I am never one to assert my opinions on others and I've never felt compelled to write to the local paper to share my opinion, but after reading the "Need to be more precise" letter from G.E. MacDonell Abbotsford, (Jan. 17 Times), I couldn't resist the opportunity to rebuke this contradictory piece in inflammatory nonsense.
G.E. first tells us that he (or she, who knows) used to be a reporter and editor (OK, I'm impressed) and as a communications specialist for two large energy corporations (OK, now I'm not impressed). First I'll admit that everybody has an opinion and no two are alike. They are a personal rendering of our human experience and no one experiences this world the same as another. And 'Letters to the Editor' do little more than add more shades of gray to that gray matter between our ears.
I, like many, am searching for some truth in the endless stream of information, hyperbole and rhetoric surrounding the pipeline issue and the larger global issues that come with it.
Like G.E., I too would compliment Chilliwack Times reporter Paul J. Henderson for his well-written and balanced article, "Even more oil could flow through Abbotsford" (Abbotsford Times, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, Page A4.). But unlike G.E., I won't then proceed to tear the article down.
G.E. begins by 'defending' (and I use that term loosely) Kinder Morgan for the second pipeline spill at Sumas Mountain that occurred under their watch since acquiring the pipeline in 2005. He goes into great detail, describing the circumstances that led to the spill as if the four compounding human errors (he calls them 'operational mistakes'), and resulting mechanical and electrical failures would magically restore our faith in the company's safety standards as opposed to Paul Henderson's characterization that simply stated that the storage container had "failed." His argument had the reverse impact on me that G.E. had intended because I'm sure the second pipeline that is being proposed is going to have humans at the controls as well.
He also says "If I recall properly, no one was hurt or killed and no private property was damaged and there was no threat of any kind to the public at large." But I would much prefer to hear the thoughts of the local residents that were affected that day and continue living in the shadow of those tanks.
G.E. then goes on to request the reporter to elaborate on: 1, the risks of tar sands oil on our local aquifer; and 2, the risk to ocean ecosystems and local businesses by increased tanker flow in Burrard Inlet. What a moronic request. To even list these obvious risks, let alone "elaborate" on them, could fill volumes and is way beyond the message(s) that was intended in that article.
And last but not least, G.E. decides to question the "engineering credentials" of Ms. Sheila Muxlow of the Fraser Valley anti-pipeline group PIPE UP. I couldn't help but notice the lack of engineering credentials listed in G.E.'s self-intro so what could be his/her point? I have the privilege of knowing Ms. Muxlow and I know she has personally witnessed the indisputable and unmitigated environmental impacts of unsustainable tar sands development. I shudder at the state of our planet were it not for the watchful eye and concern for our future that Sheila and people like her have.
(Note: Erin Brockovich didn't have any engineering credentials either, take an honest look what she did.)
G.E. describes Sheila's educational background as "only having earned a liberal arts diploma from the University of the Fraser Valley and a bachelor's degree in International Relations and Globalization. But again, G.E.'s so-called message is lost in spite of himself (OK, I'm just gonna assume it's a him). In describing her educational background, I can now safely assume that Ms. Muxlow has learned the invaluable skill of critical thinking and is fully capable of deciphering the misleading messages and short-sightedness of all the "communication specialists" on this endangered planet.
In short G.E., your letter did nothing in helping my quest for some truth. If anything, it pushes me and my opinion the other way. Because I can still see past the next fiscal quarter, the next business cycle, the next profit-driven strategy in this so-called 'free-market economy" to a real future for my kids and yours (if you have any spawn). I'm afraid for your soul because I think you drank the corporate koolaid for too long.
I'm certain that you are just trying to protect the share value of your corporate stock options. This was a very sad attempt to spin-doctor a cut-and-dry poor safety record. And I have no delusions that this letter could change your opinion, but I'm not surprised that you are no longer a communications specialist for two large energy corporations. You're really not very good at it. Sorry, do you need me "to be more precise"?
You fail. You are a dinosaur, doomed to go where all dinosaurs have gone . . . the wrong side of history. Stick that in your pipeline.
Mike Goold Cultus Lake