Analysis: Rumour that China, not Canada, will build Gateway adding to pipeline controversy

On the same day:

  • In Davos, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told the World Economic Forum that his government consider it a “national priority” to ensure the country has the “capacity to export our energy products beyond the United States, and specifically to Asia…In this regard, we will soon take action to ensure that major energy and mining projects are not subject to unnecessary regulatory delays — that is, delay merely for the sake of delay.” (See Globe and Mail Harper vows ‘major transformations’ to position Canada for growth)
  • The New York Times in In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad exposes the horrendous, almost slave like conditions in China’s dark satanic mills that create and polish the shining iPads (that probably millions actually to use to read the Times.)
  • In The Ottawa Citizen, Terry Glavin writes Questions Canadians should be asking about China. The University of Victoria journalism professor takes a hard look at the growing power around the world of Sinopec, the Chinese state petroleum company, one of the biggest backers of the Northern Gateway pipeline, saying that “Sinopec became co-author of Stephen Harper’s new foreign policy and energy strategy.”
  • In the Vancouver Sun, Mark Jaccard, of Simon Fraser university, takes a wider view of the Northern Gateway pipeline and its effect on greenhouse gas emissions in Pipeline itself not the only problem we should worry about and also questions the role of China in oil sands and pipeline development.
  • A quiet rumour has been heard more and more in Kitimat for the past month, that China, not Enbridge, will build the Northern Gateway pipeline, bringing in thousands of Chinese workers, living in work camps for the pipeline construction.

You hear a rumour once, it’s just a rumour, not worth reporting.

You hear it three or more times; a couple times in quiet conversation with different people, then overhear it in a Shoppers Drug Mart lineup, it means that rumour, unlikely, in fact far fetched, as it would be in reality, shows that the pipeline debate is touching a raw nerve in northwestern British Columbia.

On its surface, the rumour could never be correct, Canada would never agree (as this country did when building the railways more than a century ago) to bring in thousands of Chinese workers to build the pipeline across the British Columbia wilderness.

On the other hand, one thing fuelling the rumour is that when China invests in other countries, often there are compounds full of workers and managers from China, who capture the best jobs in a project, leaving the low-level work to local labour. The media has reporting Chinese abuse of workers in Africa for the past few years. The latest in The Guardian on January 2, 2012, reported Workers claim abuse as China adds Zimbabwe to its scramble for Africa

Underlying the rumour is fear, fear of further loss of jobs to China.

In northwestern BC, the saw mills are closing, while raw logs are shipped to China. Each day CN hauls huge coal trains (coal, of course, one of the greatest contributors to greenhouse gases) to the port of Prince Rupert, returning with intermodal trains, averaging 170 cars, with containers full of cheap Chinese made goods destined mostly for the United States.

According to new poll, published in The Calgary Herald, 84 per cent of Albertans want the bitumen upgraded in the province. (Marc Henry The politics of upgrading Alberta bitumen )

At the same time, the Harper government continues to demonize the environmental objections to the Northern Gateway pipeline, which leads at least one columnist on The Calgary Herald, Stephen Ewart, to say Northern Gateway pipeline debate could stand better diplomacy quoting Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver as saying

“You wouldn’t hear from American special interest groups, celebrity environmentalists and champagne socialists that Canada’s oilsands are subject to the toughest environmental monitoring and regulation in the world,” Oliver said.

Ewart, who is pro-pipeline, goes on to say:

Canada needs an export pipeline to a location on the West Coast to sustain the economic impact on the national economy from oilsands development. What isn’t needed is more antagonistic comments from government ministers.

 

It will likely take a lot more than diplomatic niceties to calm the pipeline controversy.

The one promise from Enbridge, the Alberta bitmen sands and the Harper government that may have some traction in northwestern British Columbia is tens of thousands of temporary construction jobs. It is well known that there will be very few permanent jobs from the Northern Gateway pipeline in this part of Canada.

Now it appears that some people here in the northwest are starting to believe there won’t even be construction jobs along the Northern Gateway pipeline.

The Calgary oil-patch, who today cheered Environment Minister Peter Kent when he said he would fast track the regulatory process for energy development, should take note, the rumour about vast compounds of Chinese workers building a pipeline through the BC bush is not coming from “champagne socialists” but from working people who want solid, good, long-term, well-paying jobs. These are people who also fish, hunt, hike and boat and are worried about the environmental impact of the pipeline and trying to balance jobs and the environment.

The campaign against “foreign” environmentalists, fronted by Ezra Levant and Ethical Oil but  likely originating in the inner circles of the Conservative political war room, may be backfiring.

Raise the question of foreign interference and that incites all kinds of political rumours,  rumours unintended in the political bubble just inside the Ottawa Queensway.

The China worker rumour appears to have started just a short while after Ethical Oil’s campaign against the foreign environmentalists began to attract widespread media attention.

SinopecThe China worker rumour doesn’t come from the political commentary set who published columns today, but from the coffee shops, drug store lineups and Legion Halls.

The China worker rumour shows a lack of trust in northwestern BC for Enbridge, for Sinopec, for the province of Alberta, for the Harper government.

As far fetched as the rumour is, the idea that Chinese workers will build the pipeline can only escalate the controversy over the Northern Gateway pipeline.

 

 

 

 

Analysis: John Wayne and Northern Gateway. How the movie star economy is vital to northwestern British Columbia

When I was a kid in Kitimat, for the sake of this argument let’s say it was 1960 and I was ten, my friends were all abuzz.

“John Wayne is in town,” says one friend.

“No way,” says a second.

“Yes,” says a third. “My Dad says John Wayne came in a couple of days ago and went down the Channel to fish.”

John Wayne on his boat
John Wayne at the helm of his boat The Wild Goose, now a US National Historic Landmark

None of my friends ever confirmed that “the Duke” had come into town. The adults did say that “everyone knew” that John Wayne had come up from Vancouver Island, gone to Kitamaat Village, hired a Haisla guide and then had gone fishing on Douglas Channel.

John Wayne’s fishing trips were famous.  He was Hollywood’s most avid fisherman. He was a frequent visitor to the British Columbia coast throughout his life.  (He also fished in other areas such as Acapulco.)

There’s a secret economy in northern British Columbia. The movie star economy. For more than a century the rich and famous have been coming to northern BC to fish and to hunt and to hike. Sometimes the stars and the millionaires are open about their stay. More often they slip in  and no one is the wiser.

One of the lodges along the coast that caters to those members of the one per cent who like to fish, hunt, kayak or hike is Painter’s Lodge in Campbell River. On its website, Painter’s Lodge proudly numbers among its previous guests John Wayne, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Susan Hayward, Julie Andrews and Goldie Hawn.

The King Pacific floating lodge also has movie stars among its guests each summer, and CEOs and billionaires, not just from the United States but around the world. King Pacific is well known for its tight confidentiality policy to protect the identity and privacy of its guests.

Not all the rich and famous opt for the well-known luxury resorts.

They slip in to the north incognito. Perhaps they drive up Highway 16.

These days if a movie star’s private jet lands at Terrace Kitimat International Airport, that jet would be unnoticed among all the other private jets coming and going with  energy executive passengers.

A guide’s van waits close to the landing area, the star walks, unnoticed, from the plane to the van, and disappears into a small, but comfortable, lodge somewhere in the bush. A float plane lands at a secluded cove or near a river estuary. The man who gets out, unshaven, in jeans and a checked shirt could be an Oscar winner or one of the world’s successful entrepreneurs or even one of the exploitative Wall Street one per cent. Perhaps even a top of executive of a major energy company.

The guide will never tell. That’s part of the business.

So as Prime Minister Stephen Harper, contemptuously told Peter Mansbridge, when asked about the Northern Gateway pipeline: “Just because certain people in the United States would like to see Canada be one giant national park for the northern half of North America, I don’t think that’s part of what our review process is all about.”

Harper also said: “It’s one thing in terms of whether Canadians, you know, want jobs, to what degree Canadians want environmental protection.”

The prime minster, with his masters degree in economics obviously doesn’t get it. What’s wrong with a national park that supports thousands of jobs?

So let’s add up the jobs.

Enbridge’s official estimates say Kitimat will get between 30 to 40 permanent jobs from the bitumen terminal. (Other documents filed with the Joint Review say 104 permanent jobs). At the moment, Cenovus imports condensate to Kitimat, processes it at the old Methanex site and ships the condensate by rail to the Alberta bitumen sands. That means, according to local business leaders, that when the current Cenovus jobs are absorbed by the Enbridge project, Kitimat may get as few as 25 net jobs.

The jobs along the pipeline route, at least from Prince George to Kitimat, you can probably count on the fingers of one hand.

The temporary construction jobs will be in the northwest for a couple of years and then they’ll be gone.

Now what about the movie star economy? It’s been supporting British Columbia for a century.

Seven luxury lodges belonging to the Oak Bay Marine Group. King Pacific Lodge. Other smaller, luxurious lodges that aren’t as well-known or publicized.

Hundreds of small lodges up and down the BC Coast, along the Skeena River and the Nass. The lodges and resorts at Babine Lake, close to the pipeline route.

Then’s there’s the tackle shops, ranging from mom and pop operations to all those Canadian Tire stores in the northwest.

Guides and outfitters. Campsites. Gas stations (yes people up here drive using gasoline). Restaurants.

With the Harper government’s message control, and its unfortunately brilliant political tactics, Northern Gateway is no longer an argument about jobs and pipelines.

For conservatives, the pipeline debates are now a litmus test of ideological purity. Facts don’t matter.

Take for example, Margaret Wente in today’s Globe and Mail when she says: “These environmentalists don’t really care about safety matters such as oil leaks or possible pollution of the aquifers.”

Or Peter Foster in the Financial Post, who says: “Promoters of oil and gas development are in the business of creating jobs; radical environmentalists are in the business of destroying them.”

That latter statement is the now consistent refrain among the idealogues, the answer for them to why Chinese and American energy money is acceptable but money from American or other environmental foundations isn’t acceptable. And it’s false.

An oil spill, whether from a tanker or a pipeline breach would destroy thousands of jobs in northwestern British Columbia. For Wente to say that environmentalists don’t care about oil spills, simply shows she is so narrow minded that she doesn’t read the news pages of her own newspaper, much less doing some real reporting and reading the transcripts of the Joint Review Hearings where up until now  all the testimony has been about safety matters and oil leaks.

So who produces more jobs in northwestern British Columbia? Movie stars? The Alberta oil patch?

Answer: the environment, the fish and the wilderness create the jobs.

The movie star economy creates the jobs.

So movie stars. Come on up. Your secret is safe with us. Enjoy the fishing.

(And I’ll bet that if John Wayne, American conservative, and life long fisherman, were alive  today, he’d be standing beside Robert Redford and the other stars who are opposing the Northern Gateway pipeline).

Kitimat council votes to hold Northern Gateway poll sometime in the future

Phil Germuth
Kitimat District Councilor Phil Germuth. (Robin Rowland/Northwest Coast Energy News)

Kitimat District Council voted Monday night, Jan. 16, 2012, to hold some sort of poll or vote to find out whether the community supports the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project.  The timeline of the project and how the poll would be conducted were unclear after the vote.

Rookie councillor Phil Germuth had filed a notice of motion proposing that the “District of Kitimat put out a survey to residents asking them for their opinion on the Enbridge project.”

A proposed survey Germuth circulated  had this a preamble that said:

 

As this project has generated much discussion  and public awareness I feel it would be beneficial to council  to know what the will of the people is.  If the public is anywhere 50-50 on this then council’s position to remain neutral  would be justified. However. if the public opinion  is in the range of 65-35, be it for or against the project, then council may consider changing our stance.

The previous council had voted to remain strictly neutral on the controversial project.

A sample survey contained six questions that would ask if people supported the pipeline, the super tanker port, whether or not Kitimat residents would support the project if they received royalties and what environmental precautions would be wanted if the pipeline project was approved. Two questions concerned natural resources policy, whether or not bitumen should be refined in Alberta and whether Canada should process its own natural resources.

How the poll would be conducted was unclear from Germuth’s proposal. His preferred choice was a double envelope mail ballot, similar to the one used in BC’s HST referendum. He noted that a professional survey carried out by a major polling firm would be too expensive and an internet survey would be unreliable.

After the motion was moved and seconded, Councillor Mario Feldhoff immediately proposed an amendment calling for the survey to be carried out after “after the completion of the JRP process.” Feldhoff argued that Kitimat residents should be able to decision once all the evidence had been presented to the panel reviewing the project.

At this point, Councillor Rob Goffinet began asking when exactly the Joint Review Process would be completed.

Did the councillors mean once all evidence was heard, after final arguments or as the JRP report was being presented to the federal cabinet.

Rob Goffinet
Councillor Rob Goffinet argues on the motion to hold a poll of Kitimat residents on the Northern Gateway pipeline. (Robin Rowland/Northwest Coast Energy News)

That question is key, since the Joint Review Panel changed the rules of procedure on January 4, 2012, a decision that has caused confusion every day of the hearings so far. The panel has split the hearing process in two, unlike the LNG hearings last June. Chair Sheila Leggett now calls testimony by intervenors “community hearings,” and is restricted to “personal experience.” Any questioning of witnesses is postponed until a round of final arguments.

Feldhoff’s amendment was adopted, but without any clarification of what the motion meant by “completion of the JRP Process.”   Council then voted for the motion to hold the poll.

There is more uncertainty now surrounding how the Joint Review Panel is proceeding, the rules have already changed once.  Prime Minister Stephen Harper is still threatening to stop certain groups, with US funding support, from participation in the review process, although how he could do that and leave the panel with any credibility and independence is also uncertain.

Any attempt by Harper and his government to block people or groups appearing before the JRP may result in a court challenge, which might delay the “completion” even further, contrary to the wishes of the government and the oil patch.

That means the date of any poll in Kitimat would also be uncertain.

Germuth argued repeatedly that is likely that the majority of people in Kitimat have already made up their minds.

Twitter spam infects Kitimat Northern Gateway debate

The debate over the role of Kitimat in the Northern Gateway pipeline debate is being infected by ongoing Twitter spam.

Twitter spam
Examples of the Twitter spam infecting the Kitimat pipeline debate

Starting late Saturday and continuing Sunday, Twitter messages  frequently appear, with many different identities, but few if any followers and with one message  “Kitimat torn by risks, rewards.”

Twitter spam
Spam is infecting the Twitter debate on Kitimat and the Northern Gateway pipeline

The message refers to a headline in the Vancouver Sun,  by Gordon Hoekstra,  part of his coverage of the first day of Joint Review hearings on the pipeline,  Kitimat torn by risks, rewards, but the spam doesn’t include a link to the original Vancouver Sun story.

References to Kitimat are appearing more frequently as interest grows in the story of the Northern Gateway pipeline.   While many of the tweets are informed opinion on all sides of the debate with appropriate links, there are also a growing number of tweets by conservatives, mainly in Alberta and Saskatchewan, that clearly show complete ignorance of the issue.

Clarification One key example from this weekend.  There have been tweets from people both in Alberta and Saskatchewan claiming there are no forests in Kitimat. They look at a map and see the boundaries of the Great Bear Rainforest and decide that saying that Kitimat is surrounded by forest is a “green lie.”

Northwest Coast Energy News is asking for Twitter for a comment on the spam.

Haisla voices at the Joint Review: Marilyn Furlan

This story presents the unfiltered voices of Haisla chiefs when they testified at the Northern Gateway Pipeline Joint Review hearings on January 10, 2011, at Kitamaat Village, based on the official transcript.  There have been minor edits for clarity.

Marilyn Furlan
Marilyn Furlan

My name is Marilyn Edith Furlan nee Paul. I was born in Bella Bella in 1948. I was raised in Kemano, Kitlope, Kitamaat Village, Butedale, and Port Simpson.

My father is Chief Gupsgolox, Dan Paul Senior of Kitlope. My mother, Mujive Wigadof Edith Paul of the Beaver Clan. My father is in the Eagle Clan.

My traditional name is Pulth Xa-Leeth , which means it is the abalone shells imbedded on the outside of the canoe. My sisters is Pulth Ha-Neeks , which is the abalone shells imbedded on the inside of the canoe.

My name came from my great-great grandmother mama’u Annie Putlh, of Hinaxula Kitlo. She passed away in 1966. We believe she was pretty close to 114 years old when she passed away in our Kitimat hospital here in Kitimat.

I once asked mama’u, “Do you know when your birth date is?” She said all she knows is what her mother told her, that she was born when the berries were starting to get right and it was probably around June or July.

My name was given to me by my grandmother in a feast hall. Emily Amos baptized me at that feast.

I am the member of the Eagle Clan under Chief Gupsgolox, Dan Paul Senior.

I want to go back to Kitlope where my forefathers are from. Kitlope River is a water that comes right from the glacier. It is very, very blue. The borderline when you see that water, a blue water, istamas and that’s where the water meets the borderline of the Hinaxula meet at the mouth of Gardner to Haisla waters, the colour changes.

If you ever get a chance please go to visit. Your experience is a peaceful cleansing spirits when you come out of there. You wash your face in that glacier blue water and it’s to be — and you are protected while you’re there. You enter without animosity.

My grandmother, mama’u, used to tell us stories around when she was mending an eulachon net or making an eulachon net, in Kitlope when a boat started coming in where sockeye that was dried in the sun and it was very, very red, as you can see it when you’re going in, each clan had an area for their own to dry their fish as you’re coming out — along the Kitlope — Kemano.

My grandmother, mama’u Annie Pulth, she never believed in taking fire — firewood — taking trees down for firewood. Every time after a high tide she would go — we’d walk along the beaches of Kemano and we’d pick up a driftwood, put it on top of the logs, wait for it to dry out, go back and pick those logs up to burn for firewood, and also for smoking.

She taught me how to identify ghlksam, ebaum , that’s carrots and buttercup roots, in the back of our home in Kemano. You dry them or you boil them fresh. She always used to tell me that “You learn from this. You watch and you learn.” She was always so afraid of a war breaking out. She said when the maniwa come in you’ll never starve.

She didn’t believe in wasting any kind of fish. We ate everything on that fish. Goat meat, the fat off the goat, she’d take it off, take it into the smoke house and dry it. I had to taste everything. There was nothing that I couldn’t say “No, thank you”.

The seal that was outside in Kemano, the ducks, if we wanted that, we needed that, they’d hunt right out on the front of our village. We only hunted what we could eat for that time.
As a little girl we would sit around while she was making eulachon net and annoosa and tell stories about the fishing that she used to do. She used to go down to — go as far as Seattle by canoe. It used to take them two weeks to get there in Butedale. And she’d always come back with beads — necklaces from the First Nations down there for me.

We harvested the cedar bark and she would make cedar baskets out of them. As a little girl I remember her giving me little baskets. Every year as I grew up she made another basket big enough for me.

Mama’u also took me on her dugout canoe that she made herself to go and harvest some clams, some cockles. My favourite was always mussels. She would take the (inaudible), the dried fish, smoked fish and put it in a cedar box for our winter food. We’d always have that with the oil, the eulachon grease.

Mama’u was a very tiny, tiny woman but very powerful. She was the mother of all mothers. She would tell stories about — especially about the maniwa (ph) that she was so afraid of. She would tell stories about them coming in to Kemano, turning around and going back out, and then always cautioned us whenever they arrived in Butedale — that was our summer home — to stay away from there because they’ll kidnap us. We were never allowed to go down to the float. We always had to stay in our area.

I was one of the luckiest ones that was brought up by the community. Butedale and Kemano was a very small community. Men went out fishing; the women stayed home. Everybody was our mother. All of us, everybody was our mother, but mama’u was the head. Like Clifford said, she was the head.

I remember when the first helicopter she ever saw in Kemano, she ran out with a broom trying to chase that helicopter away because she’d never seen one before.

My traditional foods are now from my dad, brother, brother-in-law that fish and hunt and they share with me. Have you heard previously about the traditional foods that we have and had? Some of them we haven’t tasted in a long time, especially, for me, living in town.

Included in it is the red cod, black cod, halibut, trout, eulachon, eulachon grease, clams, cockles, sea cucumbers, mussels, sea urchins, prawns, herring, herring eggs, crabs, hunting goat, bear, moose, seal meat, ducks, geese. Most of them are prepared the same way; smoked. Halibut is dried, air dried, canned, barbecued. Best is eating it fresh.

I myself, fish in the Kitimat River for small trout, salmon, steelhead. Follow the season.

In the Hamatichi-sa Kitamaat Village — Kemano Village, pardon me — I trap squirrels. My dad taught me how to trap squirrels, skin it and stretch it, clean it, rabbits, martin, weasels. I trapped with my dad. Then I would sell it to provide income for myself, enough to buy candy or a chocolate bar whenever we walked so many kilometres — in those days it was miles — up to Kemano where Alcan had built a water — where they got their water, where they get their B.C. Hydro water.

I remember skinning my first weasel, and there’s a part in there that you have to make sure you miss, and I didn’t. And my dad stood by and laughed and laughed because when you hit that spot, it smells, but I still had to clean it myself. I used to get 25 cents a squirrel if it was really nice, five cents if it wasn’t, so I made a lot of nickels.

Nuxalk is visual learning, by watching your grandparents or your parents prepare. The most fascinating part of preparing was eulachon grease, the preparation and how long it takes to prepare for eulachon grease.

My youngest son had an opportunity to go with Chief Gupsgo lox to help make the eulachon grease.

Mama’u taught us never to waste any kind of food. I don’t ever recall seeing garbage around in Kemano, in our little village, or up in Kitlope, because that’s what we were taught.

Mama’u took me up to Kitlope to go eulachon grease making up there, and we’d go up in a — in those days they were called the little putt-putt boats. When you started it, you had to turn this wheel. Up there is a story about the man who turned to stone. And I recall her always putting a towel or a blanket over my head as we were going by the man who turned to stone.

Then one day I asked her, “Why do you do that to me?” I’m a nosy kid. I’ve been nosy since I was small and still am today. She said, “Because I didn’t want you to have nightmares because when you’re going by that man who turned to stone, it looks like he’s watching you as you’re going by.”

When you get up to where we used to camp, our house was made out of logs that was halfway and the rest was a canvas. The floors were bare. I recall mama’u when she got up in the morning and she made puyas, which was Indian tea and she always fried bread, and she’d have it on the table when we’d get up.

The syrup in those days used to come in cans, and when you dipped your bread into the — that fried bread into that, it used to stretch like molasses and you used to have to turn your bread around to cut the syrup off. The one thing I liked about the bare floors is you never had to sweep. Mama’u harvested the stinging nettles to make twine for an eulachon net and scoop nets.

As a little girl, I had very, very bad eczema on my hands and mama’u would take me at the back of the house to take shavings off of alder, soak a piece of cloth and wrap it around my hands to take the infection away.

She taught me how to harvest devil’s club to make medicine tea. Chief Gupsgolox, he still goes out to get hewood down our channel and mom prepares it for me.

Our traditional foods, the seaweed and the herring eggs and abalone are traded with a Gitga’at families, the Kitasoo and the Bella Bella family. We traded mostly with eulachon grease.
Mama’u and I harvested salmon berries, blueberries, thimble berries, wild cranberries, huckleberries, aseena — and I don’t know what it’s called in English — facetum — I think that’s called parsnip. We used to steal sugar from mom’s cupboard and dip it in there to eat. Elderberry, wild crab apples, apples and the stingy nettles.

Stinging nettles, that’s a job I didn’t like but mama’u gave me, because it stung if you didn’t pick it right.

My sister Lorna and I — I have six sisters and one brother — spoke Haisla quite fluently. When it was time to go to school, to the English-speaking school, we had to learn to speak English because that’s the only thing the teacher taught us in, but mama’u always spoke to me in Haisla.

I am the elder’s coordinator. I believe everything happens for a reason, why I ended up there at my stage in life. The Haisla language, I understand it, but I’m just learning how again to speak it. I so believe that everything happens for a reason and every reason is for a good reason. Being an elder’s coordinator and being with the elders and we’re sitting around the table and they speak Haisla, I’m starting to pick it up.

I’m also a bus driver for the three and four-year olds. It is a job that I’m so thankful for in this stage of my life and my age right now. The children, they light up your life. Early in the morning, my first pick-up is at eight o’clock and it’s still dark out. The last ones I bring home is at 4:00. In between that time I’m with the elders.

And then one day I was laying in bed and I thanked the creator for where I am today because it’s the children that light up my life and it’s my elders that put me into a peaceful sleep every night.

