Say the Names...

Al Purdy wrote a wonderful poem called "Say the names say the names" which celebrates the names of Canadian rivers - Tulameen, Kleena Kleene, Similkameen, Nahanni, Kluane and on and on in a celebratory song.

Enbridge is planning to build a dual pipeline that will carry bitumen and condensate across hundreds of waterways between Edmonton and Kitimat. Some of these waterways are rivers like the Parsnip (or what's left of it), the Nechako, the Morice and others are smaller creeks whose names are often known only to the folks who live along their banks or who fish in their shadows or who bend to wash or drink as they cross paths.

I want to collect the names of these rivers and creeks, to collect your stories, your poems, your songs so we can collectively give voice to the land living under the line Enbridge plans to draw.

People have also sent me copies of their presentations to the community oral presentations. If you'd like to add your voice, email me ( your stories and I'll post them for you. The copyright remains with you.

All the best.
Sheila Peters

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The harlequin ducks are back on Driftwood Creek

We've been out looking for a couple of weeks now, wandering the edges of the creek, noting the rise and fall of the water, the muddy and nutrient foam tricking our eyes into seeing ducks bobbing in the back eddies.


This morning, just across from a small viewing platform in Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park, we saw the usual three: two males and a female. We stood high up on one bank of the creek; they hopped up onto rocks on the other side and we all had a good look at each other.

There's a fascinating Species at Risk Study that outlines their use of creeks for breeding - they tend to form long-term bonds and the females will take up to four years to reach reproductive maturity. Having clear, fast-flowing streams seems to be essential to their survival because they feed on the "invertebrates in the substrate" - i.e. all the little creatures wriggling around in creek gravel. Dippers eat from the same table. 

If you've read my submission to the Joint Review Panel (see Tuesday, April 24 - Congratulations to our community), you'll know why seeing these ducks this morning, and a dipper two days ago,  has such significance.They are markers of the ways in which home is both one specific and familiar place and also connected to the greater world in ways we barely comprehend.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Terrace hearings begin this evening

The oral statements begin this evening in Terrace - I encourage anyone who can to check them out - the statements in Smithers proved to be powerfully unifying for all of us concerned about this project.

Transcripts are available (see link on right), plus you can listen in. Bravo to all of you who have signed up and don't forget - you can still make a written presentation.

Order of Appearances for Oral Statements

Terrace, 7 May 2012 7:00pm – 9:00pm

􀂾 Ken Beddie
􀂾 Patrick Butler
􀂾 Christopher Gee
􀂾 Inke Giannelia
􀂾 Aaron J. GreyCloud
􀂾 Anne Hill
􀂾 Greer Kaiser
􀂾 Jupiter MacDonald
􀂾 Roderick Bruce Meredith
􀂾 Terry Walker

Terrace, 8 May 2012 9:00am – 12:00pm

􀂾 Robin Austin
􀂾 Matthew Beedle
􀂾 Frances Birdsell
􀂾 Rob Brown
􀂾 Amanita Coosemans
􀂾 Jim Culp
􀂾 Ian Gordon
􀂾 Bessie Haizimsqu
􀂾 John How
􀂾 John Jensen
􀂾 Mikael Jensen
􀂾 Brian Kean
􀂾 Amy Klepetar
􀂾 Lori Merrill
􀂾 Andrena Moore
􀂾 Dustin Quezada
􀂾 Laszlo Ratkai
􀂾 Sheree Ronasen
􀂾 Roberta (Boby) Wagner
􀂾 Allen Wootton

Terrace, 8 May 2012 1:00pm – 5:30pm

􀂾 Judith Chrysler
􀂾 Richard Clair
􀂾 Mark Collins
􀂾 Jezz Crosby
􀂾 Francoise Godet
􀂾 Paul Hanna
􀂾 John Krisinger
􀂾 Alexander Lautensach
􀂾 Alan Lehmann
􀂾 Larisa Tarwick
􀂾 Jane Treweeke
􀂾 Brenda V. Wesley

Terrace, 9 May 2012 9:00am – 12:00pm

􀂾 Randall Rodger
􀂾 Robert Hart
􀂾 Andre Jean Carrel
􀂾 Donald J. Bruce
􀂾 Betty Geier
􀂾 Paul Geier
􀂾 Nada Last
􀂾 Troy Peters
􀂾 Cheri Reidy
􀂾 Shekina Smart
􀂾 Colette Stewart

Terrace, 9 May 2012 1:00pm – 5:30pm

􀂾 David Duddy
􀂾 Walter R. Fricke
􀂾 Malcolm Graham
􀂾 Sam Harling
􀂾 Noel Reidy
􀂾 Mia Reimers
􀂾 Amy Spencer

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Lynnda McDougall - This pipeline will be stopped!

Good morning.  Welcome back to Smithers.

