First, let me thank the Terrace city councillors who oppose Enbridge’s proposal to build the Northern Gateway pipeline. For those of you who made your opposition known during the municipal elections, congratulations on living up to your convictions. It took a certain amount of moral fortitude to do so in this time of unprecedented personal attacks mounted by our federal and provincial governments on Canadian citizens who reject this proposal.
Second, let me say that the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce’s open letter to Enbridge criticizing the council’s decision is offensive in claiming to represent the “voice of business” in this community. We have endured hard times in Terrace, but being “open to business” at any costs is short-term gain for long-term pain in the case of the Northern Gateway. As the councillors said, the benefits accrue to Alberta; the risks to BC.
The chamber claims its members will have no opinion about Northern Gateway while waiting for “the objective panel of experts to assess the concerns of affected parties and contrast them with procedures and equipment being positioned to mitigate any and all perceived risks.” In other words, while pretending to be neutral about the project, the chamber has made it perfectly clear it will support it and whatever promises Enbridge makes.
The composition of the “objective panel of experts” the chamber expresses so much faith in is extremely troubling. Included are a Calgary-based National Energy Board employee, Sheila Leggett; another Calgary-based NEB employee who worked as a lawyer for an energy company, Kenneth Bateman; and a “temporary” NEB employee, Hans Mathews, an Ontario-based mining geologist.
As presenters, including MP Nathan Cullen, found out when they attempted to express their concerns to the Joint Review Panel in Prince Rupert, the process excludes any real criticisms of the proposed pipelines and tanker traffic.
Frustrated participants, continually challenged by Enbridge’s lawyer and shut down by the panel are meeting to establish a process that is more respectful of citizens’ rights to express their opinions.
Andrew Williams, Terrace, BC