Well the people of Kitimat, and by extension the citizens of BC, had their say yesterday, April 12/14. They held their own plebiscite and said “NO” to the Northern Gateway Pipeline. Now granted this is a non-binding vote but it still goes down in the books as citizens taking action and rejecting a potentially serious threat to their community. The plebiscite was not without controversy and the source of a lot of derision in the community but then many folks were being fed false information. And the level of detail was sorely lacking however many of the people living there know the landmarks and where able to filter fact from fiction.
This process of misleading by eliminating detail is showing up with greater frequency these days. In fact in many cases it is complete misinformation. The Northern Gateway pipeline is a prime example of that. Case in point a cursory look at Enbridge’s PR campaign demonstrates just how embellished it has become. Enbridge had removed almost 1000 square kilometres of islands from the Douglas Channel. That is the Channel these large tankers would have to navigate in order to collect the bitumen coming out of the end of the pipeline. The Douglas Channel is part of and opens into some of the most pristine ocean environment in the world and needs protecting. This abuse of detail is an insult to our collective intelligence.
The Douglas Channel is where super tankers have to maneuver through to get to Kitimat. Douglas Channel is not a big catch basin as presented in the Enbridge ad but a very convoluted section of small islands and channels. Premier Clark, in your concern over the Northern Gateway could you look at this one?
Then we have Prime Minister Harper insisting that this pipeline will be “based on science and not politics”. Premier Clark, could you ask the PM how he hopes to do this when his government has completely gutted Fisheries and Oceans in BC while your government quietly sat back. Over the past four years the federal government has sent letters to 92 habitat staff members within Fisheries and Oceans in B.C., telling them that their positions will be cut. Thirty-two of them were be laid off outright. The west coast Coast Guard has been decimated. And there are more coming!
All but five of the province’s fisheries field offices where cut as part of a $79 million — 5.8 per cent — cut to the department’s operational budget, including the offices in Prince George and Smithers. Those are the offices that would have had the lead in monitoring pipeline effects. 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. The cuts will mean the department in B.C. has half the habitat staff it had a decade ago but in the future they have to babysit this pipeline. Premier Clark when is your government going to take a position on the gutting of these protective services?
Premier Clark, do you really believe that the average BC citizen should march blindly forward and run the risk of an environmental disaster based on the blatant misinformation and contradictory facts being presented to us? Do what the citizens of BC elected your party to do, protect the interests of BC and the rest of Canada. Bring some principle back into government permanently rather than just providing lip service to the citizens of BC and Canada!
Campaign promises seem to be a dime a dozen but are valued in pennies when it comes to keeping them. In other words they go the way of the penny which is extinction. Premier Clark, words are easy but actions are dramatic and speak volumes. And to the citizens of BC, if you are as upset over this as me then go to the Dogwood Initiative website and register your outrage. It is only through the power of each citizen can we do what Kitimat has done. Sign the petition today!