Monday, September 5, 2011

I can understand the fear that Stewart has of the potential of a competing port opening on the Alaska panhandle in Wrangell, but I think the resolution they have brought forward to the 2011 UBCM is not really useful for anyone.

Ultimately the fate of Northwestern BC and the Alaska Panhandle are closely connected.   There are few functional connections at the moment, but if there were more the region would have more of an economic unity and protect both sides of the border form economic problems.

This is economic nationalism and personally do not think this is the sort of policy that we should engage in.   Canada benefits more from trade than the US by a long shot and BC benefits more than the rest of the country.   We are an economy that has been built to connect with the world.  


WHEREAS the State of Alaska is seeking access to the North American electrical grid through a connection to the Northwest Transmission line near Bob Quinn Lake, BC with an accompanying service road to the Alaska Border to service such a connection;
AND WHEREAS such a service road would enable access to Wrangell, Alaska leading to the potential development of new bulk cargo shipping facilities in Wrangell at the expense of developing and established port communities in British Columbia, denying these BC communities the economic and social benefits of increased economic activity in the northwest corridor;
AND WHEREAS the many mining and similar projects in Northwestern BC benefit from the taxation and investment policies of British Columbia and Canada:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that UBCM support a “Canada First” policy for the shipping of bulk argo and similar goods through Canadian ports rather than through Alaska and that the Province of British Columbia be encouraged to adopt and implement such a policy;
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that any connection to the Northwest Transmission line from the State of Alaska does not include the development of a service road or a new transportation corridor.

The Resolutions Committee advises that the UBCM membership has not previously considered a resolution calling on the Province to adopt a “Canada First” policy for the shipping of bulk cargo and similar goods through Canadian ports rather than through Alaska; nor have members considered a resolution opposing the development of a service road or new transportation corridor related to connecting the Northwest Transmission Line to the State of Alaska.
However, the UBCM membership has endorsed a policy position supporting extensions of power infrastructure to northern and remote communities. In the 2002 Energy Policy Digest, the membership supported low-cost service extensions to provide electrical power to all areas of the province.
As well in 2004, members endorsed B25 which requested that the Minister of Energy “commit to writing a comprehensive plan for extension of the electrical grid into the northwest region that considers long-term community and resource development needs.” Then again in 2008, B45 which “urged the continuance of the proposed environmental programs and projects, with a focus on the Northwest Transmission Line, namely the Terrace to Bob Quinn portion of the 287 kV line.”

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