A news release from Apache says it will release its fourth-quarter and full-year 2011 results at 7 a.m. Central time on Thursday, Feb. 16. As reported earlier, the details of results, including the decision on the future of the Kitimat KM LNG project are expected to be discussed in a conference call and webscast at 1 p.m. Central time
As the financial and energy markets speculated Monday, Feb. 6, 2012 that Apache Corporation would make an official announcement during its quarterly webcast next week that the Kitimat LNG project will go ahead, a company report to the District of Kitimat Council, released this evening, is a strong indication that the project is a go.
Mayor Joanne Monaghan told the council that Apache has reported to the district that work at the site for the LNG terminal at Bish Cove has been “progressing well” through the winter and was now “progressing toward the construction phase.” Work so far at Bish Cove includes site preparation, building an access road and a temporary dock for the crew boat.
Monaghan said that Apache will begin work on a work camp for the Kitimat LNG project at the old Eurocan site “shortly.”
Monaghan also that the province of British Columbia told her that it estimates that there will be 800 permanent, long term jobs in British Columbia over the life of the projects 9,000 construction jobs over the 10 to 15 year multi-train (phase) plans from the KM LNG, BC LNG and Shell projects. Premier Christy Clark estimated that LNG projects will bring the province $1 billion in revenue. (For Premier Christy Clark’s statement see Vancouver Province Liberals shift strategy to LNG)
The mayor said that Apache plans to work closely with local contractors in general contracting, supplies, concrete supply, logging and land clearing and other supporting jobs.
Apache will be in competition with Rio Tinto Alcan for the local workforce and contractors. Last Thursday, RTA, which is working on a $3 billion modernization project at the Kitimat aluminum smelter, stole a march on Apache, by holding a day long conference for contractors and suppliers across British Columbia, including a tour of the plant, so they could bid on work during that project.
At the same meeting, district council was told that Shell has begun the official transition in its takeover the old Methanex site, which it recently purchased from Cenovus by applying for a licence of occupation at the site, which included asking for permission under district of bylaws to put a Shell Canada sign at the entrance to the site, replacing the current Methanex sign. The old Methanex site will be the base for Shell’s plans for its LNG project.
(This story has been updated and corrected after checking Christy Clark’s statement on LNG which at the council meeting was attributed, in part, to Apache)
There is increasing speculation in the financial and energy markets that Apache Corporation, the lead investor in KM LNG partners, who propose to build the Kitimat LNG project will announce the investment decision next week. If the decision is positive, and it is expected to be positive, that means the work underway at the Bish Cove site will ramp up to full construction.
The speculation is heightened by the fact that the two other partners in KM LNG, Encana and EOG, report the following morning. Rumours on the Kitimat announcement began after Encana delayed its announcement by a week from its normal time in early February. (At that time one energy market analyst who follows NWCEN on Twitter contacted this site to ask if there were rumours here. At that time, there were none)
Apache has scheduled a fourth quarter report conference call and webcast from its headquarters in Houston, Texas, Feb. 16, 2012, at 1 pm Central Time.
Apache has always said that the go/no-go decision on the Kitimat project would come in the first quarter of 2012.
The market speculation, however, may not be entirely good news. That’s because this morning, Andrew Potter, of CIBC World Markets, told a conference call that the rush to export liquified natural gas from northeastern BC and Alberta to Kitimat would mean building one or two large natural gas pipelines, instead of several small ones, to reach the terminal projects.
Reuters quoted Potter as saying: “There is no logic at all to seeing three to five facilities built with three to five independent pipelines,” he said.
At the moment, the just approved BC LNG project, a cooperative of 13 energy companies, plans to utilize the existing Pacific Northern Gas facilities which already serve northwestern British Columbia. The PNG pipeline roughly follows the communities it serves along Highway 16. KM LNG is in partnership with the Pacific Trails Pipeline project, which would take that pipeline across country.
The third LNG project, by Shell, is still in the planning stages, but it, too, would need pipeline capacity.
Although there is general support for the LNG projects in northwestern BC, and less controversy over natural gas pipelines, last fall, members of one Wet’suwet’en First Nation house blocked a survey crew for Apache and Pacific Trail Pipelines who were working near Smithers on that house’s traditional territory. The survey project was then stood down for the winter.
