floppy at best,” the Green candidate in North Vancouver told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview.

      According to the former CBC weather presenter, Mulcair hasn’t laid out a clear position regarding Kinder Morgan’s plan to triple the capacity of its existing pipeline.

      “It’s funny when you talk to the local NDP candidates: they know where they stand, but unfortunately, their leader doesn’t,” Martin said.

      Mulcair has stated in the past that the environmental review process is broken. The NDP leader has also said that he recognizes the importance of bringing Canadian oil to foreign markets. As well, he hasn’t ruled out supporting the project in advance of an environmental assessment by the National Energy Board.

      “He doesn’t come out saying, ‘No, we don’t want more pipelines,’ ” Martin stated.

      Regarding Mulcair’s point that the review process isn’t credible, Martin said: “That’s not good enough.”

      Mulcair has emerged as a serious contender for prime minister in the October 19 federal election. He is walking a tightrope in connection with the proposed twinning of Kinder Morgan’s pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby.

      Openly supporting the American company’s bid to increase its Trans Mountain pipeline’s capacity to 890,000 barrels per day could cost the NDP votes in B.C., especially in Metro Vancouver, where environmental sentiment is strong.

      If the project is approved, the number of tankers plying the waters of Burrard Inlet will increase sevenfold from the current five each month to more than 400 a year, increasing the risk of an oil spill.

      On the other hand, outright opposition to the $5.4-billion venture is politically risky for Mulcair, who is polling neck and neck with Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper, an unabashed supporter of the oil industry.

      The B.C. NDP is believed to have lost the 2013 provincial election when then leader Adrian Dix abandoned the party’s position of waiting for the environmental review to be completed before taking a stand. During that campaign, Dix stated that Metro Vancouver shouldn’t become a major hub for oil exports.

      The federal NDP is looking to make inroads in oil-rich Alberta, where voters elected their first New Democrat government in May of this year. NDP premier Rachel Notley has expressed interest in the Trans Mountain project.

      Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has said that he supports the Kinder Morgan development, provided it earns public support. The Liberal candidate in North Vancouver, Jonathan Wilkinson, did not grant an interview before deadline.

      Writing online for the Straight, Martyn Brown, a former chief of staff to then B.C. premier Gordon Campbell, said he’d like Mulcair to be as unequivocal as the Greens and their leader, Elizabeth May, about Kinder Morgan.

      “I sometimes feel like screaming at Mulcair, ‘just say that—like May does—because it is the right thing to do. You may be surprised at who might be willing to vote for you,’ ” Brown wrote.

      But then, Brown noted, “The trouble with being on the cusp of power—as the NDP now is, in lockstep with the Liberals and Conservatives—is that the power game becomes the only thing that really matters.”

      Brown also blasted the exclusion of May from the Globe and Mail debate on the economy and the Munk leaders’ debate on foreign policy as an “egregious affront to Canadian democracy”.

      The Greens’ Martin said that Carleen Thomas, her NDP opponent in North Vancouver, is “doing a great job”.

      “It’s just sad that her boss [Mulcair] doesn’t…and the party stance is so vague,” Martin said.

      NDP candidate Carleen Thomas.

      Thomas is a member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, whose main reserve is located on the shores of Burrard Inlet across from Kinder Morgan’s Burnaby terminal. In May of this year, the Tsleil-Waututh announced they don’t support the pipeline expansion.

      In an interview, Thomas dismissed claims that Mulcair is taking a cautious approach on the Kinder Morgan issue.

      “The National Energy Board process is flawed,” she told the Straight by phone.

      According to Thomas, the Conservative government has gutted environmental laws “meant to protect our lands and water”, thwarting a fair and scientific assessment of projects like the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion.



      Earl Richards

      Aug 12, 2015 at 12:30pm

      Clark has to cancel the Equivalency Agreement, so British Columbia can conduct its own environmental and ecological assessment, because the NEB hearings are deeply flawed and will rule in favour of Kinder Morgan. The NEB is completely tar sands-bought will do anything Kinder Morgan tells them to do.

      ursa minor

      Aug 12, 2015 at 4:23pm

      It's not a 'flip-flop' for Mulcair to state the review process is broken.

      Do we want a transparent, evidence-based process that leaves the politics out of the question, or do we want a biased, politically-driven process that delivers only results amenable to the government of the day?

      The NDP wants the transparent, apolitical, evidence-based process. Clare Marin and The Green Party wants the politicized process to say 'no' to everything, which is fine for the Conservatives who'll just keep wielding that rubber stamp...

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      Aug 12, 2015 at 7:37pm

      People in this part of the world want nothing to do with oil except filling up the suv with gas.

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      @ursa minor

      Aug 13, 2015 at 9:31am

      saying no to fossil fuel development isn't political, it is scientific. Fossil fuels introduce particulate matter which compromises people's cardiopulmonary health. It's a no-brainer that fossil fuels should be illegal---but then how would peasants o'er breed the earth and destroy it? Durrr...

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      You got that right Grant

      Aug 13, 2015 at 9:55am

      Your comment is all too true Grant.

      They also want nothing to do with public transit, as we know.

      Or expensive separated bike lanes.

      Or solar roofs.

      Or windmills.

      And you know what? That's all good as any greenhouse gas 'savings' from those things ranges from negligible to unmeasurable, especially on a global scale.

      Vancouver is a port. If you want to have a referendum on NOT being a port anymore.. ok go ahead. But PORTS transport things including lots of petroleum products ( as bunker fuel in ships, if nothing else). It's what ports do.

      Personally, Claire, I think we OUGHT to be transporting land mined and piped fuels to China in a boat rather than forcing China to replace that reliable supply, by engaging Russia to drill and mine the Arctic seabed.

      Maybe you can convince the Chinese to forego using oil but good luck with that. Still.. it feels so GOOOOD to be holier than the Russians, right?

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      David Williams

      Aug 13, 2015 at 10:04am

      This is how the Greens keep the NDP honest. Though many NDP friends dislike the Greens, they have some first class candidates. However, we need to get rid of Harper and Trudeau is not the man for that job. Mulcair is. Still, very good to see Greens calling the NDP on these important issues.

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      Pedro Punte de hombre

      Aug 13, 2015 at 11:21am


      I love you more the Peter Mansbridge could ever do.

      I am happy to see you keeping it green.

      Good luck with the election, but be wary of the NeoCons as your area is rife with them.

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      James Blatchford

      Aug 13, 2015 at 11:27am

      The BC weather forecast calls for mostly Mulcair throughout the province with the occasional Green gust that won't amount to much. Some concentrations of Trudeau near the water with occasional periods of Harper in the Fraser Valley, Okanagan and the North. All in all a very positive trend after decades of stagnant weather coming from the east.

      Back to you, Peter.

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      Aug 13, 2015 at 11:46am

      So what is the Green's propsed solution then rather than just stating/critizing what they think of Mulcair?

      harry grunsky

      Aug 13, 2015 at 11:52am

      flirting with peter Mansbridge on t.v. did not qualify her to be a weather forecaster let alone an m.p.

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