Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! We only ask one time of year, but when we do, we mean it. Without your support we can’t continue to bring you the very best material, day-in and day-out. CounterPunch is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. Help make sure it stays that way.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Dirty Oil Comes to Bella Bella

by INGMAR LEE

Vancouver Island.

I was demonstrating along the Bella Bella airport  road with my family when Canada’s “National Energy Board Joint Revue Panel” entourage arrived in the Heiltsuk First Nation’s village yesterday. Bella Bella is situated on BC’s primaeval and pristine Central Coast, at the heart of the ‘Great Bear Rainforest.’

The JRP had come, purportedly, to hear people’s views on the gigantic Tar-Sands pipeline project that Canada’s Neocon Prime Minister Stephen Harper is most anxious to force across BC. The pipelines would deliver unrefined Tar-Sands bitumen, -the dirtiest oil anywhere- to a future gigantic Oil Port on the Pacific Coast at Kitimaat. From there a half million barrels-per-day would be loaded on 200-per-year Giga-Tankers the size of the Empire State Building and delivered through the treacherous rock-pile that is the BC coast to Harper’s favourite new market, -China. Harper has been shamelessly trumpeting the scheme over the past year, saying that as the USA economy has now gone bankrupt, it is in Canada’s national interest to diversify its oil markets and start shipping it over to China instead.

It was a cheerful, boisterous, colourful crowd of about 200 people, with Chiefs, elders and kids-probably at least half the crowd were children. I didn’t hear any insulting language, -and we, and all the people near us waved our placards as the RCMP-led convoy passed by. Everyone in the crowd knew that the JRP had been politely invited to join in the community Feast later in the day, and everyone expected that they would join us in the Bella Bella Community Hall, to listen to all the wonderful speakers.

It took the crowd about 20 minutes to hike back down the road into town, and when we got to the government dock, we saw all the Heiltsuk chiefs, resplendent in their full regalia, along with every important community member, standing there watching the JRP entourage getting whisked away to an adjacent island on the Shearwater Corporation boat. The whole cowardly entourage had suddenly departed Bella Bella, and refused their invite to the Feast. This is totally rude and insulting behaviour. Everyone there felt punched in the gut, -utterly shocked!

So then we all marched up and filled the Hall, where we later learned that the JRP had cancelled all the hearings, citing that they had felt “intimidated” by the absolutely peaceful demonstration! The Bella Bella intervenors had spent untold hours of time and money in preparing their submissions, delegations had arrived from all the neighbouring communites, -Owikeno, Nuxalk, Kitasoo Xias Xais, and Gitgaat Chiefs and dignitaries had arrived, many of the kids at the Bella Bella School had undertaken a hunger strike and the community had put in an enormous effort, organizing and preparing for the event, and now their input has been outright cancelled, -right on schedule with the retroactive reductions in environmental hearings for major projects as announced in the recent budget. More than 4000 people have signed up to speak out, but Harper has pulled out all the stops to stigmatize and demonize anyone who opposes the scheme.

If HarperCon government has already formalized these “retroactive changes” to the Enbridge review process as we have heard they intend to do (in the Budget), I haven’t yet seen how they propose to do that, but I cannot imagine a more clumsy and stupid way to go about cutting off public comment. The final insult was that although the JRP claims to have been “frightened away” by the peaceful, family-oriented demonstrations at Bella Bella airport, they had no worries whatsoever at all about drinking late into the night, with the locals at the Shearwater Bar.

Although I am one of the 4000 who have registered to speak at the  hearings, I known that this is a totally corrupt, farcical charade that will ultimately rubberstamp the “Stephen Harper Pipeline/Tanker Scheme.”

I am disgusted by the environmental groups that have lent a chimera of dignity to the corrupt NEB process by their participation in this rotten staged process. I cannot for the life of me understand any reason they might give for sitting there, -other than the significant money they get for doing so. Clearly, for any real environmentalist, NO is all there is to say about the scheme of pumping a half-million barrels of dirty-oil per day across the province, to be loaded onto these ridiculous tankers, -thereby guaranteeing an inevitable oil disaster which will destroy all of Canada’s Pacific coast and beyond.