The fear among some First Nations leaders and environmentalists is that the Pacific Trails Pipeline could, intentionally or unintentionally, open the door to much more controversial Enbridge Northern Gateway bitumen pipeline, since the PTP and Northern Gateway could follow the same cross country route.
Whether or not Potter intended to stir up a hornet’s nest, he likely has. What appears to be logical and economic for a CIBC analyst in a glass and steel tower, one or two giant natural gas pipelines, is now likely going to be fed in to, so to speak, and amplify the controversy over the Northern Gateway pipeline.
Potter also told the conference call that together the natural gas projects do not have enough gas in the ground to support the export plans. That means, Potter said, more acquisitions and joint venture deals in the natural gas export sector. Bob Brackett of Bernstein Research, quoted by Alberta Oil magazine, also says there will likely be consolidation of Kitimat LNG projects, since there was similar consolidation in Australia.
The National Energy Board has approved a 20-year-export licence for Kitimat’s second LNG project, known as BC LNG. A NEB news release says:
The export licence authorizes BC LNG to export 36 million tonnes of LNG, which is equivalent to approximately 47.9 billion m³ of natural gas, over a 20 year period.
The maximum annual quantity allowed for export will be 1.8 million tonnes of LNG, which amounts to approximately 2.4 billion m³of natural gas.
A co-operative comprised of natural gas producers, marketers and LNG buyers is a central feature of BC LNG’s export proposal, where members of the co-operative will submit bids to provide natural gas to be liquefied or purchase LNG.
A committee will review the bids and choose those that will yield the greatest margin to the co-operative. Membership in the co-operative is currently comprised of thirteen parties, and additional members may join upon request.
BC LNG’s export model permits smaller natural gas market participants in Canada to play a part in exporting LNG. In approving BC LNG’s application, the Board satisfied itself that the quantity of gas to be exported is in excess of the requirements to meet the foreseeable Canadian demand.
The Board also determined that the volumes of natural gas proposed to be exported are not likely to cause Canadians difficulty in meeting their energy requirements at fair market prices.
The Board acknowledged the potential economic benefits associated with BC LNG’s project. In particular, the Board noted the benefits for the Haisla Nation, including an interest in BC LNG, and employment opportunities resulting from the development and operation of the liquefaction facility.
The Haisla Nation has a 50 per cent stake in the project through the Hasila Nation Douglas Channel Limited Partnership.
The NEB says the Haisla say the new revenue source would allow the First Nation to support health, education, community development and the many other needs of the First Nation and its members. The Haisla say that business and
employment opportunities associated with the development of the LNG terminal and associated
facilities would be available for Haisla members and businesses.
The NEB also says that the Haisla indicated
that a number of other Aboriginal persons, businesses and nations would see economic spinoff benefits from the development.
The NEB decision says there will be two “liquefaction trains” on barges in Kitimat harbour. The
first train is scheduled to commence in 2013-14 and the second train in 2016-18. Each train will
have a daily volume requirement of 3.5 million cubic metres a day (125 MMcf/d) of natural gas. After completion of both trains, the terminal will have an annual liquefaction capacity of 1.8 million tonnes of LNG.
LNG from the Terminal will be pumped directly into an LNG tanker berthed adjacent to the barge. It will take about 30 days to fill a typical LNG tanker and approximately 25 days to make the roundtrip between Kitimat and markets in Asia.
Talisman Energy Inc. and Tenaska Marketing Canada both have a stake in the project.
The NEB approved the first project, known as Kitimat LNG, operated by the KM LNG partnership on October 13, 2011.
That export licence authorized 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 come 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.
A third LNG project by Shell Canada, which will use the old Methanex site in Kitimat and the old Methanex marine terminal in Kitimat harbour is currently in the preliminary planning stages.
The NEB hearings on the LNG projects are different from the current Joint Review Panel hearings on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. The JRP hearings are a “facility hearing” and cover the entire project, including environmental impacts. Since neither LNG project actually crosses a provincial boundary, the NEB’s jurisdiction is limited to granting the export licence.
