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REPORTING · 21st February 2012
Walter McFarlane
Watch the presentation on Kitimat Daily Videos

With the recent decision by Terrace to oppose the Enbridge Pipeline, Kitimat City Council received a presentation on February 20th, 2012, by Dieter Wagner of Douglas Channel Watch concerning the topic of “Sitting on the Fence”. Because of the 7 presentations that night, he was limited to 10 minutes. Normally residents are provided 15 minutes to deliver their information.

“Our group and many, many others cannot comprehend why our Mayor and Council continue the position of neutrality regarding the Northern Gateway. We are requesting you to abandon this position and officially oppose this project,” said Wagner.

He explained they were elected and entrusted to educate themselves on the issues of the town and surroundings. Kitimat has a lot to lose from the project by the inevitable spill of diluted bitumen.

“There is a massive amount of factual information available on everything concerning this project, almost all of it negative,” said Wagner.

Citing the TERMPOL documents, he pointed out this includes death and illness caused by ‘Diluted Bitumen’. In the case of a spill, the spill area becomes lethal, causing nerve damage to people where there have been spills, such as in the Kalamazoo.

He stated most spills are discovered by people who smell them, such as in Kalamazoo and Chiluba. Wagner pondered who would detect such a spill on the Kitimat River where there is nobody to report it.

His next concern is the inadequacies of emergency response along the water courses in town. ‘The best technology is not an absolute safeguard’ he stated, referring to the recent cruise ship disaster in Italy. Most accidents are caused by human error and not equipment malfunction.

He said in there were 804 Enbridge Pipeline spills recorded by Polaris Institute between 1999 and 2010. These spills delivered 169 thousands barrels of oil into the environment.

Wagner suggested Council make a decision to help influence the JRP because there are many people in Kitimat who oppose the project.

“The impartiality of the project, namely the JRP, is already threatened by Federal and Provincial Government officials. Mr. Harper in China says ‘This project’s going to go, you’re going to get the oil.’ So why are we having the JRP Hearings?” said Wagner.

“The environmental movement has been labelled as ‘Enemies of the State’ by Prime Minister Harper and Minister Oliver, yet support and endorsement for these so called Enemies and Radicals is growing. There are more donations from private individuals coming in then ever before. When our government labels everyday citizens who are actively participating in democracy and the process they’re in, we feel we need to speak out against that,” said Wagner.

They do not believe in the risk of the spill, they believe in the certainty of a spill. He quoted Rafe Mair at the February Rally in Rupert. Wagner expressed the export of oil will hurt consumers by driving up the price of gas and diesel which will also drive up consumer prices.

He told Council newspapers across the country are reporting on how this pipeline is not in the best interest of the country and the problems with the proposal including the international and global issues.

He stated deals with China prevent Canadians from using the country’s oil reserve for domestic use and prevent the companies from building up-graders and refineries.

Haida Gwaii voted unanimously to ban large crude carriers in northern waters. Terrace also voted in opposition on February 13th. The Haisla have voted opposition to the pipeline. He encouraged Council to do the same.

He also called out the Councillors who promised the referendum in the 2011 municipal election. Those Councillors included Councillor Phil Germuth who voted against the motion to table it until after the Joint Review Panel and Councillors Mary Murphy and Edwin Empinado who voted to table it.

“Edwin Empinado and Mary Murphy backed down from this promise at the last council meeting. I wonder if this is something they learned from Ex-Premier Gordon Campbell who has moved loads and loads of…”

“We are not knocking down our Council now. You are making a presentation please, you have one minute,” said Mayor Joanne Monaghan.

Wagner said he did not intend to offend Council. “Promises were made and not kept,” he stated.

”That’s right but it is something against my Council and that’s not what we have people coming here for,” said Monaghan.

He requested council continue to learn and share the information with the community about the proposal. However, Council should abandon their neutrality and oppose the pipeline.

Murphy explained her position. “Once we became Councillors, we represent everybody in the town, not just one particular group,” she said. “We represent every citizen in Kitimat now so personal opinions and what we believe ourselves have to go to the back and represent everyone in town,” said Murphy.