All along I have believed that this horrible process should have been utterly boycotted right from the start. People should not have to waste their time defending their lands and waters from this hideous Harper monstrosity through this contrived, farcical and corrupt process.

Harper is desperate to get his dirty oil pipeline and tankers, has demonstrated that he will employ any number of ugly, twisted lies and dirty tricks to forward his Neocon agenda, including cheating elections as is now being revealed in the emerging “Robocalls Scandal” in which thousands of Canadians where phoned and mis-directed to wrong or non-existent polling stations during last year’s federal election. More and more details of the mushrooming scam are being revealed on a daily basis.

I think that one measure by which we can gauge the huge level of opposition to this project that exists in British Columbia, is by looking at that stupid entity which lives and breathes polling statistics, -namely BC’s own Neocon Christy Clark provincial government. Of course, any idiot knows that a poll will always answer favourably according to whom pays for it, nevertheless even corporate polling consistently demonstrates that more than 80% of British Columbian’s oppose oil and gas development off our coast. Clearly by her calculations, -in spite of how much she must be sweating and itching to get BC signed on to the Stephen Harper Pipeline/Tanker Scheme- to try to do so would be political suicide. Harper visited BC on numerous occasions during last year’s election, and never mentioned a peep about the project, -and now he says it’s a national emergency. HarperCon, which relies on dirty tricks and the general corruption of what passes for democracy in Canada to get elected, doesn’t give a rat’s ass what the people of BC care about.

Nevertheless, this most clumsy and stupid act of cowardice just seen at Bella Bella, just might have cost Harper his pipeline.

I enclose this podcast of my comments on this issue on CFUV (University of Victoria) “Gorilla Radio”

(just load the page and click on the arrow, -my interview is first up)

Ingmar Lee is writing from the heart of the ‘Great Bear Rainforest’ one of the Earth’s final great wildernesses, near Bella Bella on the BC Central Coast, -where Prime Minister Stephen Harper hopes to build a giant giga-tanker port at Kitimat, which will receive 525,000 barrels of raw bitumen every day, transported over an 1100 km double pipeline direct from Alberta’s Dirty-Oil Tar Sands. He can be reached at: ingmarz@gmail.com.
More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 28, 2016
Eric Draitser
Stop Trump! Stop Clinton!! Stop the Madness (and Let Me Get Off)!
Ted Rall
The Thrilla at Hofstra: How Trump Won the Debate
Patrick Cockburn
Cracks in the Kingdom: Saudi Arabia Rocked by Financial Strains
Lowell Flanders
Donald Trump, Islamophobia and Immigrants
Shane Burley
Defining the Alt Right and the New American Fascism
Jan Oberg
Ukraine as the Border of NATO Expansion
Ramzy Baroud
Ban Ki-Moon’s Legacy in Palestine: Failure in Words and Deeds
David Swanson
How We Could End the Permanent War State
Sam Husseini
Debate Night’s Biggest Lie Was Told by Lester Holt
Laura Carlsen
Ayotzinapa’s Message to the World: Organize!
Binoy Kampmark
The Triumph of Momentum: Re-Electing Jeremy Corbyn
David Macaray
When the Saints Go Marching In
Seth Oelbaum
All Black Lives Will Never Matter for Clinton and Trump
Adam Parsons
Standing in Solidarity for a Humanity Without Borders
Cesar Chelala
The Trump Bubble
September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
James McEnteer
Eugene, Oregon and the Rising Cost of Cool
Norman Pollack
The Great Debate: Proto-Fascism vs. the Real Thing
Michael Winship
The Tracks of John Boehner’s Tears
John Steppling
Fear Level Trump
Lawrence Wittner
Where Is That Wasteful Government Spending?
James Russell
Beyond Debate: Interview Styles of the Rich and Famous
September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Dave Lindorff
Parking While Black: When Police Shoot as First Resort
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
David Swanson
Turn the Pentagon into a Hospital
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail