Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Dirty Oil Comes to Bella Bella

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:
Weekend Edition
May 25, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
A Major Win for Trump’s War Cabinet
Andrew Levine
Could Anything Cause the GOP to Dump Trump?
Pete Tucker
Is the Washington Post Soft on Amazon?
Conn Hallinan
Iran: Sanctions & War
Jeffrey St. Clair
Out of Space: John McCain, Telescopes and the Desecration of Mount Graham
John Laforge
Senate Puts CIA Back on Torture Track
David Rosen
Santa Fe High School Shooting: an Incel Killing?
Gary Leupp
Pompeo’s Iran Speech and the 21 Demands
Jonathan Power
Bang, Bang to Trump
Robert Fisk
You Can’t Commit Genocide Without the Help of Local People
Brian Cloughley
Washington’s Provocations in the South China Sea
Louis Proyect
Requiem for a Mountain Lion
Robert Fantina
The U.S. and Israel: a Match Made in Hell
Kevin Martin
The Libya Model: It’s Not Always All About Trump
Susie Day
Trump, the NYPD and the People We Call “Animals”
Pepe Escobar
How Iran Will Respond to Trump
Sarah Anderson
When CEO’s Earn 5,000 Times as Much as a Company’s Workers
Ralph Nader
Audit the Outlaw Military Budget Draining America’s Necessities
Chris Wright
The Significance of Karl Marx
David Schultz
Indict or Not: the Choice Mueller May Have to Make and Which is Worse for Trump
George Payne
The NFL Moves to Silence Voices of Dissent
Razan Azzarkani
America’s Treatment of Palestinians Has Grown Horrendously Cruel
Katalina Khoury
The Need to Evaluate the Human Constructs Enabling Palestinian Genocide
George Ochenski
Tillerson, the Truth and Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department
Jill Richardson
Our Immigration Debate Needs a Lot More Humanity
Martha Rosenberg
Once Again a Slaughterhouse Raid Turns Up Abuses
Judith Deutsch
Pension Systems and the Deadly Hand of the Market
Shamus Cooke
Oregon’s Poor People’s Campaign and DSA Partner Against State Democrats
Thomas Barker
Only a Mass Struggle From Below Can End the Bloodshed in Palestine
Binoy Kampmark
Australia’s China Syndrome
Missy Comley Beattie
Say “I Love You”
Ron Jacobs
A Photographic Revenge
Saurav Sarkar
War and Moral Injury
Clark T. Scott
The Shell Game and “The Bank Dick”
Seth Sandronsky
The State of Worker Safety in America
Thomas Knapp
Making Gridlock Great Again
Manuel E. Yepe
The US Will Have to Ask for Forgiveness
Laura Finley
Stop Blaming Women and Girls for Men’s Violence Against Them
Rob Okun
Raising Boys to Love and Care, Not to Kill
Christopher Brauchli
What Conflicts of Interest?
Winslow Myers
Real Security
George Wuerthner
Happy Talk About Weeds
Abel Cohen
Give the People What They Want: Shame
David Yearsley
King Arthur in Berlin
Douglas Valentine
Memorial Day
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail