Re: Oil a slippery slope for cities
Tom Fletcher and North Cowichan Councillor Al Siebring are wrong to think that issues like social policy, poverty, and “heaven forbid, pipelines” are not municipal issues. In fact, they are. In B.C. municipal politicians are mandated under both the Local Government Act and the Community Charter with “fostering the economic, social and environmental well-being of its community.”
A spill from a pipeline or, in Sooke’s case, an Aframax class tanker carrying tar sands oil, would have significant impacts on the economic, social and environmental well-being of this community. And that puts the responsibility for speaking up on tanker traffic expansion squarely on the municipal politician’s to-do list, right up there with roads and water and sewer and land use.
Municipal politicians are elected to protect the economic, social and environmental well-being of their communities now and for the future, and that means those motions will continue to come forward at UBCM.
Our elected officials need to hear from the people they work for. The people who live and work here, who own businesses and raise families here, who volunteer to make our community strong, vibrant, and healthy, have a say in helping our mayor and council hear the community’s concerns about increased oil tanker traffic. As elected officials they have a legal responsibility to listen to the community’s concerns and take them forward to those who make decisions that could impact this community.
The federal Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development released her 2014 report which cited, among other things, the importance of engaging citizens and sharing information with respect to decisions about resource development.
She states, “Public participation is not just a value Canadians cherish in our democratic system, it is also an essential attribute of sustainable development.”
Protecting Sooke’s coast from the risks that increased oil tanker traffic pose is a pro-active step towards sustainable community development at all levels. And that responsibility belongs to both municipal politicians and the citizens of the community they work for. We have the opportunity to voice our concerns on increased tanker traffic along the coast with this November’s municipal ballot question. Let your politicians know your thoughts on increased tanker traffic in Juan de Fuca Strait. Vote in November’s ballot question and support your local politicians in carrying out their legal duty to protect what makes Sooke the fabulous place it is.