Sunday, January 31, 2010

my cynical poem about the Olympic torch coming through Prince George last Friday : )

Canada is a coke bottle

Canada is a coke bottle,
running down this snowy road with the flame
to the next person waiting in white;
in Vancouver where bulldozers push the snow from
higher mountains wrapped in cloud,
brought down to the level of rain puddles,
meteorologist city-watching from an office window,
the Suzuki foundation warns of
global warming on the slopes of Cypress:
Canada is a coke bottle.

My young son waves the coke flags,
Canada, Coca-Cola,
concentrated in a bottle,
through the inky blackness:

what is it exactly?

Forgotten watersheds, schools,
cancer patients,
the pulp mill shut down for the afternoon
so as not to smell in the national media
when the torch came through,
brightening Ospika temporarily,
the drab street where I run
and nothing ever seems to happen,
but for tarring the potholes;

they are all here this afternoon,
the crowds,
what matters now,
jarring music that drowns everything out,

searching desperately for my friends
to hand out "No Tanker" decals
to paint the loony-loons black
with a slick of oil

the lick of black,
oozes now from us:

Canada is a coke bottle.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

letter to Jim Prentice, Canada Environment Minister from Sea to Sands Conservation Alliance re: Joint Review Panel, Enbridge Northern Gateway

January 26, 2010

The Honourable Jim Prentice
Minister of Environment
Government of Canada
By Email Correspondence to:

Dear Sir:

Re: Enbridge Northern Gateway Project – Final Agreement on Joint Review Process

This letter is to state the opinions of the Sea to Sands Conservation Alliance with regards
to the terms of the Final Agreement on the Joint Review Panel process for the Enbridge
Northern Gateway crude oil/ condensate twin pipelines.
We are a group of concerned citizens based out of Prince George, British Columbia with
support from across western Canada. Prince George is a community that lies in close
proximity to the proposed Enbridge pipelines route, and is inhabited by people that are
closely tied to the surrounding land. We recently formed the Sea to Sands Conservation
Alliance to express our concern for this mega‐project. Interest in our group has been
considerable and our groups already have well over 600 supporters; opposition to this
pipeline project is increasing daily throughout British Columbia. We count ourselves as
part of a broader network of concerned citizens.
Our reasons for opposing the terms of the final agreement on the Joint Review Panel are
as follows:
1. We seriously question whether a three‐member panel comprised of two National
Energy Board members and one Environment Minister appointed member will be
adequate to evaluate this process. This is because of the magnitude of this project,
its broad‐sweeping implications and the number of communities and stakeholders
that will be affected by it.
2. The mandate of the National Energy Board seems to be too narrow to properly allow
panel members to address the variety of issues at stake. Of particular concern is the
panel’s decision to exclude the environmental impacts of the tar sands expansion in
its environmental assessment. This is very disconcerting because the proposed
Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline could result in up to 30 percent increase in oil
sands production. It seems short‐sighted and inappropriate to disregard direct
broader impacts of a project in an assessment.
3. Other pipelines in Canada of a similar magnitude have had more involved and
sophisticated review processes. For example, the Mackenzie gas pipeline joint
review panel terms of reference were drafted in conjunction with First Nations and
were much more comprehensive. The scope of this review included, among other
things, questions about whether the project would contribute to sustainability
within the region.
4. The concerns of the public, submitted during the public consultation process leading
up to finalizing the agreement, have not been adequately addressed in the terms of
this agreement. For instance, many members of the public noted the issue of the
moratorium on oil tanker traffic on this part of the coast. There has been a longstanding
moratorium on oil tanker traffic through the coastal inland waters of
northern British Columbia, initiated in 1972 and confirmed by Natural Resources
Canada in 2003. The terms of the Joint Review Panel do not provide for adequate
dialogue about whether British Columbians want this long‐standing moratorium
against oil tanker traffic lifted.
5. Aboriginal rights are not sufficiently addressed, particularly their right to
consultation confirmed by the Constitution and the common law. Several local First
Nations in our area (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, Takla First Nation and Nadleh
Whut’en) have already issued media releases in response to the finalization of the
Joint Review Process. These groups state that their Aboriginal rights are being
violated. We fully support the position of First Nations groups from our area
concerning this issue.
6. We are concerned about the potential for lack of administrative fairness on the
panel. We do acknowledge that it is stated in the agreement that the members are
to be “unbiased and free from any conflict of interest in relation to the project”.
However, we remain concerned that in your capacity as Environment Minister, you
are selecting one of the three panel members. Our reason for concern is that you
have been quoted many times as being in support of oil sands production and
increasing markets for same, Mr. Prentice.
Some examples:
• “Prentice defends oilsands following National Geographic article,” retrieved
on January 15, 2010 from‐articles.html.
• “Speaking Points of Jim Prentice” (as Minister of Industry)
retrieved on January 15, 2010 from
• “Prentice won’t rule out oilsands emissions breaks”
retrieved on January 15, 2010 from‐oil‐sands.html.
• “Alberta to US: Use the oil sands or lose them,”
retrieved on January 15, 2010, from
During your previous portfolio as Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
(May 23, 2006), you are quoted on a federal government website in an address to the
Canadian Energy Pipeline Association in Calgary, Alberta, as follows:
“I understand the enormous potential that oil and gas development will bring to
the country. . . Growing global demand for energy and upward pressure on
prices have made new projects feasible. The Gateway pipeline project is another
In this same address, you emphasized a Conservative government “concerted and
coordinated federal response on major pipeline projects [that] will allow [your
government] to focus multi‐departmental resources on critical impediments that
threaten projects.”
Finally, you also spoke of your mandate at the time offering opportunities to “create
powerful synergies to realize the potential of pipeline development.”
The above quotes retrieved January 15, 2010, from http://www.aincinac.‐eng.asp.
We question whether through your various statements referenced here and elsewhere,
you have expressed support for this pipeline project proceeding?
Our concerns about this review panel are not alleviated by the inclusion of two National
Energy Board members. The vast majority of energy projects reviewed by the National
Energy Board are approved (see for instance “environmentalists say scope of hearings is
too narrow,” Victoria Times Colonist, December 5, 2009, retrieved from on December 5, 2009).
While the National Energy Board certainly has a role to play, we are concerned that they
comprise two thirds of the panel, given the broad scope of the issues at stake relating to
this project.
In closing, the terms set in the Final Agreement on the Joint Review Panel process do
not reflect the concerns of the citizens and First Nations that would be directly impacted
by the Enbridge Northern Gateway project. An impartial review is necessary, which
includes an appropriate scope that allows for the relevant issues to be discussed and
addressed. There have been numerous calls from the public for a comprehensive public
inquiry into this project (several of which were articulated during the public input time
frame leading up to the formulation of this finalized agreement). We would like you to
consider those calls and establish a comprehensive review process that would have the
support of the First Nations and citizens of Canada that you represent.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Nak'azdli going forward to assert their rights

