Ben West: People power can defeat Enbridge

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      Let’s be honest, Adrian Dix didn’t lose the election because he flip-flopped on the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline. He just flopped as a candidate for premier.

      I say that with all due respect; I like Dix and wanted him to win. I publicly supported his campaign and actively organized for some very principled and capable NDP candidates. I was happy the party took such a strong stance against the Enbridge pipeline and was going to pull out of the federal joint-review-panel process. It lets Prime Minister Stephen Harper decide upon receipt of an environmental-assessment report with recommendations about the project. (There’s more below on how we can stop him.)

      The truth is that Dix didn’t take a position on Kinder Morgan before the election, and he never really took a clear position during the election either. That’s not a flip-flop, but it was directionless leadership and that was the real problem. Where was the passionate defence of the Fraser River watershed, or the children in school yards with a toxic pipeline running under them, or the jobs that depend on a healthy and beautiful coast? Where was the vision for a better and greener economy, like the inspiring ideas presented by U.S. green-jobs advocate Van Jones in his keynote speech at the party’s last convention?

      The spin we are hearing these days is that taking a position on Kinder Morgan cost the NDP the election, and the result of the election means that there is now a mandate for pipelines in the province. That is simply not true. Both parties went into the election opposing the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, which was a much-higher-profile campaign up until then.

      The truth is, if anyone is flip-flopping on pipelines, it’s Premier Christy Clark. Her rhetoric has changed so many times that the image of a sockeye salmon on the deck of a fishing boat comes to mind. During the election, she ran full-page ads with pictures of the coast, saying she would “stand up for B.C.”, and not long after that her government formally opposed the pipeline in its official submission to the joint review panel. But this month, she has announced a “framework agreement” with the premier of Alberta, Alison Redford, that many see as a pathway to approving pipelines.

      To make things worse, Clark is flip-flopping on climate change. The B.C. government joined with the governors of Washington, Oregon, and California to sign an agreement a couple of weeks ago reaffirming B.C.’s commitment to science-based targets for greenhouse-gas reductions and an action plan to move toward alternatives.

      We have a critical role to play on the west coast as the gateway to the Asia Pacific. We are stewards of this land and we are gatekeepers of this trade route. In the era of climate change, the eyes of the world are on us to be part of reducing fossil-fuel dependence instead of making it worse through the tar sands, coal, and fracking.

      The “No Enbridge” rally this Saturday (November 16) comes at a vitally important moment. A decision on Enbridge’s proposed pipeline is looming before the end of next month. The Enbridge pipeline is not only one of the most irresponsible schemes ever proposed in this province, it also has become a symbol for so much more. This is about the power of people over giant, arrogant corporations that have too much influence on our governments. It’s about the rights of indigenous people and healing the wounds of past injustices. It’s about taking a stand to stop the “gateway to global warming”.

      It has been said that politicians give permits but, ultimately, the people give the permission. Let’s make sure Harper and Clark and all the candidates who want to replace them know that they don’t have our consent to build these pipelines. Let’s make it clear that saying no to Enbridge is as black-and-white as the orcas it threatens. It even threatens grey whales.

      We know a better world is possible, and we are getting organized to make it a reality. This campaign is becoming the Clayoquot Sound of our generation. Be there and bring your friends.

      Ben West is the tar-sands campaign director of ForestEthics Advocacy. The No Enbridge rally, which begins at Science World at 2 p.m. on Saturday (November 16), is a flagship event for the nationwide Defend Our Climate, Defend Our Communities day of action.



      keith cummings

      Nov 13, 2013 at 10:59am

      truth will not change the people that support Enbridge. Money will. They live and eat money. Show the Enbridge supporters why the economics are not there, why they will be paying out to support Enbridge's pipelines, and we will stop the Enbridge support. Their only concern is money in their pockets, oddly enough, that's just like Enbridge.

      Forest Ethics?

      Nov 13, 2013 at 12:26pm

      IF Tzep did not bring in Ruby and West, "Forest Ethics" would be up on ethical charges of aiding and abetting the oil and gas agenda.

      But still the focus remains on a zombie project, meanwhile the fracking agenda is racing through approvals and the largest most pivotal time in BC History is being ignored.