She also pointed out that Ellis Ross at the Joint Review Panel in Kitimat Village stated, he was waiting for the review panel to make their decision. There are ways to manage spills such as automated shut off valves and they are waiting for the recommendations to come through.

Comments from the audience gallery raised the obvious question of Murphy’s logic: ‘how can Council represent the people of Kitimat without a referendum’ and several publicly questioned their election decisions.
Monaghan took offence to her Council being called out for breaking election promises
Monaghan took offence to her Council being called out for breaking election promises
Murphy justified her broken promise by saying the Council represents the community, not one group.
Murphy justified her broken promise by saying the Council represents the community, not one group.
Mary
Comment by Brenda Mitchell on 24th February 2012
I voted for Mary and would do so again in a heartbeat.Keep up the good work Mary.Kitimat is proud to have you as one of our councillors.
Hmmmmmmmmmmm
Comment by Apocalypse Now on 24th February 2012
Ok Councilor Murphy,you at least admit to saying the risks outway the benefits,so if you believe that ,what is holding you back from opposing it? The JRP is all about listening to people who are for and against the project not about guaranteeing jobs or the environment .I highly doubt someone is going to invent any type of gadget that will prevent a spill or even detect a spill before thousands of gallons of bitumen have leaked out of the pipe before you have enough info to make a decision. Maybe you should take a page out of Councilor Empinado's book and phone someone in Michigan or along the gulf coast and see how they have been affected by oil spills. I did not vote for you because I thought you were to owishy washy for my likeing, you have proved me correct.
CHAMELEON
Comment by LINDA HALYK on 24th February 2012
""""I am in favor of a referendum, as i stated it would give us a good idea on how people stand, including the silent. council needs to work out the details, how, who, and when."""""

The above are your words Councilor Murphy a quote right out of this paper.
What typical political come back are you going to use this time? (things can change)

When did you state you were in favour of the referendum, I missed that part?

Are you going to change your vote?

You voted against the motion for a referendum by councilor Germuth, during that motion you allowed your fellow new councilor to be thrown under the bus by two senior council members Mayor Monaghan and Councilor Feldhoff. The vote was 5 to 2 against.

Have you blurted out a secret?
Is council contemplating a referendum????
Or is this just another political come back?

I don't believe the people who voted you in voted for a Chameleon. It was what you stood for and what you promised to do.

There is that old saying " You can fool some of the people........"
promises?
Comment by Gerry Hummel on 24th February 2012
Gee Mary it was only a matter of time ...you sound just like a politician! I was one of the people you misled into believing you were against this proposal that is why I voted for you!

Now when it comes to the NEB/JRP, they stated in Terrace they have NEVER turned down a project, they are paid by BIG OIL! Harper is pushing for the project and stating so, signing deals with Communist China, remember you’re either with him or with the radical environmentalists, he's not waiting for the JRP! Transport Canada has approved SUPER tanker traffic on Douglas channel they're not waiting for the JRP! By the way China has clauses in their contracts saying all the oil will be for export and Canada can not build refineries in Canada! BIG OIL Investors have thrown 100 million dollars at the promotion and hand greasing end of the project they're not waiting on the JRP! Every second commercial on tv are those damn TAR-SANDS promotions they're not waiting for the JRP!

Now as for coming to a decision there is countless information for anyone with a little spare time to form a decision on this project, just Google TAR-SANDS, Oil spills, Enbridge safety record etc.! By the way Ellis Ross of the Haisla and all the North Coast First Nations are dead set against this project and have stated so! You guys are supposed to be leaders not followers waiting for the JRP to tell you what to do, is just wrong! The mayor is just the head of council not the BOSS of council, if you guys can’t make a decision then what do we need a Kitimat Council for? A “no pipeline stance” would actually be a bargaining chip in Kitimat’s favour! Those people from the JRP, Enbridge and the government don't live here, they don’t care, so of coarse they are going to approve the project, with a big list of do's and don'ts attached but they will approve it!

