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REPORTING · 18th January 2012
Walter McFarlane
At the Regular meeting of Council on January 16th, Councillor Phil Germuth brought forward a motion to survey the people of Kitimat and find out what they think of Enbridge.

”I would like to make a motion to request a survey of the Kitimat residents regarding the Enbridge Gateway Project,” said Germuth.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff through an amendment to the motion onto the table before Germuth could discuss his motion. The amendment to the motion would delay the survey until after the completion of the Joint Review Panel (JRP) Process.

Feldhoff explained this was an issue which came up during the election forum and he promised that he would support a survey after the people of the community have had a chance to get all the information from the JRP process.

Councillor Rob Goffinet expressed the completion of the JRP Process would be the recommendation to the Federal Cabinet. However, it there is a public process as well. 4000 individuals will be commenting on this process in the next year. Goffinet wanted to know if it would be at the end of the public process or the recommendation.

Feldhoff said it would be at the end of all the submissions and the report to the Federal Government.

Germuth stated he could not see the point of waiting for the JRP as most people have made their mind up as to whether they support the project or not. He expressed Council should have a basic awareness of what the community thinks and where they stand.

Goffinet said if the survey is too early, they do not have the ability to hear both sides and become informed. However, if it is done to late, after the JRP is complete and the decision is made, asking the community what they think could be too late.

He suggested doing this survey early enough to go into the decision making process, but not too early so people can have a chance to hear all the issues. If they wait until after the final decision is made, the results of the survey do not matter.

Germuth said they had the JRP hearings and he does not know how many people are watching the hearings. It is just a motion to gather information, not to handcuff council to one decision or another.

Feldhoff said the Council already has a good idea on where the community stands based on what they heard during the all candidates debate. The community is not hearing the weight of the different viewpoints. The community cannot give the hours and hours to pay attention to the JRP Process. He expected the JRP to make a recommendation to the two ministries.

“The perfect time for the community to indicate whether they support is to reflect upon the JRP report. Do we agree with their submissions? Otherwise, our emotions are getting ahead of us and we may be perceive as being late in the game but, we may have, from my perspective, informed comment from the citizenry after they have had a chance to read a report from the JRP would be preferable in my opinion, in opposed to getting a sense of how people feel about things right now,” said Feldhoff.

Goffinet wanted the definition of the completion of the JRP Process. This could stretch a year and a half. He suggested defining the end as the end of the public process before it gets into the lawyers talking for 6 months.

Feldhoff pointed out he had closed debate on the amendment. Germuth pointed out the JRP has their process. However, the Process would not be to look out for Kitimat. They do not have to look out for the environmental concern nor would they have to face it down the road.

”This is just a basic survey to find out where people are. I think most people have their ideas whether they are for or against or even possibly undecided. I don’t see why we need an amendment to this to have to wait, possibly, another year and a half,” said Germuth.

The amendment was called and carried with Goffinet and Germuth opposed.

On the main motion, Feldhoff suggested the Council having input on the questions. Germuth submitted a collection of questions to Council. Germuth said he welcomed input on modifying the questions.

Goffinet said he was not against the main motion, he wanted refinement of the timing as the timing of a survey was important.

The motion was called and carried.
Logical reasons.
Comment by Mike Forward on 22nd January 2012
Several logical reasons have been given, Mrs. Halyk. That you choose to ignore them is your own perogative.

We can argue the semantics of a "debate vs. a forum" all we like. The simple fact is that a great majority of the people who were running spoke quite frankly about their views on Enbridge. As I said before, it would be willfull ignorance to simply cast that aside.

As far as the "blatantly obvious" it's a bad project, I'll refer to my first point. We will simply have to agree to disagree.
Comment by Linda Halyk on 21st January 2012
Please someone give me a logical reason as to why they should wait for the JRP to finish and not the one they will be informed. Everything you need to know has already been put on the table at Kitamaat. Every meeting now will be the same information but a different location.

. For the record Mr Forward there was not an all candidates debate, there was no debating at that forum. Some of the candidates that ran, spoke from their hearts and from their own sense of the situation, and were actually honest and upfront, if that didn't get them elected so be it.

In saying no to Enbridge it is not telling anyone else we are closed for business. It is saying that we care for our environment and our people. The closed for business thing is just a cop out for not being honest enough to stand up for what you believe in.

Do some of them not have enough vision or forward thinking to see that this is not the industry to make Kitimat grow? There should always be certain industries that a town does not want.

It is blatantly obvious this is a bad project, all you need to do is read, listen, look at what experts and everyday people are saying?

I don't want Kitimat to follow suit. I want them to make the decision that is right for the town, region, province, coastline and ultimately the world. Open your eyes and minds to something other than the status quo. Since when has Kitimat been afraid to rock the boat.

well said Mike
Comment by djb on 21st January 2012
All very valid observations,
I will tell you what is wrong...
Comment by Apocalypse Now on 21st January 2012
Taking a simple motion and turning it into a meaningless one. It is useless to take a poll after the decision is done. And unfortunately the whole review process is apparently meaningless.
Comment by Mike Forward on 21st January 2012
Is it spineless to purchase a home before the property inspection report has been completed? The JRP is not specifically advising Council (ergo, whatever they decide, Council will have to stand on its own to make a decision) - this is a group that has been put together specifically to recommend whether, in spite of all the risks, this project should proceed.

Linda, you then go on to accuse the council of being spineless because they are waiting for "someone to tell them its okay whether to be pro or con". I would venture to say it would show a greater lack of backbone if they were to succumb to such low brow insults and rush into a decision without hearing all of the facts first.

You then say that we are the ones they are supposed to be working for. I will repeat my prior point; given that all of the incumbent "spineless" members of Council ran in the election on the basis of Council's continued neutrality towards the project, and that these individuals were re-elected by a strong majority of voters, I would further venture to say that the interests of the majority of the Kitimat voting populace are indeed being represented. Because guess what? They were re-elected.

Just because other towns and First Nations have made their own decisions is absolutely no reason for Kitimat to follow suit. Are we honestly going to sit here and say "well gee, everyone else is doing it"? The old adage about "if all of your friends jumped off a cliff..." comes to mind.

I'll add one last point - I think it would be willfull ignorance not to realize where most of the members of Council stand on this project. A good chunk of them voiced their concerns with it during the all candidates debate. The neutral position, as I have said before, is less to do with Enbridge and more to do with future commercial investment.

This "speak now and think later" mentality that some are advocating is the exact mentality that landed some of the other candidates on the outside looking in during this last election.
Missing the point
Comment by Apocalypse Now on 21st January 2012
from what I interpret from Mr Germuth's motion is for a damn survey ,to find out what the people of Kitimat think. He didn't say any one had to take a stand . In saying that it would give the council members a direction to go in at the very least. I think certain councilors and our good Mayor in particular are afraid of what the poll results will show ,in case it doesn't agree with their personal beliefs. Bring it on and lets get this thing rolling.
Stand on their Own
Comment by Linda Halyk on 21st January 2012
How is waiting until the JRP make a decision standing on their own?
They are spineless most of them and will not make a decision until someone has told them it is okay whether it be pro or con. You can bet your last dollar that if the JRP said it was a no go they would jump on the band wagon so fast your head would spin and vice versa.

The whole point that Mr. Campbell is trying to make is that they need to grow a spine and a brain and make a decision and stand on that decision. Take their lumps either way, we are the ones they are suppose to be working for.

If all the other towns and First Nations can make a stand, then so should they and if they really wanted to be informed they ALL should have been at the JRP in Kitamaat Village.

They can not wait until the JRP decision is in, that is to late. The JRP and the rest of Northern BC needs to know where we stand right now, with them or against them. We are the ones looking down the double barreled shotgun. How ridiculous you all look at your weekly meetings and you can't or won't even discuss it? It is the major issue.

Councilor Germuth's motion is pertinent and it should be presented again with no time line or take a council vote and suck it up buttercups and stand by your decision.
When again.
Comment by Mike Forward on 20th January 2012
RE: Mr. Campbell - the current Council has been quite clear that they will stand up "on their own" once all the reports and due process have been completed. No one is forcing their hand to do this, ergo, it would fall into the category of them giving their best effort, would it not?
When is a good time to take the poll?
Comment by Apocalypse Now on 20th January 2012
If you wait too long the town will be possibly filled with new people working on all these new construction jobs . The poll will not directly reflect the wishes of the long time residents of kitimat. If we are inundated with an influx of taxpaying construction workers and staff for companies that depend on construction to survive, do you think that they will vote against the pipeline. Take the poll soon so as to get the pulse of town. It will at least give council an idea where the people of our community stand. God forbid that a councilor would have to defend the wishes of the people they were elected by. If you don't have a pretty good idea by now about what the ups and downs of this project are. We are in worse trouble than I thought.
You miss the point....
Comment by Thomas Campbell on 20th January 2012
MR. Forward, you miss my point entirely.

