Townhall Time!

pam-and-just-captions.jpgWell, MP Pam Goldsmith-Jones did it. She called for three townhalls on Woodfibre LNG. Townhalls—remember those? They were held regularly on significant development projects. Now they're a thing of the past. It seems it's easier for government to divide and conquer a crowd of concerned citizens by setting up a bunch of panel displays all around a room, with no microphones in sight. God forbid citizens getting riled-up by their passionate neighbours at the mic.


We must admit, Pam has guts for setting these up. We can't let this rare opportunity slip by. Get there early and get in your best Woodfibre LNG slams, quips, prods and facts.

This may be the last time we'll see a townhall like this.

Remember the federal government has the final say on Woodfibre LNG. We need to show them we don't want this project. We have to fill these halls up.

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Who to vote for?


The proposed Woodfibre LNG plant certainly isn't the only issue facing Howe Sound in the upcoming election—but it is a biggie. This summer we met with all four election candidates from the West Vancouver, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky riding and asked them straight-up about the controversial project. Although some didn't always answer our direct questions, we really appreciate their time!

From now until election day, we have an unprecedented opportunity to pressure these candidates to make stronger, more decisive commitments to protect Howe Sound from LNG. Although, the project is undergoing a provincial environmental review, the federal government has ultimate decision-making authority. (1) 

If there's one time politicians and candidates listen to citizens, it's right before an election. Email the four candidates and urge them to take stronger stands on Woodfibre LNG and share widely. Their stance on such an important local issue should be front and centre on their websites and mentioned regularly when at speaking engagements. It should be clear and decisive. We're about 6 weeks away from the election, they still have time to commit to stronger commitments.

One more thing voters should keep in mind before they cast their vote is recent polling. Here's a great summary of the most recent polls for the riding.

Below is our summary of how they responded to four simple questions. And farther down are their full responses. We hope this information is useful in your deliberations about who to vote for. If you appreciate our work, please share this with friends and help us to keep going by making a donation.

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Conservative Candidate John Weston—who's accountable for an LNG approval?

Weston-candy-petition.jpgWe finally met with our last federal election candidate, who also happens to be the current MP for the Howe Sound region—Conservative John Weston. As with our other meetings, we showed John our Declaration with over 2200 signees. If you haven't already, please sign and share it.

For more about the format of our candidate discussions, see our first meeting with Green Party candidate Ken Melamed. Also read our conversations with NDP candidate Larry Koopman and Liberal, Pam Goldsmith-Jones.

It's been enlightening speaking with all the candidates and we thank them sincerely for their time. Soon, we'll summarize all the candidate's opinions on Woodfibre LNG in one handy-dandy report card and share it with everyone. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and email for more on that.



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Liberal Candidate Pam Goldsmith-Jones—a gas compression station in the middle of town?

Pam.jpgOur third election candidate meeting with Liberal Pam Goldsmith-Jones felt a tiny bit rushed, but we jammed a lot into a short time. Pam had a busy day ahead and we appreciate the time she spent with us chatting about Woodfibre LNG. Like the NDP and Green candidates, Pam took a gander at our Declaration with over 2200 signees. If you haven't already, please sign and share. For more about our candidate chats see our first meeting in this series.

As a reminder, some of the questions we asked Pam came straight from you. If you have something you'd like to ask a candidate, it isn't too late. Have your say, fill out our citizen survey.



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NDP Candidate Larry Koopman--how would the clean up happen?

Larry-K-2.jpgContinuing with our candidate chats from West Vancouver-Sea to Sky-Sunshine Coast, we met with Larry Koopman from the NDP. Larry was very enthusiastic to chat with us and we showed him our Declaration with over 2100 signees. If you haven't already, please sign and share it widely! Larry was quick to point out he signed too.

This was our second candidate meeting. Last week we met  Ken Melamed from the Green Party. For more on the format of our candidate meetings and questions we're asking, see our first blog in this series.

