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Northern Gateway Pipeline Opposition Grows


The following is based on a post by Andrew Frank at  Mr. Frank is (among many other things) the whistleblower who signed an official affidavit accusing the Prime Minister’s Office of threatening environmental charities.

On March 13th, a delegation from British Columbia went to Ottawa to tell our nation’s politicians that opposition to the Northern Gateway Pipeline is growing.  The delegation included First Nations leaders, as well as representatives from environmental groups and labour unions.

Northern Gateway Pipeline and First Nations People.  Photo: The Globe and Mail.

Northern Gateway Pipeline and First Nations People. Photo: The Globe and Mail.

The number of First nations peoples that oppose the pipeline is now at 130(!).  These groups have all signed a declaration banning the project “using their consitutionally-recognized laws”.  The members of the Union of B.C. municipalities have also signed a resolution against the tankers activity that would result from the building of the pipeline.  There is also a petition against the pipeline and tankers going around Canada that has been signed by more than 30 000 Canadians.  Even the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers’ Union of Canada, which represents 150 000 Canadian workers including most of the workers employed in the Tar Sands, is opposed to the project.

Saik’uz First Nation Chief Jackie Thomas has said: “We will defend our Rights, no matter what bully tactics the federal government throws at us.  Our decision has been made: Enbridge will never be allowed in our lands.”

David Cole, President of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union adds: “Canada does not need the Gateway pipeline.  It is contrary to our need for jobs, the economy, environmental protection and First Nations rights; these four pillars have to be the priority.”

The argument that the pipeline “is contrary to our need for jobs” may seem a little odd to anyone who has heard the rhetoric coming out of Canadian politicians.  However, it is based on a recent study which concluded that approximately 200 000 Canadian manufacturing jobs have been lost because of the tar sands exports.  This is a symptom of “Dutch disease” (not to be confused with “Dutch elm disease”!) which is explained by Wikipedia like this: “an increase in revenues from natural resources will make a given nation’s currency stronger compared to that of other nations, resulting in the nation’s other exports becoming more expensive for other countries to buy, making the manufacturing sector less competitive”.

In short, the expansion of the Tar Sands is hurting our manufacturing sector.  To the tune of 200 000 jobs.

Another argument against the pipeline was made by Arnie Nagy of the United Fisherman’s and Allied Workers’ Union: “The commercial fishing and tourism industries employ 45,000 people in B.C.  Enbridge and the federal government want us to risk these sustainable jobs, the fisheries resources, our way of life and our communities for a mere 217  jobs.”

Image: Nature Canada.

Image: Nature Canada.

Finally, Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director of Environmental Defence phrased his opposition to the pipeline like this: “The proposed Gateway project is a gateway alright: a gateway to a future where we destroy our coast with oil supertankers, radically increase the pollution coming from the tar sands and double down on a path toward dangerous levels of climate change.”

That final point is supported by a new report by Environmental Defence and Forest Ethics that states that the Northern Gateway pipeline would carry 100 million tonnes of carbon pollution each year.


5 Comments leave one →
  1. Martin Lack permalink
    2012/03/27 8:34 am

    This is the first I have heard of “Dutch Disease” but it sounds like a very powerful argument that the Green New Deal need to take on board: Not only is renewable energy an investment opportunity that will create jobs, we now have proof that pursuing unconventional fossil fuels is an abdication of moral responsibility that will put people out of work…

    • 2012/03/27 11:08 am

      It was the first time I’d heard of it as well. I hope that can become a more common argument in “the conversation”.
      My guess is that the severy of “Dutch disease” differs in every country and is relatively severe in our country because of how dependent our economy is on the export of oil.

  2. Florian permalink
    2012/03/27 4:02 pm

    All around the world green and clean technology is booming – who would ever put their bets on 20th century tar sand and oil pipeline projects?! Practiced backward looking to a degree that must hurt. Oil conservatives: Check for ideas of a more sustainable future.

    • 2012/03/27 4:21 pm

      To answer your question: companies that have much invested in the industry as well as countries and provinces whose government is too conservative for their own good.

  3. 2012/03/28 12:53 am

    Opposition is growing to both pipelines out of this area, the western and southern. this excavated goo will not make my life better and I don’t need it.

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