It was inevitable.  Our current conservative government is bent on approving any energy related projects, no matter what the potential environmental impacts might be, and no matter what we, the people of BC, really want.  With the recent disappointing approval of the Northern Gateway Pipeline, we are left feeling that our thoughts and opinions don’t matter and that Alberta’s long-term goal of energy dominance is all that really warrants consideration.

Coast Panorama - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Coast Panorama – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Imagine, if you will, our pristine coastlines and ocean views covered in a thick, black tar.  The toll on the local wildlife and our incredible landscapes would not be evident at first in the event of a spill, it might take years before the realization set in that this special place was forever changed in a way that is irreversible.  Economic opportunities are the key consideration, above all else.  And the worst part about it is that not only would we be the ones left to deal with the mess that I am personally highly skeptical could ever be really remediated, but we see almost none of the financial benefits of the project as a whole.  I know for near certain that me and my family will find no benefit, but stand to lose everything we love.

Commercial Ships Moored - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Commercial Ships Moored – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

All it takes is a few minutes spent researching the topic online to learn quickly that even though “the powers that be” seem to be happy to state that “everything will be fine, don’t panic”, the truth historically when it comes to pipelines in general is far from clear-cut.  As a collective community, all it takes is to bring up the Exxon Valdez to know that even after 20+ years since the incident, the lasting effects are still being felt in the area.  Trying to ignore those truths is an exercise carried out by our current government and those in control of the oil industry, and those of us who try to use common sense know that there’s far more to the story.

Commercial Ships Moored - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Commercial Ships Moored – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Who will explain to our children and our grandchildren that once this area was one of the most naturally beautiful areas in the world?  Will an empty promise of a better life placate them and the destroyed habitats?  Will the oil executives who are ultimately responsible for all this come to our shores and help with the clean-up?  I suspect not.

We’ve all heard the proverbial expression “you can’t unring that bell”.  Basically, it means that once an event occurs, it’s too late, nothing can be done to rectify the situation.  There is so much anecdotal evidence out there that oil tankers and pipelines are fraught with danger in terms of the environmental impacts of breaches, and that they are frequently poorly maintained.  In all reality they are just ticking time-bombs waiting for a nice day to go off.

All hope is far from lost, my friends, but the real battle is yet to begin.  In essence, we need to undo the decisions made in Ottawa on our behalf (and once again I stress, without any of our input).  During the hearings that took place over the course of the federal studies, in many cases the panels were behind closed-door meetings and were structured in such a way as to absolutely ensure no voices of dissent were introduced in the discussions.

At this time, we stand behind our friends at One Cowichan and the Dogwood Initiative as they creatively and constructively begin their daunting tasks of fostering initiatives to bring this story to a direct halt, and undo the damage that has been done so far.  Please become involved if you can, it’s only through these channels that we have any hope.

Here is a list of related news articles compiled from a variety of online sources discussing this project, and similar ones, and the challenges and dangers they bring to our beloved shores:

Northern Gateway pipeline’s doubled-up challengeEnbridge pipeline project has 2 pipes, one flowing east, one west, carrying 2 different products

Northern Gateway would up risk of whale strikes: biologistA marine research group says humpback and other whales are already victims of vessel strikes

Kinder Morgan backtracks from oil spill benefit claimKinder Morgan is on the defensive over a proposal to expand its Trans Mountain pipeline through British Columbia, after the company was ridiculed for saying an oil spill can have positive economic effects

Confidence falls in safe transport of oil, polls suggestPipelines have most support, but confidence in Ottawa’s ability to protect environment slipping

Northern Gateway pipeline report ‘flawed,’ 300 scholars tell PMOpen letter from scholars to Canada’s PM Harper says report is so flawed, it’s essentially useless




  1. avatar Julia Madison says:

    Our multi- billion dollar sustainable BC economy is directly threatened also. What fisheries will carry on after oil spills? Salmon, prawn, halibut, crab etc.as well as recreational fisheries and all the boat building , motels etc etc. Then theres our tourism. Cant see German Swiss, and the like coming to visit and spend time in oil slicked dead province.

  2. avatar Edith Levy says:

    That’s terrible Toad. We need to make the collective voice even louder so that we’re heard. Your pictures are a testament to the beauty of the area. More people need to be exposed to them.

    • Thank you so, so much Edith, I know that all BC’ers who are against this project really appreciate your support. Thanks a ton for taking the time to visit us here!

  3. avatar Averil says:

    It was a very sad day. We must stand up for our environment before we look back an wonder why we didn’t 🙁

  4. avatar Lisa Gordon says:

    This is really very sad indeed, and things such as this are happening in the U.S. as well.
    You live in a truly beautiful area, and I am so sorry that this is happening.

  5. Great article Mr Toad. The money starved (lol) power mongers (Harper and his clique) are obviously on the wrong side of history here. They are going to be stopped by means much more civilized than the underhanded tactics they have used trying to get their way. Let us hope that BC’s Clarke government has the sense to support the majority view in this province.

  6. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    This is happening everywhere Toad. The beauty of our planet is being marred a little at a time with no end in sight. I often think of what our forefathers would think of the world we live in today. There is no easy answer as the world’s population keeps growing resulting in more and more energy needs. I guess that if there was an answer, it would have been implemented by now. Sorry to hear that your beautiful island is dealing with this.

    • Thanks ever so kindly, Len, that means a lot to us up here. I love your comments about our forefathers… I know for sure that my grandfather and his father would not be amused these days. The economy and energy issues are definitely a challenge these days, but does that require us absolutely ruining our beautiful natural landscapes? And as someone else mentioned above, if (or more likely “when”) a spill happens, it’s not just the environment, it the entire tourism industry and so much more. Many thanks for your wonderful comments today Len!

  7. avatar Rachel Cohen says:

    So sorry to hear this Toad! That’s a sad state of affairs when the powers that be make such horrible decisions! I hate to see such a beautiful place be scarred and ruined by big oil companies! I hope the peoples voices will be heard above the governing powers decisions! My best to you and everyone in this struggle!

  8. avatar LensScaper says:

    A sad day indeed, Toad. Profit and Greed drive so many decisions these days in big business. Morality is so often sidelined. I don’t like these attitudes but how do we counter them.

    • Thanks so much for your kind support, Andy. You pose a great question here my friend, one that many of us are pondering and facing these days. We really appreciate your kind visit and comments, thank you!