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

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Keeping our fingers crossed

This just out from Friends of Morice-Bulkley
Good news!  The court decision on First Nation and intervener challenges came out this morning and the NEB’s certificates and the Cabinet decision are quashed with the matter going back to Cabinet for reconsideration.   This means the federal government has to undertake proper consultations with First Nations and then once again make a yes/no decision on whether the project should get a certificate.
There will be lots of analysis to come but key parts of the ruling are -

[279] Based on our view of the totality of the evidence, we are satisfied that Canada failed in Phase IV to engage, dialogue and grapple with the concerns expressed to it in good faith by all of the applicant/appellant First Nations. Missing was any indication of an intention to amend or supplement the conditions imposed by the Joint Review Panel, to correct any errors or omissions in its Report, or to provide meaningful feedback in response to the material concerns raised. Missing was a real and sustained effort to pursue meaningful two-way dialogue. Missing was someone from Canada’s side empowered to do more than take notes, someone able to respond meaningfully at some point.

[325] We have applied the Supreme Court’s authorities on the duty to consult to the uncontested evidence before us. We conclude that Canada offered only a brief, hurried and inadequate opportunity in Phase IV—a critical part of Canada’s consultation framework—to exchange and discuss information and to dialogue. The inadequacies—more than just a handful and more than mere imperfections—left entire subjects of central interest to the affected First Nations, sometimes subjects affecting their subsistence and well-being, entirely ignored. Many impacts of the Project—some identified in the Report of the Joint Review Panel, some not—were left undisclosed, undiscussed and unconsidered. It would have taken Canada little time and little organizational effort to engage in meaningful dialogue on these and other subjects of prime importance to Aboriginal peoples. But this did not happen.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Lelu Island and Flora Banks

We were in Prince Rupert to attend Neil Sterritt's event at the Museum of Northern BC on May 12. He was presenting his new book, Mapping My Way Home: A Gitxsan History, to the community. It's always a treat to attend an event there - the place is beautiful in itself, and the exhibits are always interesting.

Earlier that day, we paddled out of Port Edward past Lelu Island and over to Flora Banks in the north arm of the Skeena River estuary. The camp on the island was in place, a sailboat anchored just offshore, but we continued around, hoping to cross the mouth of the estuary to Kitson Island. 


The winds were against us and we pulled ashore on a sandy beach to eat lunch and watch the tide go out, exposing the shoals that fill the area. A choppy crossing turned into an expanse laced with long sand fingers that reached well out into the estuary. The several eagles we watched as we left Port Edward turned into several dozen birds lined up with the seagulls on these sandy stretches. 

Eelgrass, so important to young salmon, grew at the river's edges.

The Petronas LNG project proposes to level Lelu Island to situate the plant; the bridge to the site where the tankers would dock will cross the area show in the photo above. It is impossible to imagine this happening without severely affecting the estuary. Later on our way home, we stopped to look back down the Skeena, still in tidal water.

We can only hope this river, one of the few intact watersheds in BC, will not have to face this project.

Lelu, Lelu, Lelu, Lelu. I'll have to find out where that name comes from.

Keeping our fingers crossed

CBC – June 28, 2016

Enbridge Northern Gateway seeks 3 year extension
Without permit extension or construction start, Northern Gateway done by end December
By Betsy Trumpener, CBC News Posted: Jun 28, 2016

Time is running out for Enbridge Northern Gateway.
Approvals for the controversial pipeline project require construction to start by Dec. 31, 2016.
But those permits appear likely to expire — before any pipelines are built.
"Clearly, we're not focused on construction schedules and a construction start date," said Catherine Pennington, Senior Manager and ‎Director of Community Partnerships at Northern Gateway Pipelines in Prince George.

Enbridge wants time to 'build relationships'
"We've been focussing almost exclusively on building relationships with indigenous communities and we really need the time," said Pennington.
Pennington said Enbridge is busy trying to build local support to "build a better project."
"Really, right from the beginning, Northern Gateway should have done a better job of building relationships with indigenous, First Nations, Metis and Indigenous communities, particularly on the west coast, " she said.
Pennington also said Enbridge needs more time to "receive clarity on some outstanding legal and regulatory issues."
But opponents of Northern Gateway oppose an extension.
Enbridge's time is up. It's pretty clear communities have said, 'No.' — Nadia Nowak, Sea to Sands

'Enbridge's time is up'
"Enbridge's time is up," said Nadia Nowak, a community organizer with the Sea to Sands group in Prince George.
"It's pretty clear communities have said no to this project. We don't think they deserve any more of our time or energy,' said Nowak.
Nowak is one of more than 2,000 people who have mailed or faxed in letters of public comment to the National Energy Board as it considers Enbridge's extension request.

More than 2,000 people weighed in
"The response has been quite extraordinary," said Sarah Kiley, a communications officer with the National Energy Board. "We've received well over 2,000 letters of let us know what we should consider."
If the extension request is turned down, the Northern Gateway Project could be finished before it gets started.
"The certificates attached to this project would expire and the company would no longer have the approvals it needed to construct the project," said Kiley.
Now the National Energy Board — and ultimately Justin Trudeau's federal cabinet — will decide if the sun is setting on Northern Gateway or if Enbridge will be granted an extension to December 31, 2019.