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CONTRIBUTION · 9th February 2013
Murray Minchin
Dear Alberta,

This letter comes to you from Kitimat, BC, which is ground zero for Enbridge's Northern Gateway dual pipeline and supertanker port proposal. This is where the combined risks of the proposed pipelines, tank farm, and supertankers all meet. I hope this letter helps you see things from Kitimat's, and BC's, perspective.

Since 1959 BC has had a voluntary moratorium on offshore oil and gas exploration. Despite sitting on top of our own pot of petro-gold, no politician has been willing to destroy their career by suggesting we risk the coastal environment, or all the fisheries and tourism jobs it supports, by allowing even exploratory drilling to occur.

So this begs the question; if it isn't worth the risk for us, why should we risk it for you?

It pains almost every British Columbian to see logging trucks going down the highway these days because we know most of it is raw logs destined for Asian markets, not for local sawmills providing local jobs. We know the pain of a Provincial Government making bad decisions. We will not allow your Provincial Government to force diluted bitumen across the Coast Mountains, or through our complex coastline, in a desperate attempt to save themselves from their colossal mismanagement of your Tar Sands.

Why should BC carry the majority of the risk? Shouldn't you be pressuring your Provincial Government to better manage your resources? Why is Alberta so cash strapped that you have to squander what you have so quickly, without adding value? Where did the money go, and why did the companies in the Tar Sands get away with so paying so little?

Back in the late 80's and early 90's in Vancouver Island's Clayaquot Sound, the early clear cut logging protesters hoped that 600 people might show up to help them stop the logging. A total of 10,000 people made their way out there, and almost 1000 got arrested. This was before the Internet and in a single valley on the island's western edge. Can you imagine how many tens of thousands would show up on construction blockades across the width of BC if Enbridge attempts to build the Gateway project?

If your hopes rest on Prime Minister Harper approving the project, good luck with that. Harper became involved in politics because he didn't like the way Ottawa was telling Albertans what to do. Ironic, isn't it then, that if he tries to push large diluted bitumen pipelines through to British Columbia's coastline, he'll effectively be committing political suicide. He needs BC if he ever wants to be Prime Minister again, and he sure needs BC if he still covets a "majority" in the House of Commons.

Almost operatic in scale isn't it, how the very thing which lured him into politics could ultimately poison his political future. I've taken to calling it, Harper's Folly.

So there you have it. We aren't willing to risk the things we value most to bail your Province out of its colossal mismanagement of the Tar Sands. Hope you have a good plan B, and don't forget to hold your Provincial Politicians to task for the position you now find yourselves in.

Murray Minchin
Comment by Bman on 3rd November 2014
Murray you do not speak for all kitimatians. Stop pretending you do. If Alcan hadnt come to the valley in the 1950's kitimat would still be a backwater town and you would not be here. But it did and flooded half the area south of houston to create the power for Kitimat. There has been a pipeline going from northern BC to Burnaby for the last 50 years with no problems. Its a pipe in the ground, thats all.
Good Letter Murray
Comment by No Enbridge on 13th April 2014
Thank you Murray I say good letter. Alberta has spent many years spoiling their backyard why on earth would they think we would let them do the same here.

Everyone knows by now that Enbridge's track record for clean-ups is garbage. All they have to do is look at news sites through google and see the spills they have had before and have not taken serious action to clean up. The Kalamazoo River oil spill which occurred in July 2010 is a good example. It still is not cleaned up and I doubt it ever will be.

We value our children's future more a product we will never see except during a spill. The risk to our Eco-system and future is to great to take a chance to take with a company who has proved time and again it only cares about the almighty dollar going into shareholders pockets.

If the "Yes camp" wants Enbridge so bad let them go to Alberta and leave us alone.

