On June 19 at the entrance to NW Community College Longhouse some thirty women dressed in black with blue solidarity scarves around their necks, gathered to show their condemnation of the Enbridge Pipeline project. Inside, an event, Women Building Communities, sponsored by Enbridge Inc. was taking place. This was the very day when Enbridge’s Athabasca pipeline was spilling 230,000 liters of heavy crude oil southeast of Elk Point (Alberta).
I joined the gathering to show my total discontent with Enbridge tactics and its Northern Gateway Pipeline (ENGP) project. For two hours we sang songs, and discussed the fundamental shortcomings of the ENGP project.
We were also protesting against Enbridge’s attempt to propagandize Terrace women about it. I believe we were acting ethically, legally and morally. We did not prevent the event from happening; we simply exercised our rights and responsibilities as citizens to do what good people do when faced with monumental threats, stupidity and bullying – we chose to bear witness.
I am hoping we sent Enbridge a strong message – the message that people in Northern BC are not for sale and no amount of brain washing or free lunches will lure them to support their senseless project.
Enbridge, funded in the hundreds of millions of dollars, mainly by Chinese oil interests, is attempting to force a monumentally bad project on our communities, despite an overwhelming opposition. They have bitterly divided the Gitxsan community by convincing a single Gitxsan leader to buy into their project, virtually absent of any meaningful dialogue about the project within the Gitxsan community. Enbridge has misrepresented that single person’s judgment, claiming it shows and fully represents the support of the Gitxsan for the project. They did essentially the same with the Metis community, which resulted in dissension, resignations and bitterness. They have disrupted everyday lives of thousands of people, as Canadian citizens have had to organize themselves to protect their families, interests and likely the well being of future generations.
Enbridge has successfully lobbied to have the federal government gut the laws and policies protecting wild pacific salmon. They have repeatedly lied that they transport oil safely and reliably. The recent findings of the US government in regard to the Kalamazoo oil spill reveal Enbridge’s corporate culture to be frighteningly similar to that of British Petroleum. Instead of the world class safety programs they claim to have, Enbridge values profits over safety—to such an extent that their activities may be subject to criminal prosecution. Their own executives in charge of safety told US investigators that Enbridge is “years away” from having a legitimate “world class” safety system.
I could go on. The point to drive home is that Enbridge’s are not nice people; they are a rather sloppy and inept company having a lot of trouble keeping oil in their pipes and out of our rivers, and they are trying to run roughshod over our communities. They have wasted our time, disrupted and polarized our communities, and taken energy and resources away from the necessary tasks of building a strong, diverse and sustainable economy.
Ann Parker, Terrace, B.C.