2007 Sep 11
By BARB RAYNER
Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson, left, and Defence Minister Peter MacKay held private talks when the two met in St. Andrews during the diplomatic forum held at the Fairmont Algonquin. Both men reiterated Canada's firm stand against the passage of LNG tankers in Passamaquoddy Bay. (Barb Rayner/Courier photo)
ST. ANDREWS The recently appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maxime Bernier, says he is committed to upholding the federal government's position in its opposition to LNG (liquefied natural gas) in Passamaquoddy Bay.
The minister was in St. Andrews this past weekend to attend a diplomatic forum at the Fairmont Algonquin, and took time Sunday to meet with three representatives of Save Passamaquoddy Bay/Canada Janice Harvey, Margo Sackett, and John Williamson but, unfortunately, was unable to take a planned boat trip of the area.
Harvey said Minister of Veterans Affairs Greg Thompson, who is the MP for New Brunswick South West, had briefed Bernier on the proposals for three LNG terminals in the bay and Bernier was well aware of the government's position. She said it was disappointing the boat trip could not take place since a picture is worth a thousand words, and they felt it would have been easier for Bernier to get a sense of what they were talking about if he had seen Head Harbour Passage for himself.
SPB/Canada believes it is important for the minister to see the area so he will clearly understand the marine and navigational dangers and how LNG tanker traffic [would] adversely impact the social and economic life of the region.
The Canadian government has stated that it will not allow LNG tankers to use Head Harbour Passage, which are internal waters, to reach American LNG ports; and, earlier this year, Canada's ambassador to the US, Michael Wilson, sent a letter to the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission stating the country's opposition.
Harvey said Bernier told them he would like to come back to take the boat tour, and even though he has had briefings from his staff he felt it was important.
"Basically he is committed to upholding the government's position. He wanted to understand a little bit more what needed to be done, and we talked to him about the regulation which the government has essentially committed to.
"We need to get a move on that. He has committed to going back and asking his staff for a briefing on the status of the regulation to ban tankers.
"We took maps and showed him, so he had a sense of the area. We just gave him a sense of how the locals are thinking about it and what the government needs to understand.
"This is the first time we have met with him, and we never did get to meet his predecessor Peter MacKay. It was good to have that opportunity.
"We are very pleased with the outcome. He was very receptive, very supportive, and told us not to worry, the government is committed to it, and that kind of thing."
Meanwhile, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and now Defence Minister Peter MacKay, who arrived in St. Andrews Monday for the diplomatic forum, said the federal government is standing firm on its stand against LNG tankers in Head Harbour Passage.
While in St. Andrews he had private meetings with Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson, and the two said they would be discussing the Agent Orange issue at CFB Gagetown.
SPB/Canada is a non profit organization incorporated in 2006, representing citizens of Charlotte County who oppose the establishment of LNG terminals in Passamaquoddy Bay because of the safety, environmental, and economic threats they would pose.
© 2007 Advocate Media
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.
The Saint Croix Courier, St. Stephen, NB