Polar bears deliver environmental petition to Premier of British Columbia

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

On Thursday in Canada, the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC) and the Western Canada Wilderness Committee delivered petitions with over 10,000 signatorys to the Premier of British Columbia's office. The petitions ask that the government cancel the Gateway Program's highway expansions components and invest more in transit instead.

A polar bear
Image: Ansgar Walk.

The Gateway Program is a transportation infrastructure project that includes over 260 km of new highway lanes.

Over a dozen activists rallied outside the office in downtown Vancouver including two dressed as polar bears. The premier's office initially declined to accept the invitations. After the activists attempted to enter the nearby convention centre where the premier was speaking, staff working with the Premier agreed to accept the petitions.

"Translink is currently exhausting its capital reserves just to keep existing service going," said Karen Wristen, Executive Director of SPEC. "At this rate, they will be broke in two years. We simply can't afford both freeway expansion and transit development: we have to solve the transit crisis first."

"It will be virtually impossible to reach BC's commitments to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) if Gateway is allowed to proceed. Gateway is not just an irresponsible plan, it's immoral," said Ben West, the Wilderness Committee's Healthy Communities Campaigner.

Gordon Campbell
Image: Mary McNeil.

The government calculates that greenhouse gas emissions will increase by over 170,000 tonnes per year from the Gateway program.

Premier Gordon Campbell has not yet responded directly to the petition. In recent interviews he has defended the Gateway Program.

"I understand that some people will disagree with it," Premier Campbell said of Gateway on April 6 to The Georgia Straight. "But it's many, many things that are happening at once to make the region more livable, to reduce our impact and our greenhouse-gas impact, and to invest in public transit. And I think that when you take all those things together—as we move to California tailpipe emissions and those other initiatives—I think you will see actually a reduction in greenhouse gases."


Sources

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This article is based on 10,000 people (and two polar bears) Petition Premier by B5baxter which has a copyright policy compatible with our CC-BY 2.5. Specifically "All text is available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License unless otherwise specified."

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