My grandparents, Walter and Violet Wilson, taught me a lot too. They taught me how to help whomever comes to you.

My uncle Taylor, when we were eight, nine years old, papa’u Walter used to tell us to go and help Uncle John, old John Hall, cutting wood with the old blades, with the hacksaw, big long thing, and we’d go and help them pack their wood up. Always help one another. Don’t have to be asked. Get up and help. “Wigella clab” — we help one another. I have instilled that in my children, help one another, my grandchildren.

When I talk about Kitlope and my dad, the Chief Gupsgolox, mama’u, Clifford, Kenny Hall, I feel so, so blessed that I — that they’re still here with me. I talk to Kenny Hall a lot about Kitlope, reminisce, nusa. Up there in Kitlope is where we come from, right in there. Gosh, it’s been a long time since I’ve been there.

The Gupsgolox pole was taken from Mis’kusa, which belongs to my dad, Chief Gupsgolox. It sat in Misk’usa. In 2006 we went to Sweden to pick up that pole. It is now sitting below my dad’s house waiting to go back home in March when eulachon season is on. Hopefully there will be eulachons this year were it lay back to rest.

When we come back from Butedale — that was our summer home — my dad was a fisherman, and I’d come up here and live with my grandparents, as you’re kind of coming up the channel there, you could see the yellow of buttercups, the blue of the forget-me-nots as you were coming in. You don’t see that any more.

A river, Minette Bay, the grass was brown. When Eurocan left, as a bus driver, I started noticing that the green grass, the eel grass was coming back. I started noticing the seals coming in, the fish coming in. Just to witness the seal when they’d get a fish in its mouth and it would come up from the water and shake its head and just play around with that fish and throw it around.

The geese, the ducks that are coming back. The eel grass starting to turn green, a beautiful green, some of our birds, I notice, are starting to come back, pigeons. We used to see that all the time and I just noticed some pigeons the other day.

It was last year, I got a call from my boss, said, “Marilyn, hurry up and get those kids over here, you’ve got to see this”. I said, “I can’t”. I said, “It’s 50 kilometres an hour on this road, I’ll get caught for sure”.

When the porpoises come in and the witnesses said it sounded like a big, big noise coming into our channel. Turned around close to Alcan, went back out. The killer whales come in. The flowers are now starting to come back.

I so believe that everything happens for a reason. So I can teach my grandchildren, be observant, respect our lands. Even taking your garbage out of the bush is pollution, take your garbage out with you. Don’t throw a piece of paper on the floor, don’t throw a piece of paper on the road because that’s pollution. The family crest on my blanket is the moon and the star. What I have on my blanket tells the story of the man who turned stone, T’ismista, that’s up in Kitlope. I have on there the killer whale fin, it’s from my grandmother’s side; I have an eagle on there from my dad’s side; I have a beaver on there from my mom’s side.

I would like to add a frog on mine. I noticed on dad’s regalia that he has a frog. I asked him, “Why do you have a frog on there?” The Chief — the Gupsgolox pole, when it was taken from Misk’usa, the base was a frog. When they cut it off, they left the frog behind. That’s what’s missing on my blanket, is a frog, because I never knew there was a frog on the bottom.
I have a daughter and two sons, four grandchildren. My daughter, Indian name is Stauogh, from her great-grandmother with Boone, the late Violet Wilson. Her children, 11 and 13, also have an Indian name, which was from their baba’u, Dan Paul, Senior Chief Gupsgolox. My daughters — my granddaughter, Sienna, got her name from Nanny Lorna Bolton mugee with Boone. My other granddaughter is Msaxw, which means Rainbow.

They get their traditional food from moojith (ph) with Boone, Lorna Bolton. Lorna prepares and gives them the smoked fish, smoked eulachons and they love their dried halibut and the seaweed. Her husband Jay is non-First Nations, he also loves this food.
If there’s ever an oil spill they will have nothing. They’ll have nothing to put on their dinner plate.

The last time my two children — my two oldest children harvested any eulachons in our river right by Kitimat River bridge was in 1972. We scooped it up with fish nets and put it in an ice cream pail and brought it home and cooked it fresh. That was the very last time we ever went into the Kitimat River for eulachons.

I have seen a lot of our resources depleted, some of them are coming back. I am very worried about the Northern Gateway Pipeline, how the spill would impact our territory. I don’t want to accept such a risk to our territory, to our lands and to our resources, neither would my mama’u, my baba’u, Walter Wilson, and all my other mama’u’s. Johnny Bolton who sits up there is my great-great grandfather. I feel them here, all of them, in here.

My youngest son is not married yet so I have to think of his children, my future grandchildren. It is going to be their uncles that will teach them this, about our resources and how important it is, when I’m gone, when my parents are gone.

I don’t want the resources which we use to teach our children of our culture to be destroyed. I honour mama’u, baba’u, our ancestors that are gone that are counting on us to keep our lands and resources free from any oil spill.
Thank you.

Haisla voices at the Joint Review: Clifford Smith

This story presents the unfiltered voices of Haisla chiefs when they testified at the Northern Gateway Pipeline Joint Review hearings on January 10, 2011, at Kitamaat Village, based on the official transcript.  There have been minor edits for clarity.

Clifford Smith
Clifford Smith

Thank you. Before I speak, I make reference to my brothers and sisters seated behind me. I know in your spirit that you stand beside me, speaking in opposition of the proposed pipeline. I thank you for your strength. My back is not turned toward you deliberately. I know you stand with me.

I acknowledge the Heiltsuk Nation and the Kitasoo/Xaixais for their strength. I would miss their arrival yesterday into our territory and I remember my grandmother speaking: when we have visitors, the power of their arrival …

I interpret that for those that don’t understand our language: “We heard their voices, their drum voices and their voices. I take that upon myself has given me strength.

Thank you to the Heiltsuk Nation….

And I know that that strength also comes with the other neighbouring nations of our territory. Thank you for that strength and I will indeed attend your hearings to return that strength that you so generously gave me; I return it to you by attending your hearings.

Thank you for standing beside me. Thank you.

I also make reference to our youth who brought our chief to see in the power of their voice and the strength of their drums. Let’s take that strength and stand together and say “No” to Enbridge.

