CONTRIBUTION · 10th April 2014
I think what the plebiscite boils down to is respect. Who do you respect? On the one side, we have an extremely large oil company with enough money to start their own country, whose slogan is, “Vote yes for Kitimat”. Was Kitimat going somewhere if we don’t? They have a history of creating messes that they can’t clean up; providing inaccurate or untrue information; and are using highly (and I do mean highly) paid staff to knock on doors, make and post signs and work at open houses.
On the other hand, we have local people. Some of them are First Nations, born and bred here with 10,000 years of history. Some of them came. They weren’t experts 3 years ago but they’re not stupid and they learned. It took thousands of hours of volunteer time on evenings and weekends – stretching skills and abilities to learn new information, process it and foresee consequences. It was hard, hard work.
These ordinary people who had become experts went to the JRP hearings and cross examined company experts who sat at tables with a dozen or so more experts with laptops sitting behind them to pull up answers to questions. These answers were inadequate and often misleading. It was very like being in a courtroom where you had to nail the witness to get a straight answer. Interveners paid their own travel and accommodation expenses. Some took time off work. Company people made overtime.
Many of the interveners were First Nations. Many were Haisla. Which brings us back to respect. The Haisla are a huge part of the town of Kitimat. They live here. They work here. They spend money here. They have put a huge amount of time, effort and money into investigating and then opposing Enbridge Northern Gateway. To even be holding this opinion poll is a slap in the face to all groups and communities who oppose Northern Gateway but especially to the Haisla. Please vote NO next Saturday. It would show respect for our neighbours.
Sincerely, Elizabeth Thorne