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The Appalling BC Tar Sands Pipeline
by Ingmar Lee
To: Jody Whitney,
Manager, Aboriginal Consultation & Regulatory Compliance, BC Region
Enbridge Pipelines Inc.
Box 50, One Bentall Centre, Suite 660, 505 Burrard St.
Vancouver, BC V7X 1M4 Tel 604 694 7750 Fax 604 694 7755 Cell 778 229 7039
Dear Jody Whitney,
I haven’t heard back from you since we met at your Enbridge Gateway Pipelines presentation to the Heiltsuk community of Bella Bella, BC in October, during which you saw an overwhelming demonstration of emphatic and unanimous opposition to your corporation’s appalling scheme to pipe tar-sands oil products out to BC’s pristine coastal waters.
The meeting was inaugurated with a powerful demonstration by the Heiltsuk Singers, singing songs from their ancient (more than 10,000 years) and thriving culture. That was followed by a presentation by the children of the Bella Bella community clearly expressing their opposition to your project. After the second slide of your Enbridge PowerPoint discussing technical trivia, which was clearly designed to eat up most of the time allotted, the moderator shut your presentation down and opened the floor to the full-house turnout, who let you all know, for about two hours, unequivocally and in no uncertain terms, that your Pipeline/Supertanker project, which hopes to deliver massive quantities of Alberta Dirty-Oil Tar-Sands product across our province, to be loaded onto hundreds of giant supertankers annually for global distribution, was absolutely unwelcome in Heiltsuk territory. It was also made clear that BC Coastal First Nations are unanimously, and adamantly opposed to your project.
…your Enbridge PowerPoint… was clearly designed to eat up most of the time allotted…
During the meeting, you and your four Enbridge colleagues promised the people of Bella Bella and environs that you were truly interested in their views, were open and accountable to the community, and that you wished to return on numerous occasions to communicate with people about your Enbridge project. After the meeting you reaffirmed to me that you were open to communicate with everyone, and you gave me your business card. You asked me to help you to understand why people were so passionate about protecting the region from the inevitable oil catastrophe that will result if your project manages to proceed. I agreed to this and sent you a few examples of what is so very special about the area. I then asked you to send me whatever feedback about the meeting you and your colleagues reported back to your Enbridge superiors. Since then I have not heard back from you.
You acknowledged receipt of that information, but when I asked you to send whatever report you submitted to your Enbridge superiors regarding the meeting, you did not respond. So why did you give me your card after the meeting if you had no intention of communicating? You and your colleagues promised the Bella Bella community that Enbridge wanted an open process, that you intended to return on numerous occasions to discuss your plans and that you were open and willing to communicate.
You and your colleagues promised the Bella Bella community that Enbridge wanted an open process.
It is of great importance not only to the Bella Bella community, but to all of the First Nations of BC, to all of the people of BC, that we hear back on what you, the face of Enbridge Pipelines Inc., are reporting back to your superiors after you go about “consulting” with people along your proposed pipeline and supertanker route across this province. Your title states that you are in charge of “Aboriginal Consultation.” Consultation is where you ask people about their concerns. Why would your feedback to your boss after the meeting, in which a unanimous aboriginal concern was expressed, be a secret that cannot be freely divulged?
At the meeting, you were personally asked to divulge the 10 corporate sources of Enbridge Pipelines Inc.’s $100 million Public Relations fund, from which I assume you draw your salary. You stood up in front of the Bella Bella community and said that you were not permitted to divulge that crucial information. The people of this province are demanding to know the source of Enbridge’s massive propaganda fund. Why are you keeping such critical information a secret?
Your refusal to communicate puts the lie to Enbridge’s claim, one that you yourself promised to the community at Bella Bella, that Enbridge was genuinely interested in communicating with the community, regardless of people’s opinion of your project. I expect that your dishonesty is being repeated everywhere that you and your Enbridge PR entourage is going. Therefore you are an unmitigated liar—something which must be made clear to every community you reach as you travel along your proposed pipeline corridor across our province, “consulting” with First Nations and other communities along the way.
Ingmar Lee, environmental activist, lives on Denny Island in the central coast region of British Columbia. http://www.ingmarlee.com
[2 jun 11]