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REPORTING · 18th June 2014
Walter McFarlane
Just after 2:00 Pacific time on Tuesday, June 17th, the Canadian Government published their decision on the Northern Gateway project. Approval subject to completing the regulatory permits, demonstrating how they are going to the NEB how they are going to meet the 209 conditions and further consultation with Aboriginal people.

Local leaders and people who are involved with or against the pipeline have made statements about today’s announcement. Janet Holder sent out a statement welcoming the announcement.

“Over the last two years, the project team and I have travelled throughout the province speaking to people in their communities about our project and what it means to them. Time and again, people have told us Northern Gateway is important to our future, but only if we do it right,” said Holder. “Our company understands that economic development and environmental protection must go hand in hand. That’s why Northern Gateway is designed for B.C., with world-leading safety standards on land and on water, such as 24/7 monitoring and new navigational equipment for the Douglas Channel.”

She expressed the benefits of the pipeline, jobs, skills training and economic opportunities. The project will create 3000 jobs during construction, 560 jobs in BC and billions of revenue for taxpayers. They will build trust with the Aboriginal communities.

“I’m proud of Northern Gateway because we have listened to people in their communities and we have designed a project that meets or exceeds all requirements. But our work is not done,” said Holder. “We will review today’s decision, while continuing our work towards meeting the 209 conditions set out by the Joint Review Panel. We also look forward to working with the British Columbia government on the five conditions for support of oil pipelines.”

Member of Parliament Nathan Cullen wrote: “Despite clear opposition from over 130 First Nations, the people of Kitimat, two-thirds of British Columbians, the Union of BC Municipalities, the province of British Columbia, and the thousands of citizens who participated faithfully in the joint review process, the Harper government has decided to listen just to the oil lobby in approving the Enbridge Northern Gateway project. Today's decision is a message to Canadians that reckless development projects can and will happen in Canada, no matter what the environmental, social, or economic importance; no matter the reputation and track record of the proponent; no matter the lack of moral and political will by the government to protect citizens.”

He added that he believes the project will not be built.

During her press conference in Kitimat earlier that day, Premier Christy Clark stated the BC Government had not changed their position. Unless five conditions are fulfilled, the BC Government will not support the expansion of heavy oil, moving forward.

“Our job is to protect the interests, the environment, the community and the future of British Columbia. We have not changed our position, it remains consistent and very clear,” said Clark.

Ellis Ross, Chief Councillor of the Haisla Nation expressed their decision was made in 2009. “If rights and title case law principals aren’t abided by, we have no choice but to go to court. What we’ve seen and experienced to date, Canada hasn’t followed case law principals in addressing our rights and title,” said Ross.

He expressed if the decision was yes, they will have no choice but to go to court in partnership with other First Nations. “By the time you make a decision like this, it’s almost too late [to extend an olive branch]. Every mistake you can think of in terms of bringing the project to us in the first place, they’ve made a mistake. I don’t know how you would correct it. Every mistake they made, we pointed out to them and said it is not following case law principals. You’re making a mistake, you shouldn’t do this. They went ahead and did it,” said Ross.

Prior to the announcement, Mayor Joanne Monaghan stated she wanted to see what was said about Enbridge. “I think it will be a yes, because I can’t see anything else,” said Monaghan.

She stated the District has done all it could following the plebiscite and most of the Councillors did not want to see Bitumen being transported in the Channel, they would sooner see a refined product being exported.

In Kitimat, Douglas Channel Watch gathered at Centennial Park following the Announcement. “I think that if Harper had any belief that this project would have been built, he would have come out personally and put the Harper Government stamp of approval on it instead of hiding under his desk as some have accused. He’s chosen the least damaging politically avenue available to him and that’s to let this project wither and die in the courts with challenges from the First Nations and Environmental groups,” said Murray Minchin.

Cheryl Brown expressed this could be a little bit of a victory for the Anti-Enbridge Side. First of all, the ball was in the courts of the First Nations now. Second, some of the 209 conditions were impossible to meet prior to the development of the project, in some cases, including clean up, they do not have the science to back up their promises.

Patricia Lange of Douglas Channel Watch stated now Harper is going to see what the people of BC feel about the pipeline.

“So many groups around BC have taken hope from the fact that our little community, the most likely community to say yes to this project resoundingly voted no. It wasn’t just 58%, because taking the Haisla vote into account, assuming they would have said no, it would have been closer to 70% of the people here are opposed to this project,” said Lange.
Comment by CEM on 19th June 2014
I don't like it when Nathan Cullen makes a statement that the people of Kitimat has said no to the pipeline. Perhaps the non-binding plebiscite vote results came out with a no vote of 1,793, but there were 1,278 people voted "yes" for Enbridge. With 4,163 eligible to vote, that means there was 1,092 people were undecided. So please Nathan Cullen and all the others stating that the people of Kitimat and British Columbia are against Enbridge, not all voted "no", there are some people that voted "yes" to Enbridge and all the benefits it would bring to Canadians.
No suprises
Comment by LindaMcG on 18th June 2014
If anyone on the planet is surprised that the Harper government completely ignored the will of the people in approving Enbridge, they have been living under a rock. He ignores Canadians on a regular basis. All Canadians should do the one thing that he cant ignore when they get the chance. Vote him and his cronies out.