      Good work!

      Lee L

      Nov 14, 2013 at 10:02am

      You might also think a bit about a successful 'stranding' of Alberta's oil and how the potential customers of that energy ( in Asia ) will react. Maybe you think, they will not drive so many more cars, or manufacture so many plastic items for the world.

      Myslef, I think they will react by losing interest in buying oil from Canada or the refineries where the ALberta crude was destined, and will buy it elsewhere, maybe from Russia. Russia will say 'ok, we'll make some more gasoline or pipe some crude to you, and we'll even go find you some more since you are a growing market'. Russia will do this by drilling on the Arctic seabed, which most people including me, think is a really bad thing especially when there exists a land based supply in Alberta.

      Build the pipeline.

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      Suzy Easton

      Nov 14, 2013 at 10:30am

      Maybe so Lee L, but two wrongs don't make a right.


      Nov 14, 2013 at 11:27am

      They do have our permmision, by voting the Liberals back in they do, the foolish sheeple voted them back in and now they will take that as a mandate to keep on doing what they have been doing, and that is whatever is best for the Corporations and not the people.

      Alan Layton

      Nov 14, 2013 at 12:39pm

      Dave - not to defend the Liberals but some of the people who are licking their chops the most over the building of the pipeline are in the labour movement and I believe the NDP would've found a way to approve it, just as the Liberals are now.

      Let's not forget that Clark did not say that the pipeline would not be built at all, but only if they met with the Liberal's demands for 'world class' safety and cleanup. The term 'world class' is meaningless and the Liberals will be the ones to decide what level is okay. I think everybody should've known that the pipeline is going to be built regardless of who is in power. There's way too much money to be made and given that our province has a massive debt it shows that we are spending way more than we are making. The pipeline is a no-brainer when it comes to generating income.

      I think the only real obstacle will be the First Nations and they will need a great deal of support from the rest of us. Even then I'm not sure it can be stopped.

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      Ziggy Eckardt

      Nov 15, 2013 at 6:47pm

      Chances are my grandchildren will not ask me for advise, however, should it ever come up anyway: I will tell them to become salaried environmentalists, like the author of the article above. That way they will pull in a decent paycheque without ever having to worry about meeting payroll, and not a chance of ever being on the carpet for twisting the truth.

      Considering how many people above have just indicated their approval with what was said by Ben West, it would intrigue me to know how many of those have also attended the 2012 NDP convention or, at least pulled up the keynote speaker Van Jones, as recommended. Van's endorsements make me think we are dealing with a Rip Van Winkle, someone who slept through the last few years and is oblivious of the disastrous performance of his hero Barak Obama (Obama-Care, doubling of the American debt in only 6 years, employment figures, increased number of Americans on food stamps from 28 Million to 42 Million on his watch and growing, inserting $500.- Million of government funds into Solyndra, a producer of solar panels, the company which went bankrupt 2 months later, a disastrous policy of embracing the Muslim Brotherhood plus his involvement in Syria, Egypt, Libya and other Middle East countries, etc.) Brother Obama should also be thanked for successfully opposing a pipeline to block Canadian oil to thank his supporters who will continue to sell their more expensive and "bloody" oil to the US...

      Brother Van also endorsed Al Gore's "An inconvenient truth". Good grief! That one a British court already defined as 10% truth and 90% partisan political lies in 2005. Today not even the left-leaning media dares to mention man-made global warming every time another natural disaster takes place!

      I can also assure Ben West and Van Jones that they do not have a clue what their opposition thinks. As a conservative I have no idea why I would want to say some of the things that caused the brothers and sisters to applaud when they came up in the speech...

      We will stop this pipeline.

      Nov 16, 2013 at 6:43pm

      The only question for our politicians is, do you want to do this the easy way or the hard way?

      An Old Accountant

      Nov 17, 2013 at 12:30pm

      Money does not mater. Money is an old out dated economic model that based on the trajectory of human social and cultural evolution was actually only used for a very short span of time. Money, a few generations of economic heritage, nothing more. Water, air, food; these are the things that mater. These things can AND WILL be provided WITHOUT oil.