Some of the questions we posed to Larry came from you. Do you have any thing you'd like to ask the candidates? We still have two more to meet with, so please submit your questions through our Citizen Survey.

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Green Candidate Ken Melamed—who's pulling his strings?

Ken-and-group.jpgLate last week we had the pleasure of meeting Ken Melamed, Green Party Candidate for West-Vancouver-Sea to Sky-Sunshine Coast. Ken was at ease sharing his thoughts on the proposed Woodfibre LNG plant, though he certainly took note when we passed him our Declaration with over 2100 signatures! Add your name, if you haven't already.

This was our first meeting with a federal election candidate on this issue. The format for our discussion was simple. First we asked Ken four standardized questions that we'll ask every candidate as part of this initiative. After we meet with candidates from all four parties, we'll produce a short summary of their answers and report out to you.

Until then, we'll hold off sharing Ken's answers to our four standardized questions until we hear from all the candidates, to keep things fair. We don't want any candidate to have an unfair advantage over another, by seeing these questions in advance. So, these four questions and Ken's answers are a bit of a secret, at least for now.


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Will Woodfibre LNG's cooling system threaten herring?

Herring_Spawn_Woodfibre_in_background_photo_credit_John_Buchanan.jpgMany locals say Howe Sound is recovering from its industrial past. Sightings of marine mammals are on the rise. So, why are they returning? Well, ecology is complex; but, many think the return of a little fishy may have something to do with it.

Enter—the Pacific herring.

Herring are foundational to marine food webs. They feed everything from sea birds to seals, dolphins to humpbacks, coho to Chinook salmon. It’s no wonder Orca—wolves of the sea—are doing rounds in the Sound.

However, this tale isn’t over yet. Every gripping story has an antagonist.

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at-sturdys-.jpgSomething amazing is happening around Howe Sound. People meeting new people. Smiles. Information sharing. Momentum building. It's inspiring. In the face of adversity, people come together.

It's pretty clear folks from all walks of life are opposed to the proposed Woodfibre LNG plant. Rallies are being organized. There's no shortage of letters and stories in local papers. Social media buzzes daily.

The word on the street is that Howe Sound is coming back to life. Recent appearances of humpbacks, dolphins and Orca signal an ecosystem recovering after decades of impact from industry. The towns around Howe Sound are also changing. Young families moving in, eager to explore and play outside. The outdoor recreation industries are booming. Many want the Sound to move forward, not back to a place with toxic spills and polluted waters.

One of the clearest expressions of unity and opposition to this project hasn't been reported on nearly enough as it should. All communities lining Howe Sound have spoken with a single voice on this issue. West Vancouver, Bowen Island, Lions Bay, Squamish and Gibsons have all passed resolutions signalling opposition to one aspect of LNG or another. Whether it be tankers or test drilling for gas pipelines. It's a clean sweep across the board. A wide swath spelled out in capital letters.

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Christy Clark: Stop promoting LNG and fracking to kids

In late 2014, we found out the provincial government was conducting a traveling seminar series promoting LNG in various towns across BC. Maybe they came up with this as an attempt to boost the lagging social licence around LNG and fracking. We began posting about the seminar series on social media, then a few media outlets picked up the story as it was approaching its next stop–Squamish. Science World was contracted to help during the roadshow, which targeted school kids as one of its prime audiences.

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LNG and fracking social licence slipping, documents reveal...

Rich-Coleman-memo-.jpgWe accessed a briefing note through the Freedom of Information process written for Rich Coleman, Minister of Natural Gas Development, that highlights government concern about the lagging social licence of LNG and fracking. The document concludes that misinformation about LNG and fracking is "rampant" in social media, but provides no specific analysis or references from BC.

The briefing note states:

"Misinformation about hydraulic fracturing (fracking) technology, water usage, and green house gas emissions related to natural gas extraction and LNG production facilities is rampant in the community, particularly in social media. Allowing this kind of "framing" to occur is not in the public interest as social license is eroded."

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