Sorry excuse for a provincial environment minister, Mary Polak, behaved strangely for any BC LIEberal during the crisis when it appeared a Russian container ship might run aground on the west coast of Moresby Island in Haida Gwaii. She said the incident showed that BC certainly didn't have a world class system in place to protect the coast now, much less when 200+ mega-sized bulk fuel (or bitumen to be more precise) carriers began to annually traverse even more treacherous waters of the Hecate Strait and Douglas Passage as Stephen Harper's petro-sheik wet dreams desire.
Usually ministers in both the Harper and Crusty Clark governments say whatever they think they can get away with on any occasion and truth and/or facts have nothing to do with it. For example when nurses in BC and elsewhere made formal complaints that they were not being trained or equipped to deal with a possible case or cases of Ebola if it should arrive in Canada or our fair province. Both Terry Lake, BC's Health Minister (who operates when out of government in a "privatized" field of medicine, veterinary medicine), and Rona Ambrose, Harper's chieftess of assisted suicide for Canada's current form of socialized medicine. almost instantly responded to the nurses' concerns with a poo-poo followed by bragging about how ready we were for such an occurrence.
Ms. Polak even came close to complete agreement with the president of the Haida Nation who said:
CHN President [kil tlaast’gaa] Peter Lantin said Friday afternoon that the possibility of an impact with land is their worst fear coming true. Lantin said the amount of time the response was taking casts doubt on the Northern Gateway pipeline project's promises of world-class oil tanker safety.
"There's nothing world class about it. The fact that 20 hours is the earliest estimated time of arrival for anybody just reinforces what we have been saying all along," Lantin said in a Skype interview from Haida Gwaii.
"The systems in place are not adequate, and it's a joke. It's a joke to think they could ramp up the amount of tankers through our territory and convince us that there's world class systems in place to respond. We're scared. We're scared about what this could mean. It's the worst scenario possible."The simple facts are that the Harper Government, instead of building "world class" marine safety systems has been reducing both budgets and personnel for the coast guard on both coasts, and is actually totally un-prepared for any threat to our Arctic coast or its sovereignty. Indeed sometimes it seems that Harper won't be happy until our entire marine navigation and rescue operations are run by two or three guys monitoring screens in Regina.
As it turned out it took almost two days for a tug capable of actually towing the Simushir under storm conditions to arrive on the scene and it was just dumb luck that that tug was available as close as Prince Rupert to begin with. Of course Fisheries Minister Gail Shea responded that "luck had nothing to do with the situation." But then isn't that pretty well what one would expect her to say. Between the Harper and Christy Clark governments it is difficult to imagine more overpaid and unqualified people pretending to run things.
Nathan Cullen, the NDP MP for Skeena-Prince Rupert was much more accurate when he said:
"......only good fortune prevented a disaster before help could arrive. Local fishermen say the usual wind patterns following storms in the region are westerlies.
"If that had happened like it normally does, that ship would have run aground and we'd be having a very different conversation this morning,
If dodging a bullet doesn't wake you up, I don't know what will. It's important for Canadians to understand how close this was."
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