Bill Rees slams Stephen Harper over Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline

The Vancouver-based creator of “ecological footprint analysis” believes approving pipelines such as Enbridge’s Northern Gateway one cements Canada’s reputation as “an exporter of climate change”.

“It’s unethical and it’s immoral,” Bill Rees, a retired professor in UBC’s department of community and regional planning, told the Straight by phone. “We get the benefits, and other people will pay the cost.”

Rees said he’s aware of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s recent comments made to media while visiting B.C. that science, not politics, will decide whether the pipeline is built.

“If science is going to decide the pipeline’s fate, then this is a dead issue,” Rees said. “In fact, we shouldn’t even be having this conversation. What Harper means by that is that the impact assessment will be considered and not all of it [the science]. The impact assessment isn’t looking at climate change. It’s looking at the local effects of the pipeline along the track, or the right of way, of the pipeline. What’s off the table is that we shouldn’t be burning that fossil fuel in the first instance.”

The Straight left a message for Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore, who is also the regional minister for B.C., but he did not respond by deadline.

Enbridge has proposed building twin pipelines carrying condensate from Kitimat to the Alberta tar sands and bitumen back to the northwest coast.

Rees maintained that the Harper government will ignore or suppress any science it doesn’t like, including research on climate change, and that it will approve the project in cabinet, thanks to new powers given to it through Bill C-38. He claimed that this would lead to “riots”. Rees said that to stop the pipeline, the riots would have to “come first” and be intense enough to make Harper aware that “the government will fall if it approves it”.

“The world we live in is in pretty dire straits,” Rees added. “We’re precipitating crisis after crisis, and at some point the people will wake up to this.…Every increment of growth causes more harm than good. So in fact, we’re now growing, but it’s now uneconomic growth.”



Justin Flontek

Aug 8, 2012 at 5:24pm

harpo's science = bs!


Aug 9, 2012 at 6:30am

Harper's comment about a "science-based" decision led to the biggest derisive laugh I have had in a while.
Pretty tough to do good science when your hands are tied due to budget cuts and you are faced with a gutted Fisheries Act thanks to bill C-38.
But it won't be a political decision. That phase has been completed.


Aug 9, 2012 at 7:26am

Harper? I'd rather have Herpes!


Aug 9, 2012 at 9:18am

"Bill Rees Slams Stephen Harper"! Oooooh Scary stuff!! That`ll teach him.

Zen Cat

Aug 11, 2012 at 5:02pm

in my opinion the northern gateway pipelines would be an accessory to mass ecological destruction of our environment and species. we are at a time now where human beings must be wiser than we have before about the ways we live if we want to continue to live. we can from history instead of repeating it. it doesn't take a scientist to realize that oil contamination kills life on contact. get off this addiction to oil. this greed is like an accessory to murder. the people that support these pipelines are like puppets who have sold their souls for fools gold. the public have until august 31, 2012 to voice their opinion. do it now before it's too late. stop using oil. stop the pipelines. there are other solutions to using oil. do something new now. stop harper now. stop enbridge now. we've gotta do something now before it's too late.

Scathing U.S. report missing from Northern Gateway hearings