My name is Lynnda McDougall.  I currently work at the Smithers Public Library, but since I moved to the Bulkley Valley in 1971 I've been a substitute high school teacher,  a bookkeeper and a business owner.  I spent 20 years of my career in resource-based industries, through both boom and bust times: first in forestry as a tree-planter, slasher/bucker and a stump to dump logging contractor, then in mining exploration as an office manager/bookkeeper for a diamond drilling firm.  For 8 years, I worked with First Nations  at the Dze L k'ant Friendship Centre.

Throughout this length of time,  and breadth of experience, I have never encountered an issue that has united and galvanized the people of the Pacific Northwest like the threat posed  to our livelihood and our very way of life by the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline.

I am not a scientist, but you will be hearing from many of them, detailing the atrocious assault on our watersheds that a pipeline rupture, or worse yet, an oil tanker spill would deliver. 

I am not a scientist, but I am a mother and grandmother and a 41 year resident of this wonderful region and when I look at the map of the pipeline route , memories come flooding back – memories of activities and places I had assumed I would share with my grandchildren, now under threat of degradation and extinction:  camping, boating and trout fishing at Owen Lake – spill into the Morice? GONE!  Homesteading on the banks of the Bulkley River at Quick and Telkwa, drawing drinking water in buckets from the river, summer and winter;  swimming, tubing, rafting from Walcott to Quick – NOT IN
BITUMEN POLLUTED WATER!  Swimming lessons at Round Lake with my daughter NOT A CHANCE!  A family wedding on the beach at Grey Bay on Haida Gwai?  Black tar balls don't enhance white bridal gowns and deformed, toxic seafood doesn't provide a delicious wedding dinner.

I am not an expert, but I do recall a sudden storm in November of 1978 when hurricane force winds blew, and over 10 inches of rain fell on Terrace and area in 2 days.  The resulting floods  and mudslides devastated the entire NW:  44 washouts on HWY 16 between  Hazelton and Terrace alone, bridges gone; CN rail tracks, including a train with 2 crew members from Smithers, swept into the Skeena River;  over 6000 acres of timber blown down in the Chapman Lake area alone and the PNG natural gas line ruptured in the Telkwa Pass cutting off the primary heating source to Terrace, Kitimat and Prince Rupert.

This incident is relevant today because it highlights the difficulties in trying to repair infrastructure in rugged terrain, in poor weather and with few transportation options. From Smithers to the west coast, we have ONE road and ONE rail line.  When these are impassable or compromised, the only alternative is aircraft.  Mountain flying is hazardous at the best of times and inclement weather simply makes it impossible.  

In 1978 PNG repair crews were delayed, first because of weather, and then by conditions as described by PNG's sales & service manager of the Terrace district, John Low, in a news story:

“Unless the service is restored Wednesday, the area will find itself without a major source of home heating. Low said the major break in the line occurs about 26 miles upriver from Copper River Bridge on Highway 16. Twelve men - as much as the site can hold - have been flown in by helicopter, and they face the task of building a four inch bypass line 200 feet up a 70 degree slope, across 1000 to 1500 feet on top of the ridge, and back down the slope. Machinery has no access to the area, and Low said the men are
doing all the work by hand. Two welding machines are the only equipment being used on the site.”

It took more than a week to restore natural gas service to tens of thousands of people,and a full two years to rebuild the roads, bridges and rails to the previous state.  

These are the conditions facing anyone trying to repair an oil pipeline leak, and then it won't be natural gas dissipating into the air, but heavy, toxic bitumen poisoning our waterways, killing our fish and destroying our environment.

We Northerners are a sceptical lot. 

We have seen the results of projects built by those who don't live here or understand the realities of our climate and geography:  the beautiful buildings designed by southern architects that are cold and draughty and leak, the mega projects that flood our farmland and dislocate our First Nations. 

We don't believe Enbridge's empty promises and smooth assurances – we've talked to the people affected by Enbridge's 2010 spill along the Kalamazoo River in Michigan and heard about the slow initial response, subsequent denial of compensation, the reprehensible treatment of claimants and the continued ruination of sections of the river. 

We know that under Canadian law, the total liability to Enbridge for an oil tanker spill is a paltry $40 million – the BC taxpayer will be paying the rest of the billions required.

We don't believe the Harper government's argument that this project is in the national interest- at least not OUR nation.  China will make out very nicely! Greedy Oil producers, many of them foreign owned and controlled, will reap record profits to be shipped offshore along with the bitumen and Canadian jobs. 

The Harper government would have us believe we need the revenue generated by Northern Gateway to pay for our social programs, but we know that eliminating the billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to already profitable oil companies would provide that funding. 

We are astonished anew, each day, as the Harper Government announces proposed changes to laws that will strip us of our environmental protection and regulatory review processes, including that of this very panel.  We urge, no we implore you, as the people of conscience we hope you to be, to join the people of Northern BC in condemning this project.

I am a Northerner, by choice and by temperament. Northerners can be fiercely proud, independent, resilient, responsible, rowdy and resourceful.  We have our differences and divisions, but in the face of a common and pervasive threat we will work together to defeat this project.  We love this country, it is our home, and we will protect it. We will become the radicals the Harper government accuses us of being: radically informed and radically involved. WE WILL STOP THIS PIPELINE!!