You are here: Home Blog Presenters in Victoria tell review panel to say no to Enbridge — 253 times
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 by Emma Gilchrist

Presenters in Victoria tell review panel to say no to Enbridge — 253 times

“This didn’t occur to me — I mean that I would react this way. I’m an ex-Marine. I don’t do this,” Bill Gaylord said, choking back tears, as he addressed the panel reviewing Enbridge’s oil tanker and pipeline proposal last week in Victoria.

It was a particularly poignant moment amongst seven days worth of poignant moments as citizens of all walks of life presented to the National Energy Board’s joint review panel during its stop in Victoria from Jan. 4 to 11.

The presenters had to register 15 months ago and schedule three months before their 10-minute slots rolled around. When all was said and done, 253 presenters had spoken in Victoria as part of the largest public input into a National Energy Board hearing in history.

They came one after another for seven days — their eyes wide and wondering, many nervous, with cracking voices and tearful eyes. For several, this was the first time they’d spoken before an audience in all their lives. They were young, they were old, they were apprehensive and they were defiant, but every single one of them had something in common: they were saying no to Enbridge’s desire to bring an oil pipeline and tankers to British Columbia’s coast.

They urged the panel to protect B.C.’s tourism industry, to protect our existing ocean economy, to protect the fabric of our communities and, countless times, the panel was asked to “do the right thing”  — to think of generations to come, to remember their responsibility to do right by British Columbians and Canadians.

“I come from a time when leaving our resources in the ground for our children and their children was the mutually agreed wisdom of us all,” Gaylord told the panel.

Several oil spill experts testified that B.C.’s northern coastal waters are too risky for oil tankers and that a cleanup would be impossible.

Reverend Ken Gray, an Anglican priest, told the panel: “Christians and other faith traditions unite increasingly around the so-called Golden Rule, treat others as you wish to be treated, or the inverse and original form, do not treat others as you, yourselves, do not wish to be treated.

“The rule thrives within the human community, and equally so can be applied to the relationship between humanity and creation. If you do not wish to be exhausted, ignored, trodden upon, taken over, sacrificed for the benefit of others, then do not act in a similar manner.”

Sid Jorna, a retired commander of the Royal Canadian Navy with a bridge watch-keeping certificate and a Master’s degree in engineering, said oil tankers “pose an unacceptable risk of a significant oil spill with extreme consequences to the environment. I believe that a major tanker accident in this confined sea is inevitable over time due to the nature of the tankers and the nature of the sea and climate of this region.”

Jorna was one of several presenters to quote John Vaillant’s book The Golden Spruce: “Large enough waves will expose the sea floor of the Hecate Strait. The result is one of the most diabolically hostile environments that wind, sea and land are capable of conjuring up.”

Lliam Hildebrand, who holds red seals in welding and steel fabricating and works in the oilsands, spoke of his frustration in only being able to find work in the oil and gas sector.

Hildebrand recently surveyed ten of his fellow oilsands workers on such issues as banning raw oil exports, refining oil in Canada and reducing tax subsidies to the fossil fuel sector and found most were in favour.

“This project doesn’t make any sense for people in Canada,” Hildebrand told the panel. “It doesn’t make sense to the workers in the oilsands and we understand that very clearly, actually, almost more clearly than anyone else in this country because we realize that this is going to export not only raw oil, but raw jobs.”

Frank Mitchell, a retired World Bank Economist, told the panel about divesting of his shares in Enbridge. “The investment was extremely successful financially and I expect Enbridge will continue to be profitable, but … we are no longer shareholders and could not, in good conscience, consider being shareholders today,” he said.

In urging the panel to say no to Enbridge’s proposal, Mitchell said: “You are the nearest we have, that Canadians have, to a judge and jury to decide if this project is consistent with the Canadian public interest.”

On the second last day of hearings, Terry Dance-Bennink, a retired vice-president academic of Flemming College in Ontario, told the panel how this issue has prompted her to get engaged in politics for the first time in years.

“I intend to get active in both provincial and federal politics for the first time in decades,” she said. “I will campaign this spring for whichever party has the strongest no tankers off our coast stance.”