We don't want Kitimat turned into a wasteland. We want our children and grand children to enjoy the beauty Kitimat has to offer. There are other ways of bringing money into Kitimat that are a lot safer to our health and our city. Enbridge is not one of them.
1159 t0 2
Comment by Murray on 15th February 2013
During oral statements to the Joint Review Panel in northern BC, the count was 1159 against the Gateway proposal, and 2 supported it. I'd call that overwhelming opposition.
Comment by Apocalypse now on 14th February 2013
What rewards are there to reap? If there is a silent majority in favor of it ,why are they ashamed to speak up?
Comment by sammy on 13th February 2013
We should focus on seeing this project going forward with not one safety shortcut. Murray, you have to know deep down that you definitely do no have the majority of Kitimatians behind you on this issue. The silent majority here and in all the northwest are realists and want to move forward and reap the benefits that this pipeline will bring. In the future, please do not pretend to speak for us all here in Kitimat.
Greed No More
Comment by Lucy McRae on 13th February 2013
No matter how much money governments take from the people in taxes, take from companies in taxes, it is never enough because they waste it so quickly and the cycle continues. My question is what will we have when our resources are gone completely eliminating the ability of governments to take tax money from these companies and without jobs we will have nothing to give either.
It's just spend, spend, spend with no thought to the future and young people don't seem to get it...
You wrote a great letter Murray, but maybe it doesn't even go far enough.
Alberta oil letter
Comment by June Macaulay on 12th February 2013
I agree with everything Murray has stated. Lets
leave something for our children, grandchildren etc.
Alberta oil letter
Comment by Glenn Stenson on 12th February 2013
Great letter Murray Should make a lot of people think.
Comment by Coastal Gal on 11th February 2013
This is just my two cents, which with this government rounds down to mean nothing, but I'll say my piece anyway. Oil is a finite natural resource on this planet, that we all know. If it takes millions of years for the stuff to form and we're using it up at exponentially increasing rates, obviously we are going to run out. Why are the Alberta and Federal governments in such a rush to exploit this resource? Why are we, as Canadians, not putting energy and research into alternative and renewable energy resources that can sustain our ever increasing energy needs while NOT destroying our environment? The Gateway pipeline does NOT benefit anyone but the shareholders. Sure, a few thousand people will be employed for a few years, but then what? There are thousands of people depending on renewable resources for their income on the North Coast in areas such as fisheries and tourism. Why should their LIFELONG employment opportunities be jeopardized for a few thousand people to get a few years work and the few shareholders to gain a few more million/billion dollars. Makes sense to me to employ more Canadians by researching renewable energy sources while maintaining the employment of the thousands on the west coast in tourism and fisheries. While I personally disagree with utilizing the oil in the tar sands, I recognize that economically it is unrealistic to shut that beast down, but maybe maintain a steady pace to draw out the source. I picture it this way: If I was somehow lost in the desert and only had so much water and so much food, it would make sense to me to slow down my use of those two resources in hopes that before I run out I would be rescued, rather than having one big feast and hoping that I will be rescued within the hour - ha, not likely.
Comment by Patricia Lange on 11th February 2013
Way to go Murray. When I heard, from an Enbridge representative ,that one of the VLCC (very large crude carriers) could carry almost half of the oil that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, and that these ships were proposed to travel almost daily through the waters of the Douglas Channel....I too became an activist.
2 cents worth
Comment by your new neighbour soon on 11th February 2013
I understand your enviornmental concerns and if big oil was to put the propper infastructure in place these projects would bennefit not just AB and BC, but. The entire country. The Economic impact is huge. Canada is loosing Billions of dollars everyday by clogged pipelines going south. The back log of oil is tremendous. Canada will move its resources either by pipeline rail or by truck. All of which pipelines are the safest and most enviornmentally friendly way to move it. There is a large camp of British Colombians who are neither for or opposed to pipelines. They just dont know all the facts. Your Premiere should be forcing heavy oil to explain and to her constituents she should be welcoming the economic windfall. When the LNG plant gets built. I hope I move in next door to you when I move to Kitimat. Im coming and so is a pipeline. You can bet on it. See you in 2017
Oil Is Good!
Comment by Kitimat Expat on 9th February 2013
I think that your letter should have been titled "Dear Alberta - A Letter from Murray Munchin". I don't believe that you speak for the whole town of Kitimat. However, I do wish that we could see it at least upgraded before export.