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REPORTING · 25th February 2014
Walter McFarlane
Murray Minchin presented to Council on Monday, February 24th speaking on the upcoming Plebiscite. He stated Douglas Channel Watch will be hosting a community information forum at Riverlodge on Wednesday, February 26th at 7:00 Pm, called ‘Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Enbridge Plebiscite, but Were Afraid to Ask.’

He said everyone in Kitimat is invited to attend and invited Council. He asked people who support or were still on the fence to attend. He stated the upcoming Plebiscite is on whether or not the community supports the Joint Review Panel’s final decision.

“In our role, as interveners during the Joint Review Panel Process, our cross examination of Enbridge’s expert witness panels, it could be argued the Douglas Channel Watch has gained a depth of knowledge unmatched by any other group in Kitimat, with the exception of the Haisla, who expended the greatest effort and resources,” said Minchin.

He expressed on Wednesday, himself, Dave Shannon and Cheryl Brown will attempt to translate the Joint Review Panel conditions into English and try to explain how stringent or flaccid those conditions are.

He shared a sample of some of the things they will be highlighting, starting with the question itself: “Do you support the final report recommendations of the Joint Review Panel (JRP) of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and National Energy Board, that the Enbridge Northern Gateway project be approved, subject to 209 conditions set out in Volume 2 of the JRP's final report?”

He stated the first condition in the JRP report was a huge one. “Northern Gateway must comply with all the certificate conditions, unless the NEB otherwise directs,” said Minchin. “Essentially, this means the Plebiscite will be held on something that might not exist. It’s written in smoke and deposited on mirrors. Why are we voting on the Joint Review Panel conditions when they can be altered or removed at any time?”

Condition 169, relating to the filing of a plan to lead a research program about behavior and clean up, including recovery, of oil spilled in fresh water. The plan must be filed with the NEB.

Minchin stated they are far into the ‘game’ and plan must be filed to research what happens to Diluted bitumen when it hits fresh water. He stated many of the conditions have no teeth to them. Others are minor.

He pointed out people who are in favour of the pipeline may even vote no on it. One of the conditions relates to the construction of the Pipeline and Enbridge simply having to notify the NEB within 14 days of an application to hire temporary foreign workers.

“What about all of these jobs for Canadians which we have been hearing about since day one. It is supposed to be a job generating project for Canadians,” said Minchin. He added the JRP could have put a condition in saying no temporary foreign workers, a certain percentage should be Canadian or people from the local area.

Another point he made was that the purpose of the project is to provide Canadian Oil to international markets. He pointed out this means the project is for the export of raw resources, not value added products.

“Supporters of the project who vote yes on the Plebiscite will be voting in favour of Temporary foreign workers and exporting thousands of Albertan refining jobs overseas,” concluded Minchin. “How could this possibly be in Canada’s best interest?”

There were no questions from Council.