Just who is interfering with the fairness of the Northern Gateway Joint Review panel hearings?
Almost every day since the hearings began in Kitamaat Village, intervenors have raised questions about the fairness of the hearings, especially after Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver began attacking what they called “foreign radicals,” the government say are “hijacking” the hearings.
Perhaps the most dramatic moment in the hearings, so far, came in Smithers, on January 16, 2012 (without the national media present) when the leaders of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation brought up the question of political interference in the hearings.
Chief Alphonse Gagnon, of the Laksamshu clan, summed it up this way.
Before this Panel started, we had Prime Minister Harper make a comment about how he agreed with this proposed pipeline and also the Minister in charge agreeing with the pipeline.
The Minister in charge talked about the effects if the pipeline don’t go through, the financial effects on the government and the financial effects on industry itself, on jobs that would be created.
This is the stuff that happened just before we got into this. This is the stuff that was coming onto the news last week.
Now, that’s them talking about the fact that this — what will happen if the pipeline don’t go through. My question is the other way around; what will happen if the pipeline goes through?
The same day, Chief George Williams of the Tsayu clan, said to the Joint Review panel:
Wakoos; somebody should tell Stephen Harper of what wakoos meant.
Wakoos means respect. It is our job, Tsayu, Laksilyu, Gilseyhu, Laksamshu, to
protect our territories. Our language, our culture comes from the territories. Harper should show wakoos, respect, and come to our territory and put on a feast and let us know what his plans are.
The first day of the hearings weren’t as dramatic, but on that day, on the first morning, Haisla chief Henry Amos said:
I have nothing against the Panel but I’m concerned. I’m concerned about the decision making of this project; that Ms. [Sheila] Leggett and Mr. [Kenneth] Bateman both work for the National Energy Board, one as a Vice-Chair and the other one as a Chair of the Regulatory Policy Committee, I believe — correct me if I’m wrong — and Mr. [Hans] Matthews, First Nation from the Eastern Province of Ontario.
When I think about it — and this is my own personal opinion — we, the Haisla are already at a disadvantage. We have no representation from the Province of British Columbia.
I realize your tasks. I also know that you’re an independent body, which is good in a way, but what bothers me the most is that you’re appointed, I think from your information it was from the Minister of Environment and the National Energy Board. You’re appointed by the Federal Government and it’s the same government
that is telling the world that this project should go ahead. That is my biggest concern.
Chair Sheila Leggett then cut off any discussion of the fairness of the hearings, as she would from then on, by saying:
Chief Amos, we’re here today to listen to your oral evidence that wouldn’t be able to be put in writing, and the example we’ve been using in the Hearing Order and the information we’ve been publishing is that it would be traditional knowledge.
So I’m hoping that your comments will be along those lines because that
is what we’re here to listen to today.
Just a few hours later, Haisla chief counsellor Ellis Ross wrapped up the first day of hearings by saying: “I came into this meeting today thinking I was going to rant and rave about the comments made by Harper and Oliver and then I found myself basically trusting you guys to assess everything we said here and take it into consideration.”
After three weeks of hearings, on Friday, January 27, the Vancouver environmental umbrella group, Ecojustice, a coalition of the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, the Living Oceans Society and Forest Ethics, filed a motion with the Joint Review Panel calling into question the fairness of the hearings.
The motion asks the panel to
determine if recent statements by the Prime Minister or by the Minister
of Natural Resources who is responsible for the National Energy Board constitute an
attempt by those Ministers to undermine or have had the effect of undermining the
Panel hearing process or the credibility of any intervenor or any person appearing
before the Panel resulting in unfairness in the hearing process, and if so, that the Panel identify the steps it will take to correct such unfairness.
It also calls on the panel to
determine if recent statements by the Prime Minister or by the Minister
of Natural Resources have contributed to an appearance that the outcome of the Panel’s proceedings has been predetermined, undermining the Parties’ and public confidence in the independence of the Panel.
It wants the panel to issue a statement confirming that is independent of and not influenced by statements of the Prime Minister, the Minister of Natural Resources or other Ministers of the Crown.
