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Order of Canada members from B.C. pen anti-pipeline letter

A screenshot of the letterhead of the open letter on desirebetter.org
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VANCOUVER, B.C. – Dozens of Order of Canada members from British Columbia are urging the federal government to cancel the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Bonnie Sherr Klein, Dorothy Grant, Gabor Mate, David Suzuki, and Raffi Cavoukian are among 42 members who signed a letter asking the federal government to use the Federal Court of Appeal’s ruling as an opportunity to rethink the project.

In the letter, the signatories say they are concerned about the deep divisions that have been created by how the “economy vs. climate” debate is framed.

They say they want to see investment in clean energy and a diversified economy as rapidly as possible, and retraining for those who would suffer immediate job loss.

In a recent decision overturning approval for the pipeline expansion, the court said the federal government failed to meaningfully consult First Nations and to consider the impacts of tanker traffic on marine life in its approval process.

Ottawa purchased the pipeline for $4.5 billion and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is considering options to get the project restarted.

In place of the pipeline expansion, the Order of Canada members say in the letter released Thursday that the country needs to develop a comprehensive energy transition plan that is commensurate with the crisis of climate change.

“As members of the Order of Canada, whose motto is ‘They Desire a Better Country,’ we believe it is our role as citizens to speak out about our government’s purchase and building of the Trans Mountain pipeline,” the letter says.

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“We call on the government to create an energy transition plan that respects First Nations land, resources and economic development issues, honours Canada’s commitments to the Paris Accord and includes opportunities for dialogue among Canadians to reduce divisiveness and create a future that is sustainable for all.”

The full letter can be read below.

“As members of the Order of Canada, whose motto is “They Desire a Better Country,” we believe it is our role as citizens to speak out about our government’s purchase and building of the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

We are concerned about the deep divisions that have been created by the ‘economy vs. climate’ debate as it is currently framed. We want to contribute to the restoration of civil and informed discussions on issues as contentious as this one.

The recent ruling of the Federal Court of Appeal that calls for meaningful consultation with Aboriginal people provides an opportunity to further think about the pipeline decisions, and the risks to the marine populations of the Pacific Coast, including the orcas.

We agree with the Prime Minister that a healthy economy and protecting the environment are not mutually exclusive. We propose that as a nation we invest in the transition to clean energy and a diversified economy as rapidly as possible. Working together, business, the labour movement, the non-profit sector, religious organizations, and government can generate long-term sustainable jobs in the field of clean energy. Re-training for those who suffer immediate job loss in this transition should become a public policy priority.

We want to support the hundreds of individual, community, municipal and First Nations practices and innovations in sustainable energy production and consumption that demonstrate taking care of our planet and of each other while creating fulfilling, life-affirming employment of which we can all be proud.

We believe it is critical to add our voices to the many Canadians, young and old, who also desire a better country. While we respect those who differ, we call on our government to cancel the pipeline expansion. In its place we need to develop a comprehensive energy transition plan that is commensurate with the crisis of climate change.

We call on the government to create an energy transition plan that respects First Nations land, resources, and economic development issues, honours Canada’s commitments to the Paris Accord and includes opportunities for dialogue among Canadians to reduce divisiveness and create a future that is just and sustainable for all.”

Signatories:

  • Robert Bateman
  • Dempsey Bob
  • George Bowering
  • Robert Bringhurst
  • Vickie Cammack
  • Raffi Cavoukian
  • Jan Christilaw
  • Michael Clague
  • Lorna Crozier
  • Libby Davies
  • Murray Enkin
  • Al Etmanski
  • Patsy George
  • John Gilbert
  • Margie Gillis
  • John Grace
  • Sherrill Grace
  • Dorothy Grant
  • John MacLachlan Gray
  • Judy Hall
  • Jack Hodgins
  • Margo Kane
  • Sidney Katz
  • Bonnie Sherr Klein
  • Michael Klein
  • Joy Kogawa
  • Patrick Lane
  • Alma Lee
  • Julia Levy
  • Daphne Marlatt
  • Gabor Maté
  • Roy Miki
  • Ann Mortifee
  • Cornelia Hahn Oberlander
  • David Scheifele
  • Olav Slaymaker
  • Veronica Strong-Boag
  • David Suzuki
  • Jean Swanson
  • Audrey Thomas
  • Fred Wah
  • Howard White
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