Organizers of a recent Nelson event cite a May 30 report from the Calgary Globe and Mail on a pipeline spill discovered May 19 in Northern Alberta.
“The spill ranks among the largest in North America in recent years” and had yet to be contained, the Nelson group quoted the article.
The Nelson Chapter Council of Canadians have indicated in a submission to the Castlegar News that they’ve been “concerned over the increase of oil spills and the potential risks posed through the carrying of raw tar sands crude (bitumen) in pipelines from Alberta tar sands to the coast of Kitimat.
“The pipelines are intended to cross unstable B.C. mountainous terrain as well as more than 785 rivers and streams to be exported to Asian markets on tankers with a holding capacity of up to eight times more than the Exon Valdez.
“These tankers are planned to travel through 185 kilometres of some of the most dangerous and unpredictable waters in the world. To build community awareness, alarmed members of the Nelson Chapter Council of Canadians have taken charge and have held a forum.” The event drew a turnout of 250 according to the press release.
Organizers said the “very successful” forum included “live, musical and multimedia presentations along with speakers who presented diverse and often disturbing impacts related to the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline and Alberta tar sands production. The speakers also informed the audience about possible First Nations and community actions along with sustainable solutions.”
“Bringing growth to B.C. through training and new jobs that deliver sustainable economic and social benefits,” is one factor in the pipeline’s favour according to literature contained at www.northerngateway.ca. “A partnership between First Nations and Enbridge is an important bridge between Aboriginals and industry for mutual long term benefit,” it is also stated on the website.
“New jobs, support for local communities, world-class safety standards and a strong economy,” are some of the things Enbridge says will come with the construction. “It’s more than a pipeline. It’s a path to our future.”
In a late 2011 press release, Enbridge touted the creation of a $1.5 million fund aimed at training aboriginal workers for pipeline-related trades.”The Fund will support training initiatives that focus on pipeline construction skills – skills which are highly transferable and allow for employment in multi-industry environments.”
Back to the Nelson forum, “First Nations speaker Billy Jo Bray, President of Visions for our Future, opened the forum with a Sinixt prayer and stated that “we are not separate from our Earth.” She stressed the ‘importance of finding connection with Mother Earth; with one another; and with all nations.’”
“Panel speaker Megan Anderson, 26, was one of the key organizers and chair of a well-known gathering in Revelstoke where MP David Wilks was a speaker.” It was at this event where the controversial Bill C-38 (whose passage may be a matter of weeks away) was focused upon. Passage of the Bill is expected to reduce hurdles pertaining to environmental safeguards, speeding the approval process of projects such as the Northern Gateway Pipeline.”Anderson hopes to continue to encourage Canadians to write and talk to their MP’s to reach the 13 other MP’s needed to vote against Bill C-38, as indicated by Mr. Wilks in Revelstoke.
The Nelson press release quoted Art Sterritt, Executive Director of the Coastal First Nations, as stating that “more and more average everyday people are realizing how the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline will profoundly change their lives, and each day more people are fighting for democracy and for their say in what happens in their province.”
The event was sponsored by the Nelson Chapter Council of Canadians, Kootenays for a Pipeline- Free BC, and Kootenay Region Branch United Nations Association in Canada.