Enbridge ducks forums planned by UNBC


Enbridge ducks community forums planned by UNBC

Re: The cancellation of UNBC’s public education forums about the Northern Gateway Project

Enbridge’s advertising is peppered with claims that it is committed to fair, meaningful and open discussions about its proposed Northern Gateway pipelines project. Yet last weekend, Enbridge announced that it will not be accepting the invitation of the University of Northern British Columbia to participate in public education forums scheduled for March 7 through 11 in Prince George, Burns Lake, Smithers, Prince Rupert and Kitimat. 

Is this an embrace of all opportunities for balanced, respectful public discourse? Does refusal to participate equal control of the agenda?

Since then, UNBC has cancelled the forums because it could not provide an opportunity for residents of northern BC to become informed about the Northern Gateway Project through listening to a range of perspectives. With the exception of one community, UNBC was unable to secure local speakers willing to share a perspective that supports the project.

“If no one in our region is willing to get in front of a microphone and tell us why this project is good for our future, it speaks volumes about the risks this project poses,” said Jen Rice, chair of Friends of Wild Salmon, in a press release on Feb. 21.

Haisla councillor and former chair of Friends of Wild Salmon Gerald Amos stated that community forums are an important addition to the federal Joint Review Panel, which does not itself fulfill the need for public dialogue. “The quasi-legal Joint Review Panel will be inaccessible to the average citizen, and has been designed to exclude many of the issues community members and First Nations have said they are concerned about.”

I have two nagging concerns.

The first is a growing list of vitally important issues not addressed by the JRP, First Nations’ health and human rights, global warming / climate change, the sources and production of the bitumen, and the implications of getting it out the ground and into the pipe, the continuing expansion of the tar sands, the introduction of bitumen-laden monster tankers to the north coast of B.C., the project’s impacts on Canada’s economy and energy sector, the project’s impacts on the Northwest’s ability to build strong, diversified, sustainable communities, our international commitments on carbon management, the electricity required to pump the diluted bitumen; the sources and funding of that power, the abrasive, corrosive, and explosive characteristics and potentials of dilbit, and condensates.

Does bitumen float or sink?

The second begins when I google the words “Enbridge deceit”.

John Phair