Caitlyn Vernon, Sierra Club B.C.'s campaigns director, sent out the following open letter today (February 6):
Dear Member of Parliament / Member of the Legislative Assembly,
It is important that as an elected official in B.C. you know about Pull Together, the initiative to support First Nations’ legal challenges against Northern Gateway.
Pull Together demonstrates that opposition to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline and tankers proposal is strong, diverse, and growing. It’s another clear reminder that, despite the federal government’s approval, there is no social license for Enbridge in B.C.
What started with a spaghetti dinner in Terrace has now raised almost $350,000 in just over six months. Volunteers from across BC have organized 87 community fundraising events, 37 businesses have contributed and more than 3,300 individuals have donated.
From Prince George to Penticton, Nanaimo to Fort St James, Vancouver to Haida Gwaii, funds have been raised at film nights and music concerts, at theatre performances, by church congregations and yoga studios and on university campuses. Individuals have raised funds in lieu of wedding donations and holiday gifts.
Pull Together is managed by Sierra Club BC in partnership with legal defense fund RAVEN Trust to enable people from across BC and Canada to make donations and hold fundraising events in support of First Nations’ legal challenges against Northern Gateway. (You can find more information at www.pull-together.ca.)
The money raised is being divided amongst the Gitga’at, Gitxaala, Haida, Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xai’xais, Nadleh Whut’en and Nak’azdli Nations to help pay for their legal work. These Nations are prepared to do what it takes to win against Northern Gateway in court, and they have expressed appreciation for everyone who has stepped up in support.
From along the proposed pipeline and tanker route, these communities are standing up against a large corporation with a terrible track record and a federal government trying to push an unwanted pipeline on an unwilling province. British Columbians are demonstrating that these First Nations are not standing alone.
None of this is over yet. Northern Gateway may be promising pipeline construction, but they haven’t yet fulfilled a single one of the 209 conditions, and court challenges are seeking to overturn the federal approval. Pull Together continues to build, with more businesses on board, community events and money raised.
Everyone who donates to Pull Together or organizes events in solidarity with First Nations is contributing to the ever growing legal and financial uncertainty around Enbridge’s pipe dream. Uncertainty is also increasing in the form of declining oil prices, a growing divestment movement, municipal and provincial government opposition, and more than 100 First Nations that have declared a ban on tar sands oil through their traditional lands and waters, using their indigenous laws. The recent Tsilhqot’in decision heralds a new era in relations with First Nations, whose title and laws cannot be overlooked.
Investors are seeing the writing on the wall: portfolios that have divested from fossil fuels are outperforming those that have not and fossil fuels continue to expose investors to enormous downside risk. Communities and investors are shifting away from the fossil fuels that are causing climate disruption, geopolitical uncertainty and food insecurity, and investing instead in renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transportation and local food.
We live in a time of transition and opportunity. A time of reconciliation with First Nations and recognition of Aboriginal title and rights. A time in which our health and security will be defined by how we respond to the urgent crisis that is climate change. A time when we face a choice about our collective future.
Where will you stand, as elected representatives? Will you stand with Enbridge, clinging to the economy of yesterday, and condemn us to oil spills and a radically insecure future?
Or will you stand with the people of B.C. and respond to this historic juncture with leadership and courage by choosing a new and better path? The future is already here if we embrace it, with alternatives that are proven and viable. Taking action on climate change will create more good green jobs than the fossil fuel industry, supporting B.C. families now and into the future.
We are all in this together, with nothing less at stake than our water and food, our jobs and communities, and our children’s future.
We are calling on you to chart a new path, for justice and reconciliation, healthy ecosystems and a livable climate.
Sierra Club BC Campaigns Director