My second letter to Christy Clark

Dear Premier Clark—Christy,*

I was glad to read in this morning’s Vancouver Sun your statement that the Northern Pipeline proposal “poses too much environmental risk for British Columbia while not offering enough economic benefits” (July 21, 2012, A4). This being so, I hope we will soon see a statement from you to the effect that your government opposes the construction of the pipeline. You will find all the economic back-up you need for this position in economist Robyn Allan’s paper (An Analysis of Canadian Oil Expansion Economics,

The Sun article also contains this very astute statement.

“BC aboriginals also stressed that [Enbridge] making an announcement [that they were going to spend $500 million on upgrading “safety” standards]  after nearly a decade of work on the project calls into question Enbridge’s previous statements they were building the safest pipeline possible” (p. A4).

This tells me once again that it is the First Nations who are leading the way in opposition to the pipeline. They point out that Enbridge has been saying that its safety standards were state-of-the-art, by implication unimprovable. Now, all of a sudden, Enbridge has found $500M to invest in further safety upgrades. That amount tells me how much they expect to make if the pipeline were to go through, against which $500M would be a drop in the bucket.

At the same time—and this is where the concerns of British Columbians as taxpayers, or, better, shareholders in the beauty and well-bring of our glorious Province, come to the fore—Enbridge has the gall to insist that the clean-up of any oil spills in coastal waters would be the responsibility of the Province. Since the cost of the Kalamazoo clean-up of 2010, still in progress, has already passed $800,000,000 US, this is no minor consideration.

We are at a critical moment in the history of our Province. Those who believe that oil is the key to our energy needs can feel the hot breath of history on the back of their necks as more and  more the world turns away from this viewpoint. Part of their push for the Northern Gateway pipeline is the desire to see it built before public awareness of the need to focus on alternative sources of energy makes it impossible. My hope, of course, is that their anxiety is well-founded, and that it will indeed become impossible.

In this moment you play a critical role, perhaps the most important role of all the stakeholders in the issue. If you do decide against the pipeline, as I hope you will, you will receive significant unhappiness (doubtless a mild word!) from the Prime Minister. In such a situation, you should know that you will have the full support of those of us who have expressed our opposition to its being built.

This letter comes to you with all good wishes as you carry out your heavy responsibilities.


Don Grayston

Rev Dr Donald Grayston

Copies:  Adrian Dix, MLA, Terry Lake, MLA, John Horgan, MLA, Kai Nagata, journalist

* To the reader who reads this in the Premier’s office: see my letter of July 11 for this form of address.

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2 Responses to My second letter to Christy Clark

  1. diannedesr says:

    I learned from the Suzuki Foundation website that in addition to sending an email to our leaders, viewers can also register their opinions with the National Energy Board Joint Review Committee on the Enbridge Northern Gateway project website. Hearings on the project will continue into 2013, but the deadline for public comment is August 31, 2012. See

    I am also inviting viewers to explore this link concerning Ethical Reflections on the Northern Gateway Pipeline just published July 2012 at

    Of special personal significance to me is this article crafted by Jennifer Moreau posted in the Burnaby Now issue of Aug 24, 2012, “Looking Back on a Lost Way of Life in BC,” featuring Ernie George, hereditary chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the reasons for the Tsleil-Waututh Nations’s opposition to the expansion and twinning of Kinder Morgan. See

  2. I do not usually comment. However, gotta admit thank you for the
    post, for this special one.

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