The Saint Croix Courier

St. Stephen, NB

2006 November 24

EDITORIAL: Legislation needed now

Actions do, indeed speak louder than words.

There are plenty of voters in the province — oops, that's nation — of Quebec, so it's natural that the Prime Minister is trying to woo voters there with yet another statement to the promise province. Next thing you know, Quebec City will be the new capital of Canada.

Whether or not the Prime Minister is serious about the state of Quebec or simply trying to garner votes is another thing. After all, talk is cheap.

It's one of the reasons why there's a story in today's newspaper about liquefied natural gas. It's the story that won't go away. And one of the prime reasons why it won't go away is the fact that, when someone slams a door, it's closed. If they don't and it's still slightly ajar, it can be opened.

The LNG proponents are working — correctly — on the principle that while there have been things said about the LNG from St. Andrews to Ottawa, there's really not been anything totally official.

Charlotte County communities can say what they like, this is something that's got to come from Ottawa. And it's got to be more than just words. Yes, the Prime Minister is on record as saying no. But that's not the same thing as passing legislature that backs it up.

The LNG companies in Maine are not waiting for that to happen, they are forging ahead. They are sending in paperwork. They are wooing the people of Washington County. They are becoming part of the scenery. It's an awful lot easier to dislodge them when they have no foothold. Now they not only have a foothold, they're starting to grow roots.

As they plod through the process, there are already signs they are looking at 2008 to get things under way. Actually, that's only 13 months away, which isn't a long time.

And every month that slips by with LNG slipping under the Canadian government's radar is another month closer, and another opportunity lost.

The change in government in the U.S. might actually help in some respects, such is their apparent emphasis on such things as tidal, solar, and wind power. So maybe they won't put up as much of a fuss if the Canadian government digs in its heels. Which means that the time is ripe for the legislature that opponents of LNG on both sides of the border have been waiting for.

Governments around the world seem to get more vacation than schoolchildren, so the actual number of months the legislature has to be passed is even less than 13.

The words have been said, they're on record, let's get them on paper. Let's make the LNG paperwork include fighting the Canadian government position as well. Not only might it delay the entire process, there's the chance that some LNG companies will either give up or not have the funding to take the fight through each successive stage.

Better to keep them tied up with legal wrangling than actually have the Canadian opponents, even the governments, have to be the ones taking the LNG companies through the courts.

The government may have bigger fish to fry, but this isn't an issue where the parties will fight. It's not even going to be front-page news — except in southwest New Brunswick. It's legislation that should pass easily with the support of all parties. But people in Charlotte County need to be able to look upon the government's stance with satisfaction, not nervousness, which is the current case.

The fight goes on, and yet the fight should be almost over.

Why is it taking so long to take this next step?


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

The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB