This week, the Joint Review Panel has been holding hearings in Victoria about the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. Just today, the Dogwood Initiative tweeted:
That's a wrap for tonight! 185 #JRP speakers in #yyj - ZERO in favour of #Enbridge tanker and pipeline proposal #bcpoli #oil
Earlier in the week, several news outlets (written coverage here and TV coverage here) reported heavy police presence and "armed guards" at the hearings, where the public is supposed to be able to express their opinions on the pipeline which is planned to carry over 500,000 barrels of tar sands per day from Alberta to the Pacific Coast where it will be exported. Organizers with Social Coast organized events outside of the hearings and criticized the undemocratic nature of the hearings. "They are public hearings, are they not?" asked Eric Nordal of Social Coast. The format of the hearings taking place this month and next in Victoria, Vancouver, and Kelowna are having a different format than previous hearings on the same pipeline. People who have registered to speak are asked to speak to the panel one at a time, while others wait in a separate observation room. A few months ago, there were also updates as to what people were allowed to speak about, prohibiting people to address issues such as climate change.
The following is a release sent out by Rising Tide-Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories. A long list of endorsers indicates the broad-based opposition to Enbridge, and other pipelines that would bring fossil fuels to the coast and across unceded Indigenous territories.
Media Release - January 7, 2013
Enbridge Panel to be Greeted with Loud Demonstration
Diverse list of grassroots groups demand consent not consultation
When the Enbridge pipeline joint Environmental Assessment and Energy Board hearings open in Vancouver on January 14th they will be greeted by community members determined to make their opposition heard on the streets and inside the hearing room. A large, noise demonstration will march through downtown Vancouver in full support of the self-determination of Indigenous communities, and their rights to say no to oil and gas pipelines across their territories.
The Harper government has gutted Canada's already weak environmental laws, giving cabinet the final say on pipeline projects and making the Joint Review Panel hearings merely a public relations (consultation) exercise. This undemocratic change attempts to remove the rights of communities to say no to big oil corporations.
Indigenous communities have already rejected this project and many have repeatedly asserted that their rights to free, prior, and informed consent be respected by both colonial governments and industry.
"If Enbridge or any other pipelines decide to proceed with plans to install unsanctioned pipelines through unceded lands they will meet complete and utter defeat. We will resist all of their plans and go to lengths as far as it is necessary for us to so." said Freda Huson, Spokesperson of the Unist'ot'en. The Unist'ot'en Clan have made it clear that they oppose the construction of all pipelines on their territories, including Chevron's fracking-gas pipeline that would blaze the trail for Enbridge's proposal.
The action will also focus on the Enbridge pipeline's destructive climate impacts, which have been excluded from the pipeline consultation process. The Joint Review Panel has instructed those participating in the hearings not to talk about climate change since they consider it "outside of the panel's mandate". This is a shockingly irresponsible move considering Canada's tar sands contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history.
"Climate change is having real impacts on people today, from hurricane Sandy in the U.S. to typhoons in the Philippines, killing and displacing hundreds of thousands of people. Frontline communities are courageously opposing extreme energy projects, and our best hope for a just and sustainable future for all of us is to stand behind them," says Rising Tide Collective member, Brigette DePape.
"Being silent on the dual threats of oil spills and run-away global warming is no longer an option. I will be making my voice heard on the streets before going inside to speak at the hearing that evening, since the panel members don't even make the decisions any more." says Rising Tide Collective member Eric Doherty.
This event is being organized by Rising Tide - Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories, a grassroots environmental justice group committed to fighting the root causes of climate change and the interconnected destruction of land, water, and air.
WHEN: Monday January 14th @ 5:00 pm
WHERE: Victory Square, Cambie & Hastings Street, Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territories
WHO: This is a child and family friendly event.
Rising Tide Media Spokespeople
Eric Doherty (also providing oral statement at hearings) - 604-346-6994
Brigette DePape - 613-262-4093
To get in touch with endorsers please email Sean Devlin.
Alliance for People's Health
Ancestral Pride Ahousaht Sovereign Territory
Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign
Council of Canadians
Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council
Downtown Eastside Not for Developers Coalition
Downtown East Side Power of Women Group
Food Not Bombs
Fractured Land (Documentary & Transmedia Project)
Fraser Valley Peace Council
Idle No More Founders (Jess Gordon, Sylvia McAdam Saysewahum, Nina Wilson, and Sheelah McLean)
Indigenous Action Movement
Indigenous Environmental Network
Lhe Lin Liyin (Grassroots Wet'suwet'en)
Mining Justice Alliance
No One Is Illegal - Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories
Occupy Vancouver Environmental Justice Group
Pedal Revolutionary Radio
Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group
South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy
Streams of Justice
Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network
Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group
Vancouver-West End Greens