Houston, we have a problem, a "world-class" problem.
To understand the problem it is necessary to understand what we are talking about. The expression ought to define something that is "best for Earth and all the people and things on it."
We continue to hear the expression in relation to the Northern Gateway project.
Enbridge would have us believe they will build a "world-class" pipeline, with "world-class" safety measures. New and improved spill-detection technology is just one in a long list of "world-class" safety measures that Enbridge would have us believe they are capable of.
In what world is a project that has the word "spill" in it world class?
My favourite is "world-class" safety measures, things like double hulls on the supertankers scheduled to carry massive amounts of bitumen through some of the most challenging and dangerous waters on the planet. A lot is being made by the oil industry and our decision makers of double hulls as a "world-class" safety measure. Double hulls are in fact a minimum requirement that is already law, and has been for several years. Minimum requirements are not in the same universe as "world class."
There is a lot of confusion and debate going on about the project, especially after the Joint Review Panel's approval of the project. Make no mistake, our decision makers and the oil industry will ensure this project goes ahead.
There is a great deal of talk about "world class" from Enbridge and our decision makers regarding this proposal. As far as I know there is only one definition of "world class," and nothing I see leads me to believe there is anything in this proposal that is "the best for Earth and all the people and things on it."
Loss of caribou habitat to build and operate this pipeline does not fit the definition of "world class." Damage to salmon and seal habitat from potential spills is not "world class." Misleading advertisements are not "world class." Systematically dismantling environmental rights is not "world class." Demeaning and disregarding First Nation rights and culture is not "world class." Profit at all cost is not "world class."
So, what can we do about it? The problem lies squarely on our shoulders. We have created this culture where "world class" has no meaning. We have created this culture where the dollar is more valued than the planet. We have created the atmosphere that allows people to make less than "world-class" decisions that impact the planet.
The Northern Gateway will prove to be one of those defining moments in history, and whether it proceeds or not will shape the world for future generations. My actions will shape the world for future generations.
I will work to figure out a different "world-class" solution that really is "the best for Earth and all the people and things on it." There are alternatives.