Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Ibbitson, Anderson and the Drilling

I am happy the story is picking up steam.

Ibbitson, over at the globe has this recap at the end of his story today.

Now for the buts.

The offshore-drilling question had absolutely no bearing on the decision to demote Mr. Anderson, insists Scott Reid, Mr. Martin's acting director of communications. "We had a larger caucus from British Columbia. Mr. Anderson had served with distinction for over a decade, and the Prime Minister had to make some tough choices," he said. "There is nothing more and nothing less to it."

And if you believe that, I have a bridge from Victoria to Vancouver I would like to sell you.

And there is another argument against this analysis: The question of offshore drilling is so contentious, both in British Columbia and across the country, that the best thing in a minority government might be simply to shelve the issue until after the next election.

Mountain, meet mole hill. Newfoundland already has off-shore oil, and any argument against BC having it reeks of Eastern attempts to keep the west down by economic repression. NAFTA killed Eastern monopolies on western consumers, which was followed by a depressed dollar which had a similar affect. The east has got to let the west do its own thing. The time has come. Leave us alone.

Nonetheless, the fact remains that the champion of the moratorium is gone, and there is no voice left in cabinet to speak passionately in its defence.

There is, however, one voice who will speak passionately from the back bench. Mr. Anderson may no longer be environment minister, but he is still in the government. And he intends to speak his mind.

I believe the expression is "pissing into the wind".

The Province (i know, i never link to these guys) has a more Shamrocks! type view on the whole deal:

Shuffle lets B.C. explore oil, gas options
Replacing David Anderson in cabinet with Stephane Dion allows Ottawa to take a new look, David Emerson insists

Ian Bailey
The Province

Prime Minister Paul Martin's cabinet shuffle has positioned Ottawa to take a new look at opening up offshore oil and gas exploration for B.C., though not to abandon the cautions of the ousted environment minister, says the new industry minister.

David Emerson, also appointed co-senior government minister for B.C., said yesterday he has been speaking to rookie Environment Minister Stephane Dion about the controversial issue.

"His view and my view is we ought to have a look at that file and review it and not make a commitment at this stage, one way or another," Emerson said from Ottawa, hours after being sworn in. "It's something that has to be considered by cabinet, but it is an opportunity, as with many other files, to have a look at it."

Emerson said he thought ousted environment minister David Anderson was "absolutely right" in trying to make sure there was a body of scientific knowledge to guide development that supporters suggest could be an economic boon for B.C. worth billions of dollars.

A 33-year-old moratorium has blocked such development, although a recent study by the Royal Society of Canada suggested B.C.'s offshore oil potential in the Queen Charlotte Basin could be worth about $110 billion.

I believe that $110 B figure is a little low. I don't believe anyone for a second thinks that oil prices are going to be depressed anytime soon, do you?

Just out of curiousity, isn't it funny that the guy who lobbied so hard for pushing for the moratorium was the guy in charge of the file for so long? I mean, did the Liberals ever expect to have offshore oil get a fair hearing from David Anderson? Of course not. If it will take 10 years to develop the off shore oil, we could already have the infrastructure in place if the liberals had started it when they got into power.

As it is, the north is suffering because of them. Not to mention all their lacklustre attempts to reign in the pine beetle infestation, softwood or alcan crises in the north. Oh what? You haven't heard?

Thank god we don't have proportional representation, or these issues would never surface> its bad enough as it is.

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