Indeed, many presenters noted how, despite their passionate and powerful presentations, the review panel isn’t really going to be making the final decision — this is ultimately a political decision, whether we like it or not. Now the only question is whether we let Prime Minister Stephen Harper determine our fate from Ottawa or whether we elect a B.C. government that will stand up for our province.

To drive home the point, on the final day of the hearings, 80 people volunteered to go canvassing door-to-door in two Greater Victoria ridings as part of Dogwood’s Knock the Vote — an event carried out with “military precision” according to Jack Knox of the Victoria Times Colonist.

To continue to put the pressure back on our provincial politicians, we’ll also be holding a Knock the Vote event in Vancouver after the last day of hearings.

Thank you to all of you who have taken the immense time and effort required to present to the review panel. We’ll continue to live blog the hearings as they move on to Vancouver this week.

Faces From the Hearings

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Robin Chambers says:
Jan 15, 2013 09:28 PM

100% against Enbridge "Northern Gateway" in Victoria hearings!!

James M. says:
Jan 16, 2013 02:54 PM

Enbridge and Harper - No means NO. No consent, no social license, no pipeline! Period, end of story!

ron wilton says:
Jan 16, 2013 04:01 PM

Between harper and oliver's bombast and the patronizing fairy tale cartoons that enbridge and CAPP flaunt on TV, we could not have asked or even dreamed of getting the kind of opposition to this absurd oroject, that these clowns have served up.
They are truly their own worst enemy.

P Campbell says:
Jan 16, 2013 04:21 PM

Stop the destruction of natural environments for profit, they are priceless. Harper do what the people want not what lines your pocket.

James Buchanan says:
Jan 16, 2013 08:52 PM

That's everyone who spoke... I love it. I'm still not convinced this review panel wasn't just government's ploy to placate the masses and then just go ahead with approvals anyway. Well let them try. The voice of many will be there to stop them. This is the way of democracy... apparently, a concept Stephen Harper has either forgotten or perhaps never believed in to begin with.

Rick Sheppard says:
Jan 17, 2013 06:58 AM

Harper and his cronies have gone too far to promote their myopic economic strategy for Canada- gut the environmental legislation, exploit natural resources, contaminate the rivers and valleys- all of this and more just to flog tar sands oil worldwide!

jesse Hohert says:
Jan 17, 2013 10:59 AM

no pipeline! it only benefits enbridge. Keep the refinerey jobs in western canada, keep the coastline protected.
no means NO
jesse Hohert

L. Hackett says:
Jan 18, 2013 01:07 AM

We are not the "gateway", we are the doormat for the oil industry. The 3 lies we hear over and, safe, and economically beneficial.

S Dodge says:
Jan 28, 2013 12:19 AM

Northern Gateway Pipeline is not worth the risk. We must not let it happen.

Lucia S. says:
Feb 02, 2013 12:04 AM

I still cannot believe this is happening. It is so obvious that this venture will be disastrous to the environment and the Harper government persists in continuing with this nonsense, the only sure result is that somebody will make a lot of money, jobs will not be generated, all at the expense of the weak. It is about time that we open our eyes and stop believing that the economy is the most important thing, because somebody elected Harper and hi selling card was: the economy and jobs at any expense, something like saying, the end justifies the means, it does not.

Mike Holt says:
Feb 15, 2013 08:27 PM

OK, next step when Harper says it will go ahead. The biggest sit-in, camp-in, instant town ever seen in BC - right where the pipeline will cross the BC border! 10,000 people camping there until Enbridge gives up! How about it? If dogwood can't organize it-I will. Mike

Al Lehmann says:
Feb 15, 2013 08:40 PM

I pledge that I will do all that is in my power to ensure that no federal conservative is EVER elected in my riding again. This enbridge disaster is proof to me that the Harper government has no respect for the environment or the people it houses.

Patrick Serné says:
Feb 18, 2013 04:57 PM

An oil transporting pipeline is like a gardenhose under a magnifying glass. Once the proposed pipeline will be constructed it will only be a short time before the line will malfunction and spew many tons of crude oil which will take decades to cleanup. Mother earth does not produce crude oil anymore. Why should Canada export this resource when crude oil is not created anymore? Exporting crude oil is like selling off one or more of our provinces and we hope that will not happen either.

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