2006jan27_conservatives_win.htmlTEXTR*ch&r5y Conservatives win, LNG may end up losing -- The Quoddy Tides, Eastport, Maine

The Quoddy Tides

Eastport, Maine

2006 January 27

Conservatives win, LNG may end up losing

by Susan Esposito

With the election on Monday, January 23, of Conservative Leader Stephen Harper as their new prime minister, Canadians chose a man whose party platform has said no to liquefied natural gas (LNG) ships traveling through Head Harbour Passage.

One of the members of that minority government will be incumbent MP Greg Thompson of the New Brunswick Southwest riding. He received 18,155 votes or 54.8%. His closest challenger, Liberal candidate Stan Smith of St. George, received 8,879 votes or 26.8%. Andrew Graham of the NDP garnered 5,178 votes or 15.6%, and Green Party candidate Erik Millett picked up 923 votes or 2.8%.

"Back in September 2004, the Conservative Party and its leader said no to LNG tankers going through Head Harbour Passage," points out MP Thompson. "We articulated that we'll use every diplomatic and legal means possible. We're on very firm legal ground, and the decision we make is based on what is in the best interest of Canada."

Thompson has spoken several times to Richard Hoffman, director of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's Division of Gas — Environment and Engineering, including the time Hoffman visited Robbinston, where the community recently voted in favor of allowing an LNG terminal to be constructed there. "Mr. Hoffman has told me that if Canada says no, that would effectively kill the project. That's the position the new government will take." LNG terminals are also proposed at Pleasant Point and Calais.

"This is not an anti-American issue. It's not a safe location," stresses the MP.

"Canada is doing more than its fair share to provide energy to the U.S.," adds Thompson. "We have [LNG facilities] providing [the U.S.] with energy needs. Every bit of energy from every single one of the LNG facilities on line here goes to the U.S."

Thompson expects Canada's relations with the U.S. to improve with the new administration.

"Prime Minister Paul Martin allowed relations to sour [with the U.S.]," he points out. "Eighty-five percent of everything we export from New Brunswick Southwest is purchased by [U.S. customers]. Some of the legislation passed [in the U.S.] to affect the Mexican border, we see applied to the Canadian border. This could have been avoided. Someone from here should have been down in Washington. We shouldn't be looking for reasons to point the finger and bypass diplomacy."

"We need to recognize our neighbors and our strengths and put personal issues aside."

St. Andrews mayor responds to election

John Craig, mayor of St. Andrews, says, "Today marks the beginning of the end for all liquefied natural gas terminals being proposed for the beautiful Passamaquoddy Bay. With Stephen Harper as our newly elected prime minister and our MP Greg Thompson being re-elected, our bay will be protected by disallowing and banning any and all LNG supertankers from entering through Head Harbour Passage. This area is not only risky and dangerous but, most important, is Canadian waters."

"This is good news for St. Andrews, which over generations has been built around the beauty of the bay and the tourism and fishing industry. There is not room on Passamaquoddy Bay for any industry that will threaten our way of life and endanger our children's future."

"As I have said in the past, it does not matter what results come from votes in Robbinston, Calais, or any other community on the American side; what matters is what our prime minister says. Today we have a new prime minister who has promised to protect the Passamaquoddy Bay from the LNG threat, and our town awaits that good news. It is my hope that I will have the pleasure of standing next to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and our MP Greg Thompson when he makes that announcement."

Will McKenna replace Martin?

One of the names being mentioned as the possible leader of the Liberal Party, now that Paul Martin has resigned, is Frank McKenna. The former New Brunswick premier is currently serving as Canada's ambassador to the U.S.


© 2006 The Quoddy Tides
Eastport, Maine
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.