VICTORIA— New Democrats are calling on the federal and provincial governments to show they respect the wishes of northwest communities following a plebiscite in the City of Kitimat that resoundingly rejected the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.
“Kitimat is no stranger to big industry, it’s what drives the community, but people in Kitimat and across the northwest also understand when the risks of a project outweigh the benefits,” said Skeena MLA Robin Austin. “It’s time for Premier Clark and Prime Minister Harper to listen to the people who live and work in the northwest by telling Enbridge that we’re not interested in heavy oil projects that put our world class fishing and our tourism industry at risk.”
With their no vote Kitimat citizens join with Terrace, Smithers, Prince Rupert, the Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District, and the Kitimat-Stikine Regional District which have all already opposed the Enbridge pipeline and associated oil tanker traffic. They also join with many First Nations, including the Haisla, the Haida, the Gitga’at, the Wet’suwet’en and the Yinka Dene Alliance who oppose Enbridge’s plan to pipe diluted bitumen across northern B.C. and ship it through north coast waters.
“People in northwest B.C. understand that a strong and diverse economy requires a healthy environment,” said New Democrat environment critic Spencer Chandra Herbert. “The Enbridge pipeline and north coast oil traffic would put millions of dollars and thousands of jobs in the fishing and tourism industries at risk, not to mention risking the future of the abundant fish and wildlife that are critical to the cultural and recreational activities of people who live in the region.”
Austin called on Premier Clark to stand with northwest communities by saying no, once and for all, to the Enbridge pipeline.
“The time for maybe is over, it’s time for the B.C. Liberal government to reject the Enbridge oil pipeline,” said Austin. “Northwest communities have made it clear that this project is not in their best interests. We should be focussed on building industries like LNG where there is a potential to build social license based on greater rewards and fewer risks to the local environment, not wasting more time on a project that has been soundly rejected by British Columbians.”