Garrison kept busy with parliamentary business
Randall Garrison, NDP MP for Esquimalt/Juan de Fuca, said the end of the parliamentary session was a “rough end to the season.”
He said the opposition parties put forward 570 amendments and each and every one of them was defeated by the Conservative government.
“There was no openness to discussion, no debate,” said Garrison. He also stated there will be far-reaching effects in the riding as decisions made roll out in the next few years.
The marathon voting at the end of the session shows clearly that the Harper government is not prepared to listen, said Garrison.
The issue of a proposed cell phone tower in Sooke drew comment from Garrison. He said there is supposed to be public consultation but the federal government can give permission to erect a tower.
“We need better cell service in Sooke,“ said Garrison. “There has to be a better location than the one proposed. Sooke council should be listened to.”
He also said that more studies need to be done on the cumulative health affects of cell phone and communication towers and the overall impact on people.
“The federal government hasn’t done that yet,” he said.
Garrison was up in Kitimat for a series of hearing on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline carried out by the Joint Review Panel.
He said there were many moving stories told to the panel in opposition to the pipeline. He said the spectre of losing hundreds of jobs for the sake of 50 pipeline jobs was at the top of the list of concerns. Local jobs in fishing, eco-tourism, hunting, etc. were at risk if the pipeline goes through.
Garrison said many of the people speaking out has a strong sense of place and were not against industrial development but they were against contamination by dirty sludge.
He said Prime Minister Harper can overrule anything the Joint Review Panel recommends. Garrison said the JRP used to make binding decisions, which is no longer the case.
“Both the local people and the NDP support the liquid natural gas pipeline because it does not have the same kind of risk.
The panel has adjusted the hearing dates for some locations and set the dates for hearings in Comox, Port Hardy, Calgary and Edmonton. This portion of the community hearings will be completed by early August 2012. The hearings in Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna will take place in January and February 2013. Specific dates and scheduling deadlines for all locations can be found on the Panel’s website at www.gatewaypanel.review.gc.ca.
The panel will hear oral statements in Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna in January and February 2013. Final argument will take place in March and April 2013 and is expected to be completed in April 2013. Based on this timeline, the Panel expects to issue its report and findings on the proposed project by December 2013.
The proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Project involves the construction of two 1,170-kilometre pipelines running from Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimat, British Columbia and the construction and operation of the Kitimat Marine Terminal.