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REPORTING · 10th April 2012
Walter McFarlane
Barbara Stenson, from Douglas Channel Watch gave a presentation to Kitimat City Council on recent revelations about the Gateway Project at the regular meeting on April 2nd. Mary Montero was supposed to present but was not able to make the meeting.

“Tonight, we would like to share with you an opposing view to Prime Minister Harper’s believe that the project is in the National Interest of Canada or in the interest of working Canadians,” said Stenson.

She stated Enbridge has claimed there will be a lot of jobs here in BC for British Columbians during the construction phase of the project. However, Petro-China is bidding for the duel pipelines.

“Petro-China isn’t any normal company. 86% of it’s publicly traded shares are held by companies, banks controlled by the Communist Party of the People’s Republic of China,” said Stenson. “How concerned do you think Petro-China will be about Canada’s interests?”

She quoted Petro-China’s 2010 report which said they will expand international trade and work to further to develop overseas oil and gas centres. They will create more competitive international trading structure to enhance their influence on the international market.

She stated the Chinese are securing international oil production and questioned what the Canadian Government has done. Harper has allowed foreign investment to control Canada’s bituminous sands.

“It should come as no surprise that Petro-China will be bidding on constructing the proposed Gateway Pipeline because they, and other Chinese companies hold enough equity in the Tar Sands to veto upgrading for a refinery of our oil in Canada by Canadians. This ensures that much of what is produced has to be exported as a raw product,” said Stenson.

She stated the wholesale giveaway of the oil by Harper to a foreign communist government will insure the value added jobs will not go to Canadians. The Alberta Federation of Labour has commissioned a study to see how many refining and spin off jobs there would be involved in the Keystone pipeline. 20,000 jobs lost.

Enbridge’s Pipeline is estimated to be larger. She questioned how many jobs would be lost and estimated it to be between 30,000 and 50,000. Stenson said if Petro-China builds the pipeline, what is to stop them from importing supplies and materials from China resulting in local companies along the route of the pipeline seeing a fraction of the equity they have been promised as well as fewer of the jobs which have also been promised.

“How this benefits China is obvious, but leaves one wondering just how Prime Minister Harper comes to the conclusion that Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Proposal could be in Canada’s National Interest,” said Stenson.

She stated Kitimat is being asked to ‘shoulder the triple barrel threat’ of potential spills in our drinking water, estuary or BC’s pristine coast. We are not going to have any benefits during the pipeline’s construction and 50 full time jobs at the tank farm.

Stenson stated Enbridge spilled oil into the Kalamazoo river and admitted to it in their report. Petro-China spilled oil into the Yellow Sea but there is no admission of the spill.

She asked City Council if Kitimat’s allegiance lies in ensuring clean water for the future of the community, promoting the importance of jobs for Canadians and ensuring Canada’s long term energy needs, or if they remain neutral while a foreign power exploits Canada’s resources and Canadians.

“Prime Minister Harper has violated the Joint Review Panel Process by so emphatically supporting Enbridge Proposal before the environmental risks and economic benefits have been determined,” said Stenson concluding her presentation,

She asked the Council to rescind their stance on neutrality on the Northern Gateway Proposals because any decision made after the Joint Review Panel is meaningless.