Vancouver City Council will debate a motion on whether or not to hold a plebiscite on Kinder Morgan’s proposed pipeline expansion on Tuesday, May 13, 2014. Green Party Councillor Adriane Carr introduced a motion on notice to seek support to hold a referendum on Kinder Morgan’s plans to increase tanker traffic through Vancouver Waters. [Update: Vision Vancouver councillors stopped the motion from going ahead by adopting Councillor Andrea Reimer’s strike and replace motion that did not include a municipal plebiscite. None of the speakers were heard as the original motion was not referred to committee by the Council majority]
The residents of Kitimat voted in a referendum on the Northern Gateway pipeline in April of 2014. This proposed plebiscite in Vancouver would be similar and it would be used to gauge the level of public support or non-support for Kinder Morgan’s plans to dramatically increase tanker traffic in Burrard Inlet. The plebiscite question could be added to the ballot for the municipal election to be held on November 15, 2014. The municipal ballot will contain other plebiscite questions, namely the ones to ask support to authorize additional borrowing for the 2015-2018 Capital Plan.
Should the Council majority choose to debate the motion, speakers will likely be heard at the subsequent Council Committee meeting on Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Speakers can register in advance of the Tuesday’s Council meeting by contacting one of the two meeting coordinators (see the agenda for details). Adriane Carr previously raised questions about oil tanker traffic risks in Council and she also made a motion for Coal Export expansion consultation.
[Update: Below is a video clip of Vision Vancouver Councillor Andrea Reimer speaking against Green Party Councillor Adriane Carr’s original motion. Councillor Reimer clearly states her opinion that this plebiscite ‘subverts democracy’.]
The full text of the motion is reproduced below:
Plebiscite on Kinder Morgan’s Plans to Increase Tanker Traffic through Vancouver Waters
MOVER: Councillor Carr
- Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project, with its plans to nearly triple the number of tankers to an estimated 10 per week carrying Alberta tar sands dilbit (diluted bitumen) to foreign markets through Vancouver water posing increased risks of oil spills and leakages that threaten the health of Vancouver’s citizens, environment, shorelines, beaches and tourism economy;
- The export of increased quantities of tar sands oil exacerbates global warming by increasing the mining and burning of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions, threatening Vancouver’s greenest city goals of climate leadership and threatening the city through rising sea levels, acidification of the ocean, increased and more severe storm events and increased summer droughts;
- City Council passed a motion on February 28 2012 that ensure that the public has ample and appropriate opportunity to inform Council’s formal input to the Kinder Morgan National Energy Board (NEB) application;
- The NEB hearings scheduled to start in January 2015 on the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project is streamlining and fast-tracking the approval process through limiting public participation compared to previous NEB hearings by denying thousands of people who applied to participate the chance to be heard, limiting commentators to just a one-page written statement with no possibility of presenting oral statements as were allowed in previous hearing processes and not allowing intervenors to question witnesses;
- The City of Vancouver is an intervenor in the Kinder Morgan NEB hearings and it is advantageous and incumbent to report citizens views on the project, which can most thoroughly be obtained through a plebiscite prior to the hearings;
- The City of Kitimat held a plebiscite in April 2014 on the proposed Enbridge pipeline project which brought about robust public education and debate and resulted in a 58.4 per cent vote against the proposed Enbridge pipeline project with a 62 per cent voter turnout.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT Vancouver City Council add a plebiscite question to the November 15, 2014 election ballot on Kinder Morgan’s plans to increase oil tanker traffic through Vancouver’s harbour and the ocean waters adjacent to Vancouver’s shores.
MOTION ON NOTICE