My given name is Gaioustis which once belonged to my late Uncle Charlie Wilson. I received that name, Gaioustis, on my grandmother’s tombstone face and I have honoured that name since I received it.

I need to mention my grandmother, Annie Paw who is the head of our family and the family owns and presently owns an eulachon camp up in Kemano, Gardner Canal. I need to mention that, the importance of the eulachon to us as the Haisla. My grandmother has since passed on and the head of our camp became my late father Edmund Smith and my mum.

It’s just a little over a year ago, my mother passed away and, at that time, my brother Crosbie was the head of our camp. It’s this past September we buried our eldest of family, Crosbie, in September.

I along with my brother, Glen, have now become the head of the camp. I need to make mention of that camp. The importance of our resources that our Mother Earth has so generously given and I make mention of the neig

hbouring nations, how we link together as family; not only in a Nation’s sense but by blood.
I have family in River’s Inlet. I have family in Heiltsuk. I have family in Kitasoo/Xaixais; I have family in (inaudible). I have family in Gitga’at, I have family in Metlakatla, the upper reaches of the Coast, Port Simpson, Kinkola, Grainwall, Canyon City Ians, Hazelton Kitfunga, all the neighbouring nations.

I need to mention those nations because we are linked together — the resources from our sea, our land and sea — through the barter system. I make reference to them as my brothers and sisters for they are indeed brothers and sisters. We enjoy the resources from our sea. Until today, we enjoyed the resources of the sea.

If there’s any oil spill, whether it be from the pipeline or the ship that will transport the crude oil, if there’s any form of spill, all that we enjoy from land and sea will be destroyed.

Let us put our strength together and stand as one and say “No” to Enbridge.

The salmon from our oceans is vitally important to our diet. I’ve been travelling our waters for six and a half decades from the time I was able to travel. Our source of travel was the canoe.

I make reference to my life because it is a statement that needs to be mentioned for that’s when our teachings begin. As a small child, the teachings begin. The knowledge that I have today has been compiled all those years, six and a half decades.

I still travel these waters. I’m a retired commercial fisherman; I still travel these waters. I very much enjoy harvesting and providing for my family, my immediate family, my extended family, my friends. They all benefit from the harvest that I do.

The clams, the cockles, the mussels, the crab, the urchins and cucumber, halibut, cod, all I enjoy, that — all that I enjoy will be wiped away if there ever is an oil spill. It’s a scary fact if the pipeline is to be built. All that I and my people enjoy will be gone. Let us stand together and say no to Enbridge.

I still hunt today and most the deer, the beaver, the fowl — the water fowl — all this I enjoy on our doorstep.

I make reference to what I — a statement that I heard the other day, that we as Haisla people stand in front of a double-barrelled shotgun, indeed we are standing in front of a double-barrelled shotgun. The pipeline — the proposed pipeline will come up through our back door and its ships will come in and transport the crude oil; we are indeed facing a double-barrelled shotgun. The impact — if there’s an impact of any spoil we’ll be in disaster.

The Exxon Valdez, which took place years ago, the damage is still visible today. Last year we witnessed through the news media Gulf of Mexico, they are still suffering today.

I have three children, three grandchildren and one more grandchildren on the way; it is them that will suffer without the resources that we so much enjoy today if there ever is an oil spill. Therefore, I say no to the reality of Enbridge, no, please no.

I thank you for the opportunity to speak. I thank you for listening.

 

Haisla voices at the Joint Review: Rod Bolton

This story presents the unfiltered voices of Haisla chiefs when they testified at the Northern Gateway Pipeline Joint Review hearings on January 10, 2011, at Kitamaat Village, based on the official transcript.  There have been minor edits for clarity.

 

Rod Bolton
Rod Bolton

My name is Rod Bolton. I was born here in Kitamaat Village in 1940. My late father’s name was also “Rod Bolton”. My Chief’s name is “Ligeiff” and also was a spokesperson for the late Tony Robinson and also Sammy Robinson now as one of the chiefs of the Beaver Clan.

I can remember as a very young child with my late cousins, Chris Wilson, Yvan Woods, going over the boat on the other side where there was no industries. There was just a beautiful place to go to; to go hunt and to go fish. There’s nothing around us.

I want to show you the area, the bagwaiyas and the wa’wais that I own. It’s a place where we harvest and where we fish for fish and hunt for food. That person up there is my late — John Bolton — that’s the one Sammy was talking about — Chief to see — and right around that area, the Kitimat River, that’s right by Sand Hill – – it’s right by Sand Hill, all the way down. That’s north of — south of Sand Hill, all the way down to Peace Creek — north of Peace Creek. That’s my wa’wais. That’s my trap line, registered under the government.

On June 7th, 1993, I was able to get the name of my late dad passed on, and the chief that’s sitting beside me was the one who put that name on le gare . Like I remember that time where — it was quite an experience for me. I was on the council for the period of probably 14 years or more, though it could be less, and one of the reasons why I didn’t run again was because of health reasons, I wasn’t very well at that time.

While I was in the council I worked, I worked on the trap lines, there was some trap lines that wasn’t registered and I worked on it until we got — we got them trap lines was registered. So I know the areas, I know the names of the area. The area that I have is called the Axta ; Anderson Creek, that’s where my trap line is.

The reason why I brought this up is the pipeline, if it was to be put in place it would run over all the streams that my trap line is on. I’m not an expert at oil but I watch the news of what’s going on. So that’s what I fear, if they ever get that pipeline in there it will do damage to our environment.
Eurocan just packed up and left, what they have that’s a pulp and paper, woods damaged our river, now they talk about this. That is a big concern of mine.

I don’t mind oil, not the oil we talk about but the eulachon oil. That’s what they want, eulachon oil.

I was on the Treaty team pretty near all my time with the council and I knew some of the areas that they were working on. Environmental departments got a lot to do with it, you know, we got the provincial government, we got the federal government.

As we speak, we don’t have any representatives here from the federal government. They are back east, they’re in Ottawa area. If they have environmental department then we haven’t seen them; they haven’t approached us.

