Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Banning Tankers On BC Coast Is Fundamentally Wrong

The good thing with fundamentalism is, it's non-partisan.

Opposition to all oil tankers off the coast of British Columbia has shown that it's not just conservatives that can give up on moderation and pragmatism, progressives can too.

In 2008 the Conservative government passed legislation imposing mandatory minimum sentences for certain crimes. Instead of  judges determining sentences on a case by case basis, using reason to evaluate different relevant factors, Conservatives preferred that judges strictly impose an unyielding and unchanging penalty no matter the circumstance.

Progressives opposed this inflexibility for judges and rightly so, this legislation is slowly being struck down in courts precisely because of that fundamentalist approach.

And just as it is wrong for Conservatives to ignore context to implement an absolutist and ideological policy on crime, it is wrong for progressives to ignore context to support a fundamentalist policy that would ban all tankers off the coast of BC, no matter the circumstance.

Oil tankers may be risky off the west coast, and admittedly with them navigating our coastal waterways eventually some kind of mistake is undoubtedly going to happen; however to make a blanket prohibition against all tankers, regardless of situation, regardless of technology used, monetary compensation offered, or safety precautions taken, is to reject reason and to choose strict adherence to an inflexible ideological policy.

The Conservative government was wrong because its legislation treated an impoverished, less mentally capable person who made one mistake the same as a rich, intelligent criminal who had a long record. Progressives in opposing any and all tankers on the west coast are wrong because they are treating an uninsured rusty, old tanker ran by some guy named Vinnie the same as an insured, new, improved, technologically-enhanced tanker that can not only pilot itself but has been scientifically proven to have a failure rate approaching zero.

To adhere to one unchanging policy that allows for no discretion, for no alteration due to changes in circumstance is the definition of fundamentalism. Just as Conservatives were wrong in their monomaniacal pursuit of mandatory minimum sentences, so too are progressives in supporting a complete ban on any and all tanker traffic in BC waters, no matter what.

In the end though, the reason why it's good that fundamentalism affects all parties equally, and is itself non-partisan, is that it's eventual solution will be too.


The Mound of Sound said...

Interesting Scott that you deleted my comment. Any comment, blowhard? said...

Mound, I didn't delete any comments. One can look at my posts to see I don't delete comments, even the most hateful.

I think you are confusing this post with the one you commented on a few days ago.

Linda Brine said...

You must read the Vulture's Picnic, by Greg Palast. There is an entire culture of corruption re oil and profits vs environment. Take a look at the Kalamazoo spill and the blundering of Enbridge....these are the same clowns you want to set free on the BC coast...

A recipe for disaster; it's inevitable and irrevocable... said...


If by setting oil tankers free on the BC Coast you mean regulating them, holding them accountable for spills, and taxing them, then yes I would support that.

I would even support not allowing Enbridge if they refused to be held reasonably accountable.

However I do not see any rationale for a complete ban of oil tankers off the coast of BC regardless of circumstances; that seems to be an extreme and absolutist position.