The “LNG or Bust” campaigners have done far more than drive a one-time BC HandiDart bus from Fort St. John to Ottawa, by way of Edmonton, Calgary, Regina and Winnipeg.
They have met with MPs, have handed nine boxes of pro-LNG petition letters to Bob Zimmer (MP for Prince George-Peace River), have put “FSJ for LNG” stickers to extensive use, and have made a public impression on and around Parliament Hill.
Their campaign continues today, now joined by BC MLA Pat Pimm (Peace River North) and supported by poster-ads in Ottawa from “FSJ for LNG” and bus-stop ads from the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of BC and from Pacific NorthWest LNG.
The five crew members who set out from Fort St. John on May 23 are just “regular people” with this message to the federal government:
"We represent the unemployed and under-employed workers of North BC and Alberta whose friends and families are affected by delayed decision on the Pacific North West LNG, and the oil and gas pipelines that will bring our resources to market. We think the human side is being lost in the economic numbers and environmental politics. . . .
“Most of us are from Fort St. John BC where it used to be that anybody who wants to work could find work. Now unemployment in Fort St. John is the highest in British Columbia. The need for action on the part of government is urgent.”
“Urgent.” But let’s look at Ottawa’s stunningly slow “progress” on the Pacific NorthWest LNG project proposed for Lelu Island, Prince Rupert.
Pacific NorthWest LNG filed its formal application with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) in February 2013.
The CEAA then posted it publicly on 19 February 2013. That action kicked off a government-and-public review process that, we were told at the time, could take two years.
So where are we now (as of June 2, 2016)?
- 3 years, 3 months, 15 days (1,200 days);
- And still no decision from cabinet is expected until late December.
(In contrast, Cheniere Energy got U.S. approval for its huge Louisiana LNG plant in 442 days.)
When we first heard about Alan Yu’s plan to drive to Ottawa, our reaction was “Are you nuts?”
Commentator Dean Pelkey had a different question, which he put this way:
“With Fort St John showing its support for LNG, it appears the social licence is there. The question is, will Justin Trudeau and his cabinet listen?”
On that, we still await the answer, after 1,200 days and counting.