The Saint Croix Courier

St. Stephen, NB

2007 February 27

It's OK to change direction

It's a sad, and likely ultimately a very lonely person who cannot admit to mistakes and make an about turn.

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once famously said, "This lady's not for turning," in reference to her never changing her mind once it was made up. It was a statement that definitely did not endear her to the population.

Premier Shawn Graham has been under attack for firstly not coming out shooting with respect to the passage of liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers through Canadian waters. And then he came under attack for altering the stance somewhat and saying something different. Now he's under pressure for taking a strong anti-LNG stance with statements calling on FERC to pull the plug on the LNG companies in Passamaquoddy Bay.

He's taken a course, and now no one can be in any doubt as to the provincial government's opinion or stance. So it's time to back the Premier on the issue, regardless of how he got to his present stance. The only criticism that could possibly be leveled at the stance is that how it came about wasn't overly transparent. People like honesty, and Premier Graham would look very good to the public if he came right out and explained all the steps that led to what appears to be a big about face. But regardless,his anti-LNG stance is more than welcomed.

Undoubtedly, the LNG companies themselves will continue along their path. FERC might not take the blindest bit of notice. Some politicians south of the border might increase their blatantly wrong statements comparing apples and oranges to make an argument that's about as solid as air. Of course, that endears them to their own population, and it's not unusual for being wrong to look good if you're saying things people want to hear.

But how an LNG tanker passing through Head Harbour Passage is considered innocent passage, disturbing nothing on its route, is incomprehensible.

Now is the time to up the pressure on FERC to ensure liquefied natural gas is restricted to places where it's appropriate. If New England wants 50 LNG terminals, great. Go for it. In places where it makes sense. Or, how about Nantucket, Cape Cod, and the Acadia National Park. Easily accessible, and no petty foreign countries involved. Sure, they're pretty, ecologically sensitive, and controversial. But that's not stopped them trying to rape the similarly important Passamaquoddy Bay....

FERC can do the right thing, and it even has an out, by saying that the energy needs of the region will easily be met by existing and planned LNG terminals. The only problem is that some people want to turn this into a political issue, so that the U.S. can't be seen to lose face against another foreign country. And we know it doesn't pay to upset them. Ask Afghanistan, Iraq, and maybe, if the reports are true, even Iran. Surely they won't bomb Campobello?


© 2007 Advocate Media
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.

The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB