Keep those uppity Canadians in their place

A response to Alex Atamanenko's August 21 article: Nothing to make light of.

To the Editor:

In his letter of Aug. 21 (Nothing to make light of), NDP MP Alex Atamanenko referred to an organization called the Douglas Channel Watch (DCW).  Being naturally curious, I looked them up.

Douglas Channel Watch has an incomplete, recently put together website with beautiful pictures of the channel but not much else.  The members describe themselves as environmentalists.

Looking for more fact-based information on supertankers, I came across an article written by Ray Dykes, a former journalist who has worked his way around the world and is now based in Nanaimo as a writer /photographer.  He can be reached at

Dykes provides some good information in his April 2012 BC Shipping News article entitled “Just how safe is our coast for supertankers?”

Here are some highlights:

“Transport Canada…and…a federal Joint Review Panel report late in February gave the proposed new terminal (at Kitimat) and its tanker traffic a green light from a marine safety point of view”.

Dykes continues, “…Californian tanker safety expert Jerry Aspland, who has won a Distinguished Public Service Award from the U.S. Coast Guard, assures viewers that the Douglas Channel and its waterways are safe.  In fact, he likens them to Norwegian channels and says the Kitimat channel is “a long passage and the water is deep, but very predictable.  The walls of the channel are straight up and make good radar targets.”

Dykes also describes the role of experienced BC Coastal Marine Pilots in ensuring the safe passage of tanker traffic.  “At Port Metro Vancouver where tankers have been successfully handled without a major accident for 97 years, Harbour Master, Voss Leclerc, keeps a watchful eye over 600 kilometres of coastline and says firmly that “marine safety is priority Number One, followed by the environment.”

A full read is available at

It’s certainly more informative than what Atamanenko provided.

Atamanenko says we should get serious about alternatives to pushing raw bitumen through pipelines and massive supertankers.  But he doesn’t say what the alternatives are.  Is he suggesting we adopt an Amish lifestyle and drive a horse and buggy?

Or is he just playing into the hands of foreign governments?  Keep those uppity Canadians in their place, eh?

Rose Calderon, Trail