Today Briony Penn was nominated unopposed as Liberal candidate for Saanich–Gulf Islands. Briony expressed gratitude to Stephane Dion for extending his hand and inviting women into federal politics. She described Dion as the first mainstream political leader to offer this opportunity to women and she has eagerly taken him up on his invitation.
Briony believes that Canadians need Liberal creativity and problem solving. She praised the Greens, saying they have done a fabulous job at raising awareness of environmental issues, but there are only two parties that will form the government and it will not be the Greens. Briony expressed alarm at Harper’s backing away from the Kyoto accord. She lauded Stephane Dion’s three pillars approach as critical to ensuring there is an entrepreneurial, academic, and environmental sensibility in government processes
Briony stated that when she beats Conservative, Saanich-Gulf Island MP, Gary Lunn in the next election, she is going to take the take the fight for environmental sustainability to parliament. She watched horrified when the Cons got in and cut liberal environmental programs and backed away from Kyoto.
She believes her riding contains the “deepest ecological treasures in all of Canada, we love it and we cannot risk it all because of climate change and tanker traffic”. She noted with dismay that Harper has ignored the 34-year old federal moratorium on offshore oil and gas activities, which includes oil tanker traffic. Oil tankers are now transporting northern pipeline, Alberta tar sand oil, through the ecologically sensitive, Juan De Fuca straight . An Ipsos Reid poll in mid 2006 indicated that 75 per cent of the 800 British Columbians surveyed said they were in favour of banning oil tankers from the coast of BC. Briony also noted that local people are not receiving any benefits from this new increased risk to their coastline.
Briony described Canada’s social programs as pivotal to our society. The Liberal government had the skill to pay down our debt, and balance the budget, and the benefits of this fiscal responsibility were meant to provide for justice issues, health care, environmental programs, and child care.
She called on Liberals to reach out to our incredibly talented, educated and artistic seniors. They are an untapped resource and we need their creativity and assistance to win the next election. Briony finished her speech noting that people want thoughtful debate, and sometimes when you need to lead a bunch of cows across a narrow bridge, you have to get down off your horse to lead/guide them. She hopes she will be remembered for skills other than just her good horsemanship.
Briony is a former University of Victoria professor and her roots are in Saanich. She grew up on Christmas Hill and her father was a physician at Royal Oak and her mother was a teacher at St. Margaret’s School.
David Anderson, former Victoria Liberal MP and Environment Minister, introduced Briony. David also expressed deep concern about the pipeline development in North Kitimat that will pipe oil from the tar sands to be transported through the straight. He described it as a major threat to the delicate environmental systems on the coast. The capacity of the Trans-mountain is being expanded by 50% and this will increase the oil tanker traffic through Juan De Fuca. He noted that the Conservative candidate Lunn says that he doesn’t believe in oil tanker transport off the coast unless it’s safe. Anderson noted that if you look at the sinking of the Queen of the North, it is quite obvious that nothing is ever completely safe.