REPORTING · 11th April 2014
Nathan Cullen was door knocking in Kitimat on Friday, April 4th to find out what people in Kitimat felt about the Plebiscite. He explained he was at one of the Council Meetings where it was discussed and wanted to get a better grip on why it was being held and what it would mean for Kitimat.
“At the end of the day, the votes happening and we really want people to get out and vote. The mail out that we sent around to people recently is to encourage that,” said Cullen. “With Enbridge just pouring so much money and people in from Alberta and all over trying to, as Ellis Ross said, buy their social license, it felt important, to me at least, that people had the option and knew how voting was going to happen and in the end, it’s significant to have your voice.”
He stated the voice of Kitimat should matter. He was disappointed there were no limitations placed on money, creating a David and Goliath fight. People in Kitimat are concerned about the complicated question and the requirement of living in Kitimat for 30 days.
“[It’s] put some doubts in at least my mind and maybe some other people’s as to how valid the vote is going to be at the end,” said Cullen. “People have to understand the question, the vote has to take place fairly. Those are some pretty democratic principles.”
He said this was bigger than expected. He could understand why people were cynical and confused. He did not want people to become disconnected from the town or the generational questions. He said the questions raised by Ellis Ross bore weight, the First Nation’s claims are not equivalent to a straw poll. He did not think the Plebiscite was helping relations with Kitamaat.
“To be consulted on something that the Haisla obviously and deeply engaged in, they took part in the JRP, they spent resources trying to assess this project and came out with a pretty strong conclusion against this project, you can understand why some within the Haisla Nation are feeling a bit upset that that might be pushed to the side or not considered as important,” said Cullen.
He stated the fair voting in the plebiscite was a sensitive issue in Kitimat as well as the understanding of the results of the vote being fair. He said the process did not feel clean. This is why he wanted to get out and find out what the town had to say.
Cullen added people in British Columbia are more curious then Ottawa is. However, he pointed out Enbridge is pouring money into advertising. He did not think they were well supported in the Northwest as they are fighting First Nations along the way and the resistance is building.
“I think the mood across BC is this project has become so toxic that it’s not something anyone wants to connect themselves to,” said Cullen.
He said this is the opinion of the LNGs who do not want to be connected to Bitumen and Enbridge as the reputation of Gateway is bad.
“They take Copious notes and one LNG executive said to me: ‘our general rule is to do the opposite of whatever Enbridge does because they’ve done such a bad job at community relations and First Nations relations,‘ and it’s not true in every case, but he said generally speaking, ‘They’ve so botched this that it’s a pretty good principle to not do whatever they did,” said Cullen.
Plebiscite on Northern Gateway Vote
Comment by Concerned on 11th April 2014
According to your District of Kitimat website, the requirements to vote is you only have to have been a resident of Kitimat for 30 days immediately preceding vote day and you don't have to be a resident of BC! Seriously??? I wouldn't think that would qualify you as a TRUE citizen of Kitimat.
Comment by Leon Dumstrey-SooS on 11th April 2014
I am surprised tha he was knocking on the doors.
After all MP led all possible opositions to the project. Why sudden door to door visit?
Is he perhaps worried about the outcome of the plebescite? Is he concerned that the outcome also may be reflection of his influence on this community?