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:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 28, 2017
Diana Johnstone
Macron’s Mission: Save the European Union From Itself
Jordon Kraemer
The Cultural Anxiety of the White Middle Class
Vijay Prashad
Modi and Trump: When the Titans of Hate Politics Meet
Jonathan Cook
Israel’s Efforts to Hide Palestinians From View No Longer Fools Young American Jews
Ron Jacobs
Gonna’ Have to Face It, You’re Addicted to War
Jim Lobe – Giulia McDonnell Nieto Del Rio
Is Trump Blundering Into the Next Middle East War?
Radical Washtenaw
David Ware, Killed By Police: a Vindication
John W. Whitehead
The Age of No Privacy: the Surveillance State Shifts into High Gear
Robert Mejia, Kay Beckermann and Curtis Sullivan
The Racial Politics of the Left’s Political Nostalgia
Tom H. Hastings
Courting Each Other
Winslow Myers
“A Decent Respect for the Opinions of Mankind”
Leonard Peltier
The Struggle is Never for Nothing
Jonathan Latham
Illegal GE Bacteria Detected in an Animal Feed Supplement
Deborah James
State of Play in the WTO: Toward the 11th Ministerial in Argentina
Andrew Stewart
Health Care for All: Why I Occupied Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s Office
Binoy Kampmark
The European Commission, Google and Anti-Competition
Jesse Jackson
A Savage Health Care Bill
Jimmy Centeno
Cats and Meows in L.A.
June 27, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
California Scheming: Democrats Betray Single-Payer Again
Jonathan Cook
Hersh’s New Syria Revelations Buried From View
Edward Hunt
Excessive and Avoidable Harm in Yemen
Howard Lisnoff
The Death of Democracy Both Here and Abroad and All Those Colorful Sneakers
Gary Leupp
Immanuel Kant on Electoral Interference
Kenneth Surin
Theresa May and the Tories are in Freefall
Slavoj Zizek
Get the Left
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia Wants to Reduce Qatar to a Vassal State
Ralph Nader
Driverless Cars: Hype, Hubris and Distractions
Rima Najjar
Palestinians Are Seeking Justice in Jerusalem – Not an Abusive Life-Long Mate
Norman Solomon
Is ‘Russiagate’ Collapsing as a Political Strategy?
Binoy Kampmark
In the Twitter Building: Tech Incubators and Altering Perceptions
Dean Baker
Uber’s Repudiation is the Moment for the U.S. to Finally Start Regulating the So-called Sharing Economy
Rob Seimetz
What I Saw From The Law
George Wuerthner
The Causes of Forest Fires: Climate vs. Logging
June 26, 2017
William Hawes – Jason Holland
Lies That Capitalists Tell Us
Chairman Brandon Sazue
Out of the Shadow of Custer: Zinke Proves He’s No “Champion” of Indian Country With his Grizzly Lies
Patrick Cockburn
Grenfell Tower: the Tragic Price of the Rolled-Back Stat
Joseph Mangano
Tritium: Toxic Tip of the Nuclear Iceberg
Ray McGovern
Hersh’s Big Scoop: Bad Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack
Roy Eidelson
Heart of Darkness: Observations on a Torture Notebook
Geoff Beckman
Why Democrats Lose: the Case of Jon Ossoff
Matthew Stevenson
Travels Around Trump’s America
David Macaray
Law Enforcement’s Dirty Little Secret
Colin Todhunter
Future Shock: Imagining India
Yoav Litvin
Animals at the Roger Waters Concert
Binoy Kampmark
Pride in San Francisco
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail