Burnaby voters should be concerned about the views of Daren Hancott on the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion. The question put by the NOW to mayoral candidates was “what conditions would need to be met to make it appropriate for the city.” His “I don’t know” answer was a bit of a stunner.
The restraint of Burnaby First Coalition politics – some on his slate are pro-pipeline, some are not – is no defence.
Indeed, faced with a fractured team you’d expect him to at least offer a middle-of-the-road position. The fact that he could not strongly suggest he doesn’t really understand what has been going on in Burnaby over the last few years.
Unable to answer the NOW question, he did what some politicians do when caught up short. He attacked his opponent. And it was a poor effort at that.
What’s worse, by trying to label the pipeline as a phony issue created by Derek Corrigan, he effectively invalidated the concerns of many voters in the community: the possibility of land and water oil spills, a massive increase in tanker traffic, the lack of a “world-class” spill containment capability, the doubling of the oil storage facility, the toxic nature of bitumen, to name but a few.
And, yes, it’s quite possible that, of the “several thousand residents” Mr. Hancott says he spoke to on the doorstep, only six raised the issue of Kinder Morgan. But, of course, all that tells us is that he didn’t raise it himself.
The pipeline expansion project is an election issue. Of this there is no doubt. There is too much evidence and history and struggle that cannot be ignored or disputed, much less denied. If on the off chance Mr. Hancott thinks it is an issue limited to a small corner of Burnaby, he would do well to review an Insight West poll conducted in late September. Commissioned by the City of Burnaby, that scientifically based poll found 68 per cent of Burnaby residents were against the pipeline expansion, an increase of seven per cent over a similar poll conducted in June.
Significantly, the poll found that the more people became aware of concerns around the pipeline, the less they liked it.
Need it be said that people are likely to do the same when it comes to politicians.
Bill Brassington, Burnaby