I do not want council to move from their neutral position because a poll forces them to think or act in a certain way... When people are forced against their will they don't give their best effort.

I want their support on rejecting the proposed Enbridge Pipeline because they have the same conviction I do, that EVERY other community in Northern BC seems to have... that this project is detrimental to the Health and well being of our all our communities and the envirnment and it is a dangerous investment with little or no return.

If all council decides to stand up (on their own) with us and say no because they HONESTLY believe the health and safety of the people they represent is at risk; then and only then will we get their best effort....

Kitimat First!

What part of "NO" does council NOT understand
Comment by Gerry Hummel on 18th January 2012
What part of “NO” does our council not understand? Except for the flawed Enbridge Ipsos-Reid poll, every poll I've seen definitely leans very much towards the rejection of this project, most around 80% against!
Other communities councils have come out against this project, our friends the Haisla who so warmly hosted and welcomed the NEB/JRP panel are 100% opposed to the project, their very existence being threatened by it!
Fisheries, tourism our very water supply threatened by this project and our council just SIT .... pathetic! Harper and Oliver with their proof less rants of radical environmental interference brought on by support of the large OIL Corporations and Ethical Oils petty and silly promotion of “Ethical Oil” are about the very few advocates!
And our council ....well they just sit on the fence or play petty frustrating political block the vote games! They can’t even come out and support the Haisla whom council has put at odds and alienated before. With the Haisla’s lengthy history here in the valley and their deep connection to the land, our council can’t stand like a big brother and support them, how gutless and spineless is that! Even though a solid “No to Enbridge” would be a great “bargaining chip” for council should this project, god forbid, ever be forced down our throats ..... nope, there’s a few on council wouldn’t want to take a stand, show a little courage or offend their friends in High Places! What a pathetic showing!
Except for Rob Goffinet and Phil Germuth our council should hang their heads in shame! Oh and bear whisperer, sort of ironic isn't it, I’m sure there are lots of first nations would rather not see you Peacocking in your aboriginal regalia and decor as the Coastal First Nations are 100% united in their stand AGAINST Enbridge! Some things never change and our councils lack of any backbone is proof of that!
A question of when.
Comment by Mike Forward on 18th January 2012
Mr. Campbell - I find the implication that Council will not firmly say "no" at present to the Northern Gateway proposal because of provincial/federal party allegiances to be absolutely preposterous. It's an attempt to tar a group of people with the same brush. We have a diverse Council which undoubtedly ascribe to several different political ideologies, however, I find it incredibly difficult to believe that any of those are in play on Council's decision to remain neutral.

As I've said before, 4 of the 5 incumbents who ran were re-elected, and part of that reason for being re-elected was the logic they gave for maintaining this position of neutrality. Several of the Councillors have expressed grave concerns about the project as it has been presented, but they are allowing due process to be taken before firmly saying "no". This is basic communication to other potential investors saying that Kitimat is open for business, and we will hear you out before giving an answer.

Councillor Feldhoff did not say he was opposed to such a survey or referrendum, he was more concerned with the "when" it should be completed, as was Councillor Goffinet. Ultimately a survey/referrendum could (and should) be a part of the due process that the DOK follows, but to do so right now would be jumping the gun.

I'll repeat; Councillor Germuth's idea is sound, the question is when should it be implemented.
A poll is not necessary
Comment by Thomas Campbell on 18th January 2012
For those of us opposed to the Enbridge Gateway Project we need to get it out of our heads that we could ever secure Council’s opposition to the Project. They have had presentations; documentation, facts (and even some fantasies); the message to them was clear at the debate; they have seen the same news we have; the decisions by other city councils; the stand by First Nations; and they still insist on letting the JRP make decisions for them. (JRP a system run by BC Liberals and Federal Conservatives). Everyone BUT our council is standing together and saying NO.

My opinion is that they won’t stand with us because they are BC Liberal or Conservative party members (or both) and their loyalty is to their political party’s interests first and not the interests of the people that elected them.

While I admire and understand your motives for wanting a poll Councilor Germuth, I wouldn’t want to force a decision on them they don't believe in. I want council to stand with us because they honestly believe (like we do) that the potential dangers from this pipeline far outweigh the benefits for our community. I want our council to “grab the bull by the horns” because they want to not because they have to!

Kitimat First!