ENBRIDGE’S PLAN to build the Northern Gateway pipeline has become a national issue, says one of several NDP MPs touring the area this week.
“I had to come see for myself,” said federal NDP deputy leader and environment critic Megan Leslie at a forum held in Terrace last night.
“This is not just a northern B.C. issue. It’s a B.C. issue, but it’s also a Canadian issue. People back east are talking about this,” said Leslie who is from Halifax.
Around 100 people attended the forum on the environmental implications of the Northern Gateway pipeline held at the Terrace Best Western.
The event, hosted by Skeena-Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen, was part of a northwest environmental tour involving Leslie, Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca MP Randall Garrison, B.C. Southern Interior MP Alex Atamanenko, and New Westminster-Coquitlam MP Fin Donnelly.
They met with members of Terrace city council and Haisla representatives and attended federal environmental hearings into the project that were underway in Kitimat.
Today, they are taking a boat tour of the Douglas Channel to see the route oil-bearing tankers would take on their way to the open sea.
The meeting started with presentations from Forest Ethics Advocacy Group, representatives from Prince Rupert city council, and presentations from Douglas Channel Watch, a Kitimat-based environmental advocacy group concerned with the effects of tankers and pipelines on the coast.
Prince Rupert city councillor Joy Thorkelson, who is also the United Fisherman and Allied Workers’ Union representative for northern B.C., expressed the need for a “political fight” to stop the pipeline.
“I’ve been involved in a few of these [over the years],” she said. “Every time it’s taken politics, not a reasoned argument.”
Her union is advocating a cross-Canada wide protest.
Some audience members shared her sentiment, asking questions that centred around how to organize and coordinate a streamlined movement.
“There are so many efforts going on all over the place, they need to be coordinated,” said one audience member during the Q&A period. “We need to develop a plan.”
“I think that the coordination is a really good idea and the conversation between groups needs to be done, but I really think that this is a fight of the people of the north, and the fight of British Columbia,” said another.
About 50 people stayed beyond the scheduled time to discuss what to do next.