Editor, The Times:
This letter is in response to the March 29th letter to the editor, titled “Kinder Morgan should quit Trans Mountain twinning.” The letter was by Nelson Riis, M.P. for Kamloops and area from 1980 to 2000.
I can’t believe that our editor would allow such a pack of idle threats and false statements to be published. I guess Mr. Riis has enjoyed his big fat federal M.P. pension for so long that he has forgotten that in Canada we live in a democracy.
There are several statements in his letter that I would like clarified:
1) “Spill experts predict a major spill along the B.C. route would cost $40 billion in direct costs.” Who are these “spill experts?” They wouldn’t by chance be half a dozen Greenpeace protesters who just completed a weekend course on civil disobedience would they?
2) “150 First Nations in opposition.” I happen to know of lots of First Nations in favour of the twinning. Could Mr. Riis please name the 150 First Nations who are opposed?
3) The letter gives the impression that the people in the Lower Mainland and along the B.C. coastline are the only ones who have any say in what does and doesn’t pass through the Port of Vancouver and out through the strait. Let’s make something very clear; the tidal waters of all the B.C. coast are Canadian and remain Canadian out to the 200 mile limit, where they become international waters.
4) “10,000, 20,000, 30,000 people protesting.” Is that 10,000 people protesting on three different days? The letter goes on to say, ” When these masses of women, children, and men stand up to stop construction, and they will, what can be done?” To me, that is a threat, and I’ll tell you what can be done. Everyone has the right to peaceful protest, but defying a court order should be a federal offence. Those people should be finger-printed and given a criminal record. Their second offence should result in a $10,000 fine and one year in prison.
5) The letter paraphrases the mayor of Burnaby: “Trudeau gives permits but communities give permission.” Mr. Riis goes on to say that B.C. residents will simply not give their permission, ever. Is that another threat, Mr. Riis? The mayor of Burnaby seems to think that he is a big frog in a little pond, but when it comes to the National Energy Board he will find out that actually he is a little frog in a big pond. As the mayor of Burnaby will find out, the National Energy Board gives out permits AND permission.
In closing, I must say the “best” comment in Nelson Riis’s letter was, “Thirty-four tankers a month with each being 250 feet long or 2 1/2 football fields.” I notice he signed his address “Ottawa, Ontario.” This tells me two things: football fields in Ontario are a lot shorter than they are in B.C., and Jesus Christ wasn’t born in Canada because they couldn’t find three wise men from the east!
The Rambling Man