As well, Ecojustice wants the panel
to confirm that the credibility of Parties and witnesses will be tested only through information requests and cross examination and will not be influenced by statements of the Prime Minister, the Minister of Natural Resources or other Ministers of the Crown.
It calls on the panel to confirm
that the Panel will be guided only by the principles of environmental
assessment and the requirements of the National Energy Board Act and the
Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
Ecojustice also wants the panel to hold hearings with witnesses to determine whether or not the hearings are fair.
Joint Review Panel spokeswoman Annie Roy told the media that Ecojustice motion will be considered and ruled on “at a later date.” Roy’s e-mail to the media also said:
“The joint review panel for the Enbridge Northern Gateway project is an independent body that was established jointly by the federal minister of the environment and the chairman of the National Energy Board.”
Within hours of the Ecojustice filing, the Prime Minister’s Office issued an “InfoAlert,” saying that it was Ecojustice who was interfering with the fairness of the Joint Review Hearings
Foreign radicals threaten further delays
Today, Ecojustice attacked the independence of the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel. ForestEthics, Living Oceans Society and Raincoast Conservation Foundation joined them in their attack on the Joint Review Panel.
Here are the facts:
The Northern Gateway is currently going through a careful and comprehensive review process to ensure the proposal is safe and environmentally sound.
Radical groups are trying to clog and hijack the process, rather than letting the panel do its job independently, expeditiously, and efficiently.
Our government has asked that the review process be conducted efficiently and without excessive delays. We believe reviews for major projects can be accomplished in a quicker and more streamlined fashion.
We do not want projects that are safe, generate thousands of new jobs and open up new export markets to die in the approval phase due to unnecessary delays.
Our Government’s top priority remains the economy and creating jobs.
Canada is on the edge of a historic choice – to diversify our energy markets away from our traditional trading partner in the United States or to continue with the status quo.
The one problem with the statement from the Prime Minister’s Office is that it appears to confirm the fears about the fairness of the hearings. That’s because the PMO release pre-judges the hearings, which are will be ongoing for a year or more by saying that the Northern Gateway is one of the “projects that are safe, [will] generate thousands of new jobs and open up new export markets.”
It is the Joint Review Panel’s decision whether or not the pipeline is safe, and will generate thousands of jobs. It is the Joint Review Panel’s task to decide whether or not the Northern Gateway pipeline is in the national interest.
In its news release, Ecojustice says
The proposed pipeline project is one of the most significant, and controversial, public interest issues in recent memory. The decision around whether or not to build this pipeline is going to affect our country — both the people who live here and the environment — for a long time to come…
This review process is rooted in facts and science — not politics — and it is the most comprehensive and transparent way to fairly weigh the project’s environmental consequences against its economic merits. Given the impact this project would have on our country, it’s absolutely critical that this process is objective, representative of all interests and conducted with integrity and fairness.
This isn’t just an ethical issue – it’s about the principles of fairness and due process.
We filed this motion because Ecojustice believes those participating in the process — and all Canadians — need to hear from the JRP that its process has not been compromised by recent political controversy.
This month, the Prime Minister and Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver singled out “environmental and other radical groups” for threatening to “hijack” the regulatory system to achieve a “radical ideological agenda” and undermine Canada’s national economic interest.
Minister Oliver has gone so far as to say that he expects the JRP to rule in favour of the project.
The news release points specifically to documents obtained the Climate Action Network and released by Greenpeace, which includes lists of “supporters” and “adversaries” of the bitumen sands.
According to Greenpeace, the March 2011 “Pan-European Oil Sands Advocacy Strategy” was prepared by by federal bureaucrats to help undermine support in the European Union for cleaner fuels legislation by targetting national and European level politicians
The strategy documents says the government’s “adversaries” as Canadian NGOs and environmental organizations, Aboriginal groups, competing industries. It also singles out the media in Europe, although identification of the media is blacked out.
Most important the document lists the National Energy Board as a government ally, even though it is supposed to be,under the law, an independent quasi-judicial body.
According to the document, government allies include Shell and BP and European industry associations as well as the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, federal government departments, Alberta, business associations and unidentified NGOs.
