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

Monday, April 14, 2014

Way to go, Kitimat!

Congratulations to the people of Kitimat who took on Enbridge and won.

What a kerfuffle! Whatever you think about the pipeline proposal, how could you not be offended when a dozen Calgarians are flown into your town to tell you how to vote? Even after all this time, the oil industry doesn't get it.

I think of the wonderful Rachelle Van Zanten song from her Oh Mother album: I fight for life.

With all my weapons down
And in a peaceful manner
I defend the land that cannot hide
from dirty policies made by the ones who squander
While leaders fight for oil
I fight for life.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

For Pete's Sake

The road to civil disobedience

Thanks to the BC Civil Liberties Association for presenting protest rights workshops across BC's northwest this week. The calm and cogent presentation outlined the laws around peaceful gatherings and what protesters can expect from police and what their rights are when the police question, detain or arrest participants.

Most peaceful protest does not involve the breaking of any laws. Marches, sit-ins, gatherings, and picket lines are legal methods of drawing public, government and industry attention to concerns about unjust laws, unfair practices, or dangerous activities. Often, in fact, it seems the public needs to organize demonstrations to pressure government or police to enforce existing laws: sawmills blow up, rivers are polluted, air quality is toxic and nothing happens until the public pressures officials to step in.

Civil disobedience occurs when people knowingly break laws they consider unjust (Rosa Parks sitting near the front of the bus) or break laws to prevent activities they consider wrong (Haida elders blocking logging on Lyell Island or Tahltan elders blocking access to the Sacred Headwaters). This has a long tradition around the world - think of Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Britain's women of  Greenham Common and BC's Betty Krawczyk. In her online article on civil disobedience Janet Keeping gives a succinct overview of the law and tradition around civil disobedience. She reminds us that "Civil disobedience has ... contributed a great deal to improving the human condition. It will do so again."

And bravo to the Haisla girls basketball they flash mobbed the Kitimat mayor.

 Kitimat Mayor Joanne Monaghan No Enbridge Haisla Basketball Game - Dan Mesec