AUTOMATIC VALVES, NEW TECHNOLOGY, MAGICAL OIL SPILL REMEDIES ....what was that? They've used automatic shut-off and pressure sensors for years on these pipeline systems, the technology hasn't changed much at all and it hardly ever works! Enbridges track record is DISMAL when it comes to having and dealing with spills! Over 300 recorded spills since 2007 and you guys can't make a decision about this? we’re not even talking about regular oil here but one pipeline filled with millions of barrels of heavy corrosive Bitumen in a sea of deadly chemicals, and the other line filled with Condensate a volatile mixture of GAS, not water as condensate may make you think! Gee would be a simple "NO" from me!
There have been many information sessions, movies etc. offered by environmental groups here in town expressing peoples fears about this project! Dr. Rikki Ott from Valdez and Tar sands expert Andrew Nikiforek just a couple of the speakers who have been here warning of the dangers of this project! You said you've attended many meetings on the subject so you must have some idea of where you stand! A hand full of jobs just aren't worth the risks we as a community have to take, just the risk to our water supply would have me saying NO! Unless we take a stand against this we are going have this dangerous pipeline shoved down our throats! And whether it's in the Kitimat Valley, the Kitimat River or the Douglas Channel Channel a spill or leak is a guaranteed thing, not a matter of “IF” but definitely a matter of “WHEN”! It should actually be an easy decision for anyone “NO PIPELINE!”
promises
Comment by mary on 23rd February 2012
thanks i was sure it was only a matter of time...first i did not state what my position on enbridge was or is...what i stated was originally i was in support of enbridge for many reasons. After attending all the debates, open house, information sessions, CLC hearings, etc, i feel that the risks out ways the benefits, but would wait for the JRP to complete their work, as Mr Ross, I have to trust the process until they prove me wrong. I am in favor of a referendum, as i stated it would give us a good idea on how people stand, including the silent. council needs to work out the details, how, who, and when. I did get many calls but none from the people who post here and other places. I do appreciate your comments good or bad. Mary
Retired Person
Comment by Steve Connolly on 23rd February 2012
When Mary Murphy states that the Council should not take a stand re Enbridge now because
they must represent all of the citizens, then, when the JRP is finished does this mean that the Council will never take a stand? There always will be a divided opinion. If she meant that Council must represent the opinion of the majority of the citizens, then a referendum is required.
Mary's argument is either not consistent or unclear.
Which part don't some of you get?
Comment by Apocalypse Now on 23rd February 2012
The motion put forth was for a poll of the citizens of Kitimat, to see what their feelings were towards the Enbridge pipeline. Non binding ,it was a way to get a feeling for what people of Kitimat think. Can someone explain what is wrong with this?
Prepared to support...
Comment by Thomas Campbell on 23rd February 2012
I'm perfectly prepared to support a council who doesn't represent my views exactly, but I at least expect them to represent the underlying principles behind them. People can talk a good game all they like. It's under the stress of having to make decisions and take action, that their true selves are revealed. Councilors who have strayed so far off their claimed positions leads me to question whether they ever had the positions they claim, or whether they even have any principles at all.
For or against?
Comment by Daniel Carter on 22nd February 2012
Does the Douglas Channel watch speak for all of the residents of Kitimat too? I am looking forward to hearing what the JRP has to submit when they are ready to. I believe that is the way it should be. No entity should pressure anyone to make a decision like that beforehand. Kitimat council has every right to wait until the hearings are complete.
Censor the people from asking questions of "HER" council!
Comment by Thomas Campbell on 22nd February 2012
Preventing criticism or questioning of council is simply censorship. While the Mayor censors criticism and questions by the people under the guise of "chairing" council meetings she crosses a line, there was nothing Dieter said that was "out of line" or offensive and he had no intention of doing so. I guess It wouldn't bother me so much if there were another venue offered by council for the people to have input into their decisions but there are NONE for the people to be heard through! They never hold town hall meetings, or open radio shows for questioning "HER" council.... ha.. thats the other funny thing I didn't realize it was her council, I thought it was the city council elected by the people to represent the people???if I'd known I was voting to elect a council for her I wouldn't have voted for any of them!
How will you know councilors?
Comment by Apocalypse Now on 22nd February 2012
If the council claims to be looking out for everyones interest now and not baseing their decision on personal opinion,How will council know wether to approve or oppose the pipe line. What will you base your decision onafter the jrp has done its job? You still have to find out what our citizens want and after the review it is too late . Get our opinions known before it is too late.Do a poll sooner , rather than later.