Dear Mr. Strahl:
As my local representative in Ottawa, I am disappointed in your response to the peaceable demonstration held Oct. 31 at your office facility on Vedder Road in Chilliwack. (Note the Halloween theme, in keeping with the day's festivities.)
Chilliwack is witnessing growing support for organized and critical evaluation of tar sands impact on our and others' communities across B.C., including: Kinder Morgan's clandestine use of their existing pipeline for transport of tar sands oil, and plans to twin that pipeline and vastly increase transport of "dilbit" across B.C. lands; Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway pipeline which poses an even higher-volume risk level to that same pipeline issue; and vastly increased oil tanker traffic in our coastal waters, placing our communities and ecologies at great risk.
An email received today from Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz confirmed city hall's inclusion in the areas of concern that particularly strike at the local level. Mayor Gaetz included reference to this webpage on the city website: www.chilliwack.com/main/page. cfm?id=2140.
Anecdotal evidence of this support level in Chilliwack includes the hundreds of friendly waves, thumbs-up and honks from passing motorists during lunch hour (Oct. 31) while we expressed our concerns outside your office. Yes, there were also one or two "birds" flipped at us as well-and we respect the right to hold and express all points of view (if not respecting the tactic used).
It is much more difficult for us to respect the viewpoint of our own Member of Parliament, not only declining the pre-event invitation to address the group but actually locking up the official MP office for Chilliwack during that time. That was unacceptable, and I reproach you Mr. Strahl for that lack of accessibility and unwillingness to put your constituents ahead of Parliament Hill agenda.
Canadian citizens and B.C. residents that express concerns and oppose ill-considered and unchecked expansion of activities that pose risks such as tar sands oil are not "radicals" trying to "hijack" processes important to Canadians, as Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver so inappropriately chose to state earlier this year.
Here in B.C. polls indicate that residents who oppose pipeline and tanker traffic expansion are in the majority-and this includes many of your constituents Mr. Strahl.
I urge you to reconsider your stance on this important issue, and to support the call for critical examination and due diligence in expansion proposals put forth by tar sands' interests.
Wayne Froese Chilliwack
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