Press Release from Nak'azdli band re: Mount Milligan mine approval
For Immediate Release

January 7, 2010: Nak’azdli will be filing a Notice of Application today with the Federal Court of Canada requesting a judicial review of recent decisions made by the federal Minister of Environment and federal agencies regarding a proposed low grade gold and copper mine at Mt. Milligan/Shus Nadloh, which, is located 90 km north of Fort St. James.
This federal judicial review application follows the filing of a petition on June 24, 2009 in the BC Supreme Court, which is due to go to court in the spring. “The petition filed by Nak’azdli in the BC Supreme Court and this application filed in Federal Court sends a clear message to Terrane Metals that it does not have its “social licence” to operate in Nak’azdli Territory,” said Chief Fred Sam
“The proposed mine is within Nak’azdli territory and the proposed mine site and surrounding area is clearly utilized by Nak’azdli members, and has been since time immemorial. The manner in which Canada has dealt with Nak’azdli throughout the environmental assessment review process has not upheld the honour of the Crown. They completely ignored impacts of the project on aboriginal rights and title. That is against the law.” stated Chief Fred Sam.
Nak’azdli also refuses to accept the Minister of Environments’ decision that the Mt. Milligan Mine “is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.” Chief Fred Sam asks, “who gets to define what is a significant effect? Nak’azdli has not been asked by the federal government what is significant to us.” The proposed mine on Shus Nadloh (Mt. Milligan) will clearly have a major negative impact on the environment.
“Terrane Metals mine plan includes permanently destroying much of King Richard and Alpine Creeks and two open pits and the mine site with a foot print of 367 hectares and a tailings pond with a foot print of 813 hectares, which will eliminate an area of relatively untouched land and water that is three times the size of Stanley Park in Vancouver. It is ridiculous to conclude there will not be significant adverse environmental effects.” Chief Fred Sam said.
“This should be a wakeup call for investors in GoldCorp and all investors in Terrane Metals, the proposed Mt. Milligan project is NOT a done deal and Nak’azdli has been left with no option but to turn to the federal and provincial Courts to protect our territory. Nak’azdli has been ignored by the government of Canada and BC and we will not sit by quietly.” said Chief Sam

Media Contact: Anne Marie Sam - 250-649-8284 or 250-996-7171