We don’t want surprises; it happened in the past. When they issued out permits in our area we weren’t involved. We are the stewards of our land, we look after the land. If it’s gone it’s not going to come back again. We seen it in places like Alaska, Mexico, Russia, like what our Chief here said, we’re not — we’re peaceful people, we like to deal with it, to deal with our concerns.
I worked in Alcan for 32 years and I retired in 1998, it doesn’t mean that I stopped fishing, I still go out. Every chance that I get I like going out and bringing my grandchildren along with me and try and teach them.

One of my experiences, when my late father was — was going out with him getting trees; I can remember the cedar shakes that we made to make a smokehouse. So we still use that, we use that to our benefit to our people.

I think one of the things that we look at of where we get our information or wisdom or knowledge is how they trained us because we didn’t have anything and that’s experience and that’s what it brings to the table and that’s what we try to pass on to the younger ones, so they’ll be able to survive in this land, in this day of age.

We used to go to my wa’wais every chance we get, my dad and I, and there’s still fish that goes up there, there’s still some coho and there’s still some kinks that goes up there, trouts.

One of the comments — one of the — our people said was on the lower Axta area it was very important progress for people, everyone used to go there and get their coho for smoking. Every time there was a flood in the river the cohos would get washed down and they go up them small streams and our people knew that, so we were prepared for that.

When I got my wa’wais, my name, it was passed on to me by my late father from his mother and from his father; so that’s how it works. That’s how our system works. So when the name goes to a person like Sammy and I, the trap line goes with them, the wa’wais goes with them and there it becomes stewards of the land; that’s how it works.

Like what Sammy said, the oldest sister is the one that inherits the name and if it doesn’t take it then it goes to the next, it goes on like that.

One of the things that I learned from my father — late father was — and late Tommy, that you cannot wear the blanket or sit in his chair until the feast is over and it is done with. And there’s different places for seating in our feast hall; it’s all arranged depending on who hosted.

We’re not allowed to be part of the feast when we’re young; it was very serious business and fear that someone would knock somebody over with the soup or trip somebody. They had to either put up a feast or pay a person for that accident.
My sister, Ann Phillips, she lives in Vancouver Island. She’s the one that we call kikilfle , the woman that goes and supports the man, getting the game and buys all the dry goods. That’s her role and that’s her responsibility. The Haisla word for that is kikilfle or moodis (ph) and the people that was there at that time was there to witness what took on.

One of the things that were learned as I was growing up is the stewardship of east wa’wais. In order for me to go to Sammy’s wa’wais, if we want to harvest anything, we had to go to the person and ask permission. That’s how they could monitor it and be good stewardship and make sure that things are not overfished or people go there and clean it out. So that’s our culture.

We want to get back to the river. We take a look at what was brought up
— what Sammy brought up, the eulachons. They was — I’ve seen that eulachons. I know what Sammy’s talking about. It was plentiful. We still had a system how we harvest the eulachons.

I can relate to my late father speaking to me about the sea, sea to sea. He’d be the first one to drive piles, to harvest the eulachons. Nobody would drive piles, just him. And after he gets eulachons, he’d invite everybody to have that feast. And when they’re ready 24 hours later, they would say “Go; go harvest,” and everybody would go.

We talked about this in our group. That’s part of conservation, to let some escape so they can come back year after year. That’s how we conserve our fish, our clams, our cockles. We were taught that.

I think one of the points in all our areas, all our progress, everything is written down. On the book that we have it’s called Haisla Land, Nuyem Stories. There’s a lot of people who worked on this. We worked on it, and all the names are on the back of it. So we understand and know what it’s all about. It’s education for the younger generation and how it had — how it passes on to names.

I have before me the — the cycle of fish that goes up these streams. We have sprint salmon. We have coho. We got pink salmon. We have deer. We have black bear. We have geese. We have ducks. We have cedar bark, crab apples, marten, beaver and berries. All those we harvest.

That’s what I do in summertime; I go out and prepare for that and my daughter is the one that picks wild crab apples for me. So that’s what we do when we prepare.

One of the things we talked about, as Jennifer was — the trap lines and how I worked on it and when my late father passed away, I was able to get some of his stuff from a box where he kept all his papers and that’s where I found an old trap line registration. And it wasn’t like paper like this. It was like a skin and how thick it was and I showed it to J. Powell. Passing on down names, that’s how far back it
goes.

One of the things that I address is that if we see a spill of oil in our area, it’ll never recover. There’s no way of cleaning it up. I seen it. I got a friend in Alaska who’s going through all this. It still hasn’t recovered. That is our concern here, why we gather here.

And with that, I’d like to thank you for the time. Thank you very much.

Editorial: Just asking: why didn’t anyone object to the Americans at the NEB LNG hearings in Kitimat?

The Joint Review Panel hearings on the Northern Gateway pipeline are less than 48 hours from now. The media are packing their bags and coming to Kitimat (or perhaps Terrace since this town is booked solid).

The propaganda war, and it can only be called a propaganda war, is in full force, driven mostly by right wing columnist Ezra Levant and his Ethical Oil organization, objecting to “foreign intervenors in the pipeline hearings at another site OurDecision.ca

This now seems to have widespread support, in a Twitter debate last night, many even moderate conservatives and even moderate Albertans were saying there is too much foreign influence in the JRP hearings.

I have one question for these people. Where were you in June? On a beach?

It was in June that the National Energy Board held hearings on the first of the three proposed Liquified Natural Gas projects in Kitimat. No media hordes descended on Kitimat. At those hearings only local reporters showed up and I was the only one that stuck through the entire proceedings. (The NEB did approve the export application)

So when the media quote Levant and his spokesperson Kathryn Marshall, the widespread stories about this malevolent foreign influence are inaccurate because they weren’t in Kitimat in June so they didn’t hear all those deep Texas drawls in the hearing room at the Riverlodge Recreation Centre.

Although a lot of good reporters are coming into town this week, they’ll all be gone by Thursday morning when the JRP hearings move on to Terrace.

So in today’s Sun Media papers Levant says:

Who should decide whether Canada should build an oil pipeline to our west coast — Canadian citizens or foreign interests?
That’s what the fight over the Northern Gateway pipeline is about. Sure, it’s also about $20 billion a year for the Canadian economy and thousands of jobs. It’s about opening up export markets in Asia. It’s about enough new tax dollars to pay for countless hospitals and schools.
But it’s really about Canadian sovereignty. Do we get to make our own national decisions, or will we let foreign interests interfere?
The answer should be obvious to any self-respecting Canadian: This is a Canadian matter, and Canadians should decide it.

