I voted this weekend. For the first time in my life choosing a candidate was simple.
In past elections I weighed many issues. I considered each party’s pluses and minuses on matters such as international relations, education, indigenous affairs, health care, the environment (of course) and the budget.
In the last federal election the score I determined was almost a tie. I voted (I confess) for the most charismatic candidate who promised proportional representation, which is a great resolver of ties. He heads the Canadian government now. His about-face on proportional representation made me think about voting for a different party this time.
As I considered who to vote for this week, a life or death situation stared me in the face, literally.
My home, like many on the Coast, faces Howe Sound. If the Woodfibre LNG project goes through, tankers will barrel through the sound each week with explosive power that could poison my air or blow my home to bits. The chance of an explosion is slim, but so is winning the lottery. Someone always wins.
Given enough time with LNG up and running—running more and more tankers, presumably, because companies aim to expand—the chances of an explosion will increase.
I figured that any government that allows Woodfibre LNG to proceed is threatening my life.
So I checked each party’s position on Woodfibre.
First off, the Liberals. Their position has been clear since Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, the outgoing MP for the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea-to-Sky riding, faced a full house at the Heritage Theatre in Gibsons soon after she was elected. She told the audience the Woodfibre plant was a done deal, done under the previous government, so the Liberals wouldn’t stop it.
Early this month NDP candidate Judith Wilson told Coast Reporter Radio that under an NDP government the Woodfibre project “won’t be stopped.”
I emailed other candidates to find out their position on the project. I asked for a simple yes or no on whether their party would block Woodfibre LNG.
The Progressive Conservative Candidate Gabrielle Loren responded to the question: “As far as I know, there are no platform releases that deal with this matter.”
In my voter’s mind I chalked that up as a brilliant example of obfuscation. Under the Harper government the PCs were the party that first approved the Woodfibre project.
People’s Party candidate Robert Bebb showed some guts by being more forthcoming: “The answer is no,” he wrote.
Dana Taylor, Green Party candidate for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast, emailed a more complex response. To my “yes” or “no” question on whether the Greens would block LNG, he indicated that the project is not a done deal in its entirety.
Woodfibre plans to get its natural gas through fracking, Taylor wrote. “Yes. GPC would block Woodfibre through a ban on fracking and the removal of any federal subsidies, especially tariff relief the Liberals have granted.” Okay, that wasn’t the yes or no I asked for, but that was enough.
I went to the Kinsman Hall in Gibsons and voted for Taylor. It seemed to be matter of life or death.