Despite what the Prime Minister’s Office news release has said, so far, not one foreign radical has appeared before the Joint Review Panel to question the fairness of the hearings, rather it has been intervenors, First Nations leaders or local residents.
On the second day of the hearings at Kitamaat Village, Cheryl Brown of Douglas Channel Watch described how the small group at first paid the expenses out of its own pocket.
We paid the expenses from our own pockets and from local donations. We sent out leaflets to make sure that everyone, warning people of the looming deadline. And we sent those out to make sure that everyone in Kitimat was aware of the deadline so they could sign up to speak at the hearings.
At that time, I was very willing to pay for the printing and distribution costs, and I actually had it on my credit card intending to pay it, but I was pleasantly surprised to be reimbursed by Friends of Wild Salmon. We are truly a grass roots organization, and I don’t like the untruths that are being told to discredit groups such as ours.
Personally — personally, not speaking on behalf of Douglas Channel Watch because maybe they wouldn’t want to accept help from the Mafia; I don’t know. But personally, I would welcome any support, financial or otherwise, from any organization, any institution, any country that will help us protect our land and water from oil spills.
Unless polluted by crude oil, our productive, beautiful environment will be around long after the oil has been depleted. The Enbridge project is not worth the
risk. Please do the honourable thing and say no to this dangerous project.
In Burns Lake, on January 17, 2012, on the second day of testimony from the Wet’suwet’en, Chief Ron Austin, Laksilyu Clan, from the House of Ginehglaiyex, the House of Many Eyes, said.
And to talk a little about the federal and the provincial government, they have to respect our title and rights. Creatures and things of our environment are also involved in our title and rights, how we maintain them.
Government has to live up to the honour of the Crown and deal in good faith. Prime Minister Harper says that it will be a Canadian process that decides whether this project goes through. He should concentrate on respecting our title and rights before any project is slated for our territories.
The Wet’suwet’ens, Nat’oot’ens, Gitxsans of this area all respect our territory, respect living things in our territories, from the smallest creature to the biggest creature.
Another excuse is energy security for Canadians is the reasoning for Harper’s allowing Gateway Project to proceed. Energy security is not enough for destroying the beautiful, pristine environment of northern British Columbia.
Each time in the hearings, when someone brings up the question of fairness, or asks whether or not the outcome has already been predetermined, wonders if the Joint Review Panel is rigged in favour of the government, chair Sheila Leggett repeats the same words.
In Burns Lake, after the welcoming ceremony, Leggett said:
I was particularly struck with some of the opening comments. This is a tremendous opportunity of learning, certainly for this Panel, of a variety of cultural ways and one of the things that struck me was the explanation, which I appreciated, about the rattle cry and how that signifies straight talk and serious business.
The other thing that I’ve heard over the days that we’ve been in the community hearings to date is the use of the word “respect”. That word “respect” has come up at all of the community hearings that we’ve had.
I wanted to just take a moment before we get into more of the process to
talk about where we’re at at the process at this point. The purpose for the Panel being here at this point is to gather oral evidence. This is the — what we’ve — as cited as examples is the Oral Traditional Knowledge. That’s the information that we’re after at this point.
This process will unfold as we’ve outlined in some of our information and
there will be a point, later on during Final Argument, for all parties to present and bring forward their positions on the Application that’s in front of this Panel.
With the motion from Ecojustice, Leggett’s attempts to put off the continuing question of the fairness of the hearings until the final argument stage more than a year from now are facing a new and formal challenge. At some point soon, the Joint Review Panel will have to rule on whether the hearings themselves are fair and respect Canadians. If the panel doesn’t rule expeditiously, there will likely be a court challenge.
The bigger question is whether or not Stephen Harper and Joe Oliver, as Chief Williams asked, have wakoos, respect, not just respect for the First Nations of British Columbia, but respect for Canadian democracy.
ATIP_Oil Sands Advocacy Strategy (pdf)
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.
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.
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.”
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 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.
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.
The debate over the role of Kitimat in the Northern Gateway pipeline debate is being infected by ongoing Twitter spam.
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.”
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.
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.
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.