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COMMENTARY · 21st February 2012
Walter McFarlane
At last night’s Council Meeting, Councillor Mary Murphy responded to Dieter Wagner’s allegations about polling the community on Enbridge. The obvious question was asked by the Gallery at the time. Someone called out asking how Council could represent the people of Kitimat without a referendum.

For those of you who have not read it, particularly those of you named Mary Murphy, what I wrote last week on the division on Enbridge bears repeating: There are two types of people in Canada, those who support the project and those who oppose the project. There are also people who haven’t decided either way but they do not count because no one has bothered to ask them what they think, everyone is too willing to speak for them.

Last night, she proved me right.

There has been no survey, no public consultation and no referendum so how can a City Councillor claim to know what the people of Kitimat want without actually asking them what they want?

She cannot represent the interests of a single group. However, there are several groups in the community who have openly opposed the Enbridge Project, just as there are several groups who are in favour of the project. Council appears to be similarly torn.

Where does this community stand? Who knows? Internet polls are inaccurate across the board because no matter what checks and balances are in place, people will still find ways to vote umpteen hundred times.

Everyone is saying everyone else is on there side in accepting / rejecting the proposal except the few supporters / radicals and Council remains oblivious to what the community actually wants.

Kitimat Council is still standing at square one and won’t roll the dice until the JRP finishes the game. Whether the Council and the Community choose to support or oppose the project does not matter for the game is over when the JRP concludes.

Murphy also made one error in her final statement. While Chief Councillor Ellis Ross did say: “I came into this meeting today thinking I was going to rant and rave about the comments made by Harper and Oliver and then I found myself basically trusting you guys to assess everything we said here and take it into consideration.”

He also expressed great concern over the environmental impact of the project. He reminded them they could consider options which did not include Kitimat and asked them to consider what they have heard and apply it to the project as if they were applying their own culture and heritage.