The Saint Croix Courier

St. Stephen, NB

2006 May 17

LNG fight still on


ST. GEORGE — The federal Conservative government will continue to fight any liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in Passamaquoddy Bay both legally and diplomatically, Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson said Saturday.

Speaking at the annual dinner of the New Brunswick Southwest Conservative Association he said the government of Canada has taken a very strong position on LNG.

"In the lead up to the election, as you well know, we staked our position as a caucus before we formed government," said Thompson, noting that it was the summer of 2004 when they took that position on LNG.

"What we said at that time was we consider Head Harbour Passage internal Canadian waters, sovereign territory, and our position was not to allow the transport of LNG tankers through Head Harbour Passage for all the reasons that you know of.

"It's just simply too dangerous to put tankers through there. We're backed up by every fishing group in the community and everyone that understands that issue. I could say that in this area there would be 99.9 per cent of the people support our position, which is no."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated that during the election campaign, said Thompson, and they have restated that repeatedly and their position has not changed.

About three weekends ago, he said, the Prime Minister called him on a Saturday because he had heard rumours from officials in the Department of External Affairs on the government of Canada's position.

"He said, 'I just want to let you know, Greg, I wasn't happy with that and our position is the same — that we're saying no to LNG tankers and will use every legal and diplomatic means to defend that position'."

When the Prime Minister was at a fund-raising dinner in Moncton two weeks ago, Thompson said, he reminded the audience of the federal government's position on LNG.

"That we consider it a sovereignty issue as we do our northern waters — Arctic waters. We have stated that position. We have laid it out pretty clearly and two or three weeks ago, when Peter MacKay was in Washington, with Condoleezza Rice, he carried that message forward to her as well.

"So we know where we stand and we will defend our position legally and diplomatically, so if any of those companies are thinking about proceeding they're going to have to take on the government of Canada in an international court. I think the angels are on our side and I think international law is on our side."


© 2006 Advocate Media
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.

The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB