The newly implanted CVRD CAO Brian Carruthers probably thought he finally arrived when his shop received correspondence from the infamous Howe Street, the Vancouver equivalent to Toronto’s Bay Street and New York’s Wall Street.
But upon opening that bit of Howe Street correspondence any thoughts of new found stardom would have been quickly dashed.
Instead, the strongly worded diatribe’s letterhead bore the logo’s of the Malahat Nation and their “partner’s” Steelhead LNG.
The unprecedented “demands” by both the Steelhead VP of Business Affairs and CEO of the Malahat Nation from their Howe Street Corporate office reads as follows
“Steelhead LNG and the Malahat [sic] hereby demand that the board recuse itself from any matters, and in particular, any decision making, related to the proposed Malahat LNG project.”
That’s right, some gassed up Howe Street corporate hack “demands” the ENTIRE CVRD board down tools and leave the room when and if Steelhead’s “absurd” project proposal (as defined by the delegation who presented details of the LNG project to the CVRD Board at last nights meeting) ever hits their desk.
It seems passing strange that the letter was neither sent nor signed by the Chief Caroline Harry and Band Council.
This obnoxious display of utter hubris was Steelhead’s reaction to a month old motion tabled by Cowichan Bay’s Lori Iannidinardo that simply set the starting point for anyone considering proposing LNG export related facilities here in the pristine environs of the tourist mecca known as the Cowichan Valley.
Last night’s board meeting was attended by an overflow contingent of concerned citizens who carefully listened to the “ameliorating” message contained in a motion deliberated “in camera” and drafted by CAO Brian Carruthers.
Carruthers, who still cannot decide whether or not his staff have met with the LNG proponent in the standard operating procedure of pre-application meetings (much more on this to come), has been busy working overtime to overturn Director Iannidinaro’s strong but fair warning to those who wish to transform the Valley’s constituents little piece of paradise into a behemoth floating gas station for the economic well being of foreign interests.
The CVRD Board’s unanimous support of Ms. Iannidinardo’s anti-LNG export facility motion was simply the modern day equivalent of placing heads on spikes as a deterrent for those who consider embarking upon this path.
Yet the hapless CVRD CAO decided to bury the already begun application process as both the CVRD chair and dithering director Matteus Clement admitted was already well underway and set about undermining the will of the Valley’s elected officials.
Instead of taking the board’s clear and unambiguous directive the CAO took it upon himself to spend taxpayer’s money on a legal “opinion” that countered the reality that there was nothing wrong with anything the board had done to date as confirmed by renowned lawyer Jack Woodward QC.
The CAO’s play was designed to gin up the Board’s purely political motion as some sort of legal obstruction to the will of the mighty Steelhead’s preposterous LNG proposal. And in so doing leverage the board to back away from the motion that clearly well represents the desire of Cowichan Valley’s majority.
The letter’s outrageous and unprecedented demands to sideline the entirety of the Cowichan’s politicians in one fell swoop well embodies the corporate sense of entitlement of today’s big oil and gas outfits. However in making such ludicrous demands this LNG wannabe just blew up any chance of ever achieving the required social license for their misadventure.
CAO Caruthers has still not released the legal opinion he sought and you paid for that drove all of these ridiculous shenanigans, however it hardly matters, because the only legal opinion the good folks of the Cowichan Valley need now is a determination on just exactly who this guy is working for.
Kevin Logan has written exhaustively about LNG developments in BC, some of which has been republished at this blog. Click here to read his historical but now more relevant than ever analysis.