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“It’s not a question of IF an oil spill, it’s a question of when” – from the documentary SpOil

As a nation, Canada is recognized for our ability to come to the aid of people around the globe. It is baffling, therefore, when an opportunity to be a world leader in standing up for the rights of our own land and those who inhabit it, our government is choosing to take the path of greed. They are choosing to put today’s perceived economic needs ahead of historical rights of First Nations and place the future of a valuable part of our country in jeopardy.

The Great Bear Rainforest is in the middle of a controversy over the movement of tar sand products from Alberta to China. A pipeline would carry 525,000 barrels of oil PER DAY from Edmonton to the west coast of British Columbia. Going east, a second pipeline would carry 193,000 barrels of condensate which will then be used to dilute products from the tar sands to prepare them for the westward journey.

Once the oil reaches Kitimat, B.C., it then would be transported, via hazard filled waterways in the Great Bear Rainforest, for export to China and other energy markets. In order to accommodate this huge industry, roads would need to be built as well – all of these methods of transportation will upset the ecosystem and consequently the lives of the many First Nation groups living in the area. This work would be done by Enbridge, a company with a dismal record for safety in the industry.

How is this not wrong? Why is it that in the recent federal budget, a very sneaky change was made to the approval process for this type of project? Because the economics of this project and others like it are deemed more important than preserving our land and the cultures within it.

It is critical that we support environmentally sound decision making and politicians, like Elizabeth May, who stand up and speak out against this proposal. And environmental groups like the David Suzuki Foundation, who have been speaking on this issue and can suggest ways for you to make your voice heard.

Hartley Bay is one of the communities in the line of fire from the proposed pipeline. An area resident, Lynne Hill, spoke about the beliefs of the Gitga’at people in the area when interviewed by masters’ student, Katherine Turner. Hill stated that the Gitga’at believe that no one should “take more than you need and don’t waste anything that you take” from the land. Everything about this proposal flies in the face of this philosophy – the philosophy of the people who have been stewards of this land since before anyone had heard of Enbridge.

Please watch the video SpOil. Please be moved to speak up.

Thank you to fellow blogger, Ehpem, whose amazing photos and words on this subject prompted this post.