Why weren’t Levant and the rest of the blue-eyed sheikh crowd (OK they don’t all have blue yes but you know what I mean) across the Rockies here in June objecting to those Americans interfering in Canadian affairs with their plans to export liquefied natural gas to Asia?

Who is behind the Kitimat LNG project? Well, the KMLNG partners are Houston, Texas based Apache Corporation, Houston, Texas based EOG Resources and Encana, a company that originated in Canada but now has extensive operations in the United States and around the world.

The second LNG project, which is now before the National Energy Board, is BC LNG, a partnership between a Houston, Texas-based energy company and the Haisla First Nation here in Kitimat.

The third LNG project is coming from energy giant Royal Dutch Shell.

When are we going to see Ethical Oil and all those conservative columnists objecting to American participation when the NEB holds hearings on the second and third LNG projects?

This goes all the way to the centre of power. Stephen Harper objects to the Northern Gateway hearings being “hijacked by foreign money.” I notice the Prime Minister didn’t object to the hearings in June with American companies Apache and EOG investing in a natural gas pipeline. Cabinet ministers Joe Oliver and Peter Kent are also concerned about foreign influence on pipeline projects. That is they are only worried about possible foreign influence when it comes to the environment. Foreign influences that are building natural gas pipelines and LNG terminal facilities are perfectly fine, thank you.

Blaming “foreign influence”, of course, is one of the oldest dirty tricks in the political playbook. In recent days Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has blamed foreign influence for the demonstrations against the rigged election in that country. In Syria, Bashir al-Assad is still blaming “foreign agitators” for the revolt against his regime. Before they were ousted, both Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Mohamar Gaddafi of Libya blamed “foreign agitators” for the Arab Spring. Go to Google News and type in “foreign influence” or “foreign agitators” and now that Google News also searches news archives, you can find stories of politicians all over the world blaming foreigners for their troubles going back to the turn of the last century.

It’s just sad to see Canada’s leading politicians and the major media joining that sorry tradition.

Note Natural Gas is not bitumen

Some in the media seems to be puzzled that most of the people in northern British Columbia are not objecting to the liquified natural gas projects. The media seem puzzled that KM LNG has been able to reach agreements with First Nations along the natural gas pipeline routes when Enbridge can’t.

(One factor is that Enbridge got off on the wrong foot with First Nations and things have generally gone downhill from there, leading people in northwest BC to question the general competence of Enbridge management.)

The answer is that natural gas is not bitumen. Natural gas is known factor. Bitumen, despite the thousands of pages of documents field by Enbridge with the JRP, is an unknown factor since there has never been a major bitumen disaster.

The worst case scenario, a catastrophic LNG ship explosion, could cause a huge forest fire. A natural gas pipeline breach under the right conditions could start a big forest fire. The environment of northwestern British Columbia has evolved to deal with fires. After such an incident, nature would take over and the forest would eventually come back. It is likely that the forest would take longer to recover than it would from a lightning strike fire, but the forest would recover. Bitumen leaking into salmon spawning rivers would kill the rivers. Bitumen stuck at the deep and rocky bottom of Douglas Channel would contaminate the region, probably for centuries.

It’s that simple.

 


Related Terrace Daily  No Apology Forthcoming by Gerald Amos

NEB approves KM LNG export licence

Energy

The National Energy Board has approved KM LNG’s (also known as Kitimat LNG) application for an natural gas export licence.

A NEB news release says:

The National Energy Board (NEB or the Board) today approved an application by KM LNG Operating General Partnership (KM LNG) for a licence to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Kitimat, British Columbia to markets in the Asia Pacific region.

The export licence authorizes KM LNG to export 200 million tonnes of LNG (equivalent to approximately 265 million 10³m³ or 9,360 Bcf of natural gas) over a 20 year period. The maximum annual quantity allowed for export will be 10 million tonnes of LNG (equivalent to approximately 13 million 10³m³ or 468 Bcf of natural gas).

The supply of gas will be sourced from producers located in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. Once the natural gas has reached Kitimat by way of the Pacific Trail Pipeline, the gas would then be liquefied at a terminal to be built in Bish Cove, near the Port of Kitimat.

The construction and operation of the pipeline and the terminal will require provincial regulatory decisions.

This is the first application for an LNG export licence that the Board has considered since the de-regulation of the natural gas market in 1985.

In approving the application, the Board satisfied itself that the quantity of gas to be exported does not exceed the amount required to meet foreseeable Canadian demand. The exported LNG will not only open new markets for Canadian gas production, but the Board believes that ongoing development of shale gas resources will ultimately further increase the availability of natural gas for Canadians.

Prior to approving the licence, the Board considered environmental and related socio-economic effects of KM LNG’s application. These effects included matters related to marine shipping, and the proposed LNG terminal and Pacific Trail Pipeline.

The Board also acknowledges the potential economic benefits associated with KM LNG’s project. These benefits include employment opportunities due to the development of the LNG terminal and the Pacific Trail pipeline.

Kitimat mayor Joanne Monaghan said, “I am glad they got it, because now the project can move forward.”

KM LNG is owned by Apache Canada Ltd. (40 per cent), EOG Resources Canada Inc. (20 per cent) and Encana Corp. (20 pre cent). The Front End Engineering for the LNG terminal at Bish Cove is now underway. The companies say a final investment decision will be made in early 2012.


A news release from Apache
said:

“The Kitimat LNG project represents a remarkable opportunity to open up Asia-Pacific markets to Canadian natural gas and we’re leading the way in being able to deliver a long-term, stable and secure supply to the region,” said Janine McArdle, Kitimat LNG President. “This export licence approval is another major milestone for Kitimat LNG as we move forward and market our LNG supply. LNG customers can have even more confidence in a new source of supply.”

“Today marks a historic day for Canada’s natural gas industry and this is fantastic news for our project and the communities where we operate. Kitimat LNG will bring revenues and jobs and the associated benefits to Canada,” said Tim Wall, Apache Canada President. “The Kitimat LNG partners are very pleased with the NEB’s approval of our export licence and we’d like to thank them for their support and confidence in the project.”

Text of NEB Decision on KM LNG(pdf)