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CONTRIBUTION · 2nd May 2014
Murray Minchin
Dear Editor,

After Enbridge's April 12th plebiscite loss we can expect a change in their Northern Gateway charm offensive, but what Enbridge continually fails to understand is that glossy advertising campaigns cannot hide their past spills, or their actions after spills.

While reading, watching, or listening to Enbridge's warm and fuzzy advertisements, please keep in mind the following examples of how Enbridge treated local residents after their 3.8 million litre spill into Michigan's Kalamazoo River.

Residents who accepted Enbridge's offer to pay medical expenses following the spill were asked to sign several forms. One form authorized the release, to Enbridge at its lawyers, all of that persons, "inpatient admissions, all ER visits, outpatient clinic notes, diagnostic testing, radiology films, consults, doctors orders, progress notes, nurses notes, laboratory testing, social service records, reports, correspondence, consultations, memoranda, treatment plans, admission records, discharge summaries, medical summaries, diagnoses, and/or any writing of any kind ... [including] drug and alcohol records, communicable disease, HIV and AIDS records, and mental health records (not including psychotherapy notes)".

Residents who accepted Enbridge's offer of compensation for restaurant meals or motel rooms after the spill were also asked to sign several forms. One was a settlement release form which "discharges Enbridge, its employees, agents, partners, directors, and officers, and affiliated companies and their agents, partners, directors, and officers, from and against all liability, claims actions, causes of action, costs, and expenses, including without limitation claims for personal; injuries, property damage, that [the signer] ever had, has, or may have against Enbridge, whether known or unknown related to the incident."

Interesting, isn't it, how the friendly faced, good neighbour image so carefully cultivated by Enbridge can disappear after one of their spills. Scarier still, is how Enbridge has protected itself from potential law suits by creating Northern Gateway, a separate company altogether.

Actions do indeed speak louder than words, and expensive advertising campaigns.