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Victoria council deems pot good, pipelines bad

Mar 17 2012

Proposed oil pipelines proved more contentious than pot for Victoria councillors this week as they went on record opposing the former and supporting the latter.

A motion put forth by Coun. Ben Isitt supporting the taxation and regulation of cannabis passed without debate.

The resolution noted that laws against pot have fuelled “an increasingly violent illegal market with expanding organized crime involvement” and that B.C. municipalities are being forced to bear an increasing financial burden dealing with grow-ops and enforcement.

Victoria will write to other municipalities across the country and to federal and provincial justice ministers informing them of council’s position.

Victoria councillors also went on record opposing any expansion of oil tanker traffic on the West Coast, but that didn’t pass quite as easily as the one on pot.

In the resolution, which was put forward by Coun. Lisa Helps, council:

n recognized the Coastal First Nations and Save the Fraser declarations which prohibit oil tanker expansions through B.C.’s coast;

n expressed unequivocal opposition to projects by Kinder Morgan, Enbridge or any other entity that would lead to the expansion of oil tanker traffic through B.C.’s coastal waters; and

n urged the province to use whatever means available to stop expansion of oil tanker traffic on B.C.’s coast.

Only Coun. Geoff Young argued against the motion, saying he has recently seen motions cross both the city’s and the Capital Regional District’s board tables against pipelines, offshore drilling and tanker traffic.

But, he said, the reality is that all methods of producing and moving petroleum products involve risk, and until the people are willing to stop driving vehicles locally, identifying individual projects as more dangerous than others is not appropriate.

But Isitt disagreed, saying it’s important for local governments to show support for their counterparts in northern B.C. that are already on record in opposing the Enbridge Inc.’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.

Existing pipelines can accommodate domestic consumption, Isitt said.

“This pipeline is about exporting one of the dirtiest sources of fuel in the world — tar sands crude — to international markets via the fragile north and central coast of this province,” Isitt said.

bcleverley@timescolonist.com

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