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

Friday, April 22, 2016

It ain't over 'til it's over...

Leave those signs in place!

Earlier this year, I speculated about perhaps taking down the sign I have posted at the bottom of our driveway - talked about breaking out the champagne. Well, I'm thinking again.

The Friends of Morice-Bulkley (FOMB) recently sent out this call for action - it seems even more important now that Christy Clark and Rachel Notley are talking electricity/pipeline deals

Dear Supporters,
The FOMB Steering Committee recently wrote a letter to federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau, urging the federal government to enact a legislated oil tanker ban on the north coast of BC. See our letter below.
We understand that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's call to formalize a moratorium on crude oil tankers has elicited strong push-back from oil executives and business. We need to make our voice heard also.
Please add your voice to ours in one of these ways:

  • write the Honorable Minister of Transport Mr Garneau at
  • sign an on-line letter at Dogwood's website
  • or pick up and mail a Friends of Wild Salmon tanker ban postcard. Postcards can be found at Mountain Eagle Books, Oscar's Source for Adventure and the Local Supply Company.
FOMB Steering Committee

Sample letter

Honourable Minister of Transport Marc Garneau
330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0N5
April 4, 2016
Dear Honourable Minister Marc Garneau,
We are a conservation group in a Skeena watershed community that has a deep connection to our wild salmon, both for economic and quality-of-life reasons. The Skeena River is the second largest wild salmon producer in Canada and an international destination for sport fishing tourism.

We commend the federal government’s commitment to protecting the North coast of British Columbia from oil spills with a tanker ban and call on the government to make it a permanent, legislated oil tanker ban. The voluntary ban, which had been in place since the Exxon Valdez oil spill, was completely disregarded by the previous government when they approved Enbridge Northern Gateway tankers traveling from Kitimat to ports in Asia. 

It is even more important the ban be given the force of legislation now the science clearly shows that diluted bitumen can’t be cleaned up with conventional oil spill response technology. The U.S. National Academy of Science published a comprehensive study of the fate and behaviour of spilled diluted bitumen (dilbit) last December, citing evidence from the Kalamazoo and Mayflower dilbit spills. The multi-disciplinary panel of experts concluded that conventional spill response technology and plans are unable to effectively deal with dilbit. 

The 27th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill was last month. The spill devastated the community of Cordova, Alaska and left Prince William Sound with an oily legacy that persists to this day. The Exxon Valdez oil spill continues to be a sobering reminder that accidents happen, clean-up is impossible, and the environmental and economic impacts last for decades. The oil that couldn’t be removed from shorelines still persists, and is still toxic, an ongoing source of contamination implicated in the failure of Prince William Sound herring stocks to recover and the slow recovery of other impacted species.

Throughout the north Pacific, salmon are already stressed by warm waters due to climate change and this was particularly evident in 2015. Salmon runs in B.C. did not collapse in 2015, but the fish were smaller than usual and the warm rivers had disastrous consequences for sockeye salmon in the Columbia River, with 97% perishing on their upstream migration. There were also substantial losses of sockeye in the Fraser River due to warm water in 2015.

If we want salmon in the future, we are going to have to protect wild salmon populations in rivers such as the Skeena and Nass on the North coast of British Columbia. Coastal First Nations have already banned oil tankers in the waters of the Great Bear Rainforest. A federally legislated oil tanker ban will respect coastal First Nations and provide binding legal protection to this coast and wild salmon economy.

Here's what the The Globe and Mail reported in the article linked at the beginning of this post: 

Meantime, Enbridge is still pushing ahead with plans for Northern Gateway, which was approved by the NEB in June, 2014, with more than 200 conditions attached. Ms. Notley had said during the provincial election campaign she was adamantly against Gateway for an array of reasons but was open to reviewing Kinder Morgan’s plans. Now, she says she is no longer irrevocably against Gateway.

“I’m not completely closed on it, no, and I will say that my opinion on this has evolved and changed a little bit over time,” the Premier said. “So there are some serious concerns about it we have to hear … The NEB itself came up with over 200 conditions, and those need to be addressed. So it’s a bit of an uphill battle when you compare it to Kinder Morgan, which has effectively been functioning for 50 years with very few problems – not none but very few – one wonders which is the easier way to go.”