Friday, March 26, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead (Thursday, March 25, 2010)

Opposition grows towards the Enbridge project, Bait vehicles arrive in Terrace and exploring the issues behind forestry sales to China, some of the items of interest from the Thursday news cycle.

Daily News, front page, headline story
FIRST NATIONS HAVE DECLARED THEIR OPPOSITION TO ENBRIDGE PROJECT-- A review of the latest efforts of the growing coalition against the proposed Enbridge pipeline project. As we outlined on the blog on Tuesday, First Nations in Northern BC and Coastal BC have joined with a number of different groups to express their opposition to the massive pipeline project that would run from Alberta to Kitimat.

A clarification on the Daily's recent article regarding the proposed plans of the coalition of resource groups that wish to become involved in the operation of Ridley Terminals. As we examined on the blog yesterday, the Vancouver Sun provided an in depth look at the latest developments from RTI, which could see a private consortium take on an operational and managerial role of the Terminal, as opposed to an outright purchase of the north coast shipping terminal.  

Participants in British Columbia's legals system may soon need to be aware of their better angles for the camera as the province contemplates the introduction of cameras to the province's court rooms. George T. Baker outlined some of the background on the plan as well as the thoughts of some who are against the idea.

The Sports section features a look at preparations for this years High School track and field season.

(Daily News archive items for March 25, 2010 )

First Nations have declared their opposition to Enbridge project
RTUG clarifies its position on RTI 
Oncology nurse adds prevention role to her day 
Cameras in the courtroom 
Masquerade ball - fundraiser for local SPCA

The Northern View
No new items were posted to the Northern View website for Thursday.

CFTK TV 7 News
Review participants get funding-- While the opposition towards the Enbridge pipeline continues to work out its plans, funding has been freed up for those groups wishing to review and comment on that company's application (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
"Bait" Vehicles in Terrace--  Would be thieves are on notice that the RCMP has introduced bait vehicles to their regular efforts in a bid to cut down on crime in the community (see article here)

CBC News British Columbia, Daybreak North 
Pulling back the branches on timber exports -- The CBC examines the recent increase of forestry exports to China and the issues that it raises (listen to interview here)

Daybreak North is only posting selected items on their website now. The most recently posted items for this week can be found on the weekly archive for Daybreak North click here

Daily News, front page, headline story
First Nations have declared their opposition to Enbridge project
By George T. Baker 
The Daily News 
Thursday, March 25, 2010

 Enbridge’s Northern Gateway will not be receiving any support from First Nations communities on the B.C. coast. At a press conference Tuesday, in Vancouver, leaders of a collation of more than 150 First Nations, businesses, environmental organizations and prominent Canadians have signed onto the campaign to stop the pipeline proposed by Calgary-based Enbridge Inc.

 “What’s different today is a level of unity on this issue illustrated - not just by the people who were in attendance at the news conference - but also the groups and First Nations, the environmental organizations, people like David Suzuki and others who have signed onto the advertisement which is substantially different than it was yesterday,” said Coastal First Nations director Gerald Amos.

 Up until now, it hasn’t been clear how the cross-section of First Nations on the B.C. coast feel about the proposed oilsands project, most taking time to assess the project before determining where they stood.

 However, the concerns caused by potential oil spills on the coast made the project hard to accept for the communities that rely heavily on seafood for their diets. Coastal First Nations executive director, Art Sterritt, told the Canadian Press that the decision by those involved is final.

 “We all believe the Enbridge Gateway pipeline project is a threat to the very existence of our culture and our way of life,’’ Sterritt told reporters Tuesday. Enbridge has not yet returned calls from the Daily News seeking comment. The Northern Gateway Project would see two 1,170-kilometre pipelines stretching from the tar sands near Edmonton to the northern B.C. coast town of Kitimat.

Crude would flow, crossing more than 1,000 streams and rivers, mountain ranges, avalanche-prone terrain and rainforest ecosystems before being loaded onto upwards of 150 tankers annually for export.

The company has touted the benefits of the project, saying more than 4,000 construction jobs and thousands more indirect jobs would be created, while generating hundreds of millions in tax revenue for both provinces.

Opposition does not mean a drop in profits. Last month the company reported a 14-per-cent increase in fourth-quarter earnings and an 18-per-cent increase in full-year profits.

That would be the company’s best in their history. Sterritt told the Canadian Press that after five years of scientific research and community consultations, the groups that have signed onto the campaign believe “no good’’ can come from the project. It could jeopardize the land, water, people and wildlife for generations to come, say those opposed. An environmental law organization says that the declaration on Tuesday went further than expressing their viewpoints.

First Nations were proclaiming their legal guardianship of their territory. “The signatories to the Declaration exercised their ancestral laws, rights and responsibilities to protect the lands and waters of their territories by banning Tar Sands crude oil tankers,” said Jessica Clogg, Executive Director & Senior Counsel, West Coast Environmental Law.

 “These nations can now take steps to enforce the Declaration under their own laws, through the Canadian courts, or through legal action at the international level. The result is highly volatile legal situation and a high probability of litigation by one or more First Nations that could delay or potentially derail the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project.”

 Amos told the Canadian Press that a blockade on the water is possible if the project goes ahead. When asked to corroborate that promise, Amos would only say, “we’ll have to see.” Along with 28 B.C. First Nations, the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, some aboriginal groups from Alberta, environmental groups - including the David Suzuki Foundation and the Pembina Institute - also signed on to support the campaign.

Author Margaret Atwood, Vancouver Canuck Willie Mitchell and 10 Canadian Olympians, including Kristina Groves, are also on board. Amos said having names like these associated with the opposition of the project gave their movement an added cache.

 “I think so. You mention Willie Mitchell; I think he comes from North Vancouver Island. He absolutely understands what we are talking about. I have no doubt about it,” commented Amos. Mitchell is currently out of the Canucks line-up, suffering from a severe concussion.

 With files from Canadian Press

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