2007 January 16
For once, you'd like to see a belligerent, bloody-minded government.
The new provincial government has decided to seek intervener status in the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee (FERC) proceedings with regards to the proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals along the American side of Passamaquoddy Bay.
First, let's give Premier Shawn Graham his due. He said, prior to the election, that he'd seek intervener status with respect to the LNG terminals, and, post-election, he's keeping that promise.
However, the carefully worded press release on the issue leaves plenty of ambiguous room for maneuver from both sides. The Premier has, in the past, voiced his opposition to the planned terminals. So did the previous Premier. So have all manner of politicians from municipal right through to federal. And still, there's been no strong, official statements to the effect that there will be no LNG terminals in Passamaquoddy Bay, even if it has to take years and go all the way through the international courts.
The latest press release says all the right things, but it comes across more as a monitoring procedure, that the province will be observing what goes on, able to have input, see all documents being sent to and from FERC, and ask for a court review of commission orders.
Doesn't seem like much. But what is most troubling is the statement attributed to the Premier in the press release. He says, "As interveners, we will ensure that the potential impacts of these projects on New Brunswick, be they environmental, economic, or safety and security, are well understood and considered throughout the review process."
Hopefully, this is official, polite speak for "it's not going to happen." However, it could be taken in either of two ways. It either means "we're going to take part in the process as this comes to fruition and make sure they know we're not happy so that we can make the best of this bad situation when the LNG terminals are built."
Or, it could mean, "we're going to tell them why it shouldn't happen, and make sure it doesn't happen."
Either way, a little clarity would be appreciated. Sadly, we're in a day and age when everyone seems reticent to take a stance. Political correctness, and bloodthirsty oppositions in politics have meant that most politicians are extremely guarded about what they say, when they say it, and how they say it.
While we might all take local, municipal politicians to task for some of the things they say and do, the one thing we can say about most although not all of them, is that they say what they think, and they do what they say. Sometimes it gets them into trouble, but at the very least we should admire their willingness to act. Of course, there are councillors who don't like to take a stance, too. Perhaps they are concerned about their public image.
We have to trust that our governments are taking the right steps with respect to the LNG battle. But once in a while, it would just be plain wonderful if they just came out and made some bold statements to appease the citizens.
After all, love him or loathe him (and the opinion polls suggest the latter), President George W. Bush pretty much always makes statements that leave little to interpretation. He doesn't really care if what he says offends people. And while that in itself is offensive to some, he's actually not overly concerned by getting into hot water once in a while by making his feelings and opinions known. Right or wrong, you know where he stands.
And the same goes for other politicians. It's the bold politicians people remember. Sometimes, history treats them savagely, but at least they are remembered.
St. Andrews, Deer Island, and Campobello residents don't want to be looking out of their windows 10 years from now, sighing that the governments did all the right and politically correct things; but lost.
© 2007 Advocate Media
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.
The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB