The Northern Gateway chronicles

So the Prime Minister publicly deferred to science, but the Department of Fisheries might not be able to provide proper scrutiny of Northern Gateway’s impact.

The marine contaminant group that would have been involved in a spill in B.C. has been disbanded and the fisheries and environmental legislation gutted, said Otto Langer, a retired fisheries department scientist. “[Harper] says the science will make the decision. Well he’s basically disembowelled the science,” said Langer. “It’s a cruel hoax that they’re pulling over on the public.”

Former federal Liberal fisheries minister David Anderson agrees. Given the Dec. 31, 2013, deadline set by the federal government, Anderson said scientists in the Fisheries Department simply don’t have time to complete any substantial scientific study of the project. “You can’t do these studies on the spur of the moment. It takes time to do them,” Anderson said. “And the federal Fisheries have just been subjected to the most remarkable cuts, so you’re in the throes of reorganization and reassessment and re-assigning people, and on top of it you throw them a major, major request for resources and work. It can’t be done.”

Meanwhile, David Black’s suggestion that a refinery might be the answer was met with questionsconcerns and criticism, but Thomas Mulcair seems to see promise in refining our own oil.

In a radio interview Saturday, Mulcair suggested that efforts to add new refining jobs in Canada would become a “win-win” situation for the oilsands industry and the rest of the country. “But I think that overall, the idea of adding the value in Canada, developing, upgrading, processing, refining, our own natural resources is a good one,” Mulcair told the CBC’s weekly politics show, The House. “That’s what we should be working on together.”

Conservative strategist Rod Love says Enbridge should suspend its application. And the United Church joins other religious groups in opposing the project.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.