Speaking from the heart: an Enbridge Joint Review...
I arrived at the Delta Hotel about half an hour early. There had been so much hype about protests and security I didn’t really know what to expect. I made my way to the third floor and in my angst, realized that I was the first to arrive. I signed in and decided to go check out the rally outside. There were about a hundred people gathered in solidarity to express their opposition to the proposed...
Nowhere Else on Earth
August 24th Dear Mr. Harper, Have you ever considered that the Great Bear Rainforest is in fact globally unique? There is Nowhere Else on Earth where you can watch orca whales, humpback whales, and fin whales all feeding in the same cove at the same time! There is Nowhere Else on Earth where you can find such a diverse array of First Nations cultures living and thriving in harmony with the natural...
August 23rd Dear Mr Harper, Photo Credit: Thomas Peschak I have had the great privilege to spend time this summer exploring many of BC’s parks and wild spaces. From the ancient Sitka spruce of the Carmanah river valley to Yoho’s alpine larch meadows, from the expansive beaches of Pacific Rim to the interior forests of Cathedral Lakes. These provincial and national parks are the legacy of those...
August 22nd Dear Mr. Harper, Today, VanCity Credit Union announced that Enbridge no longer meets their environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria for socially responsible investing. Thus, the credit union has divested its’ holdings in Enbridge. This powerful move came as a result of the report released by the US National Transportation Safety Board regarding the 2010 Enbridge spill in...
August 20th Dear Mr. Harper, Watching salmon migrate up river is one of the most amazing experiences. These little fish travel hundreds of miles, spend years at sea and somehow find their way back to the river system they were born in. They return to in-turn spawn and maintain the population of their species. They face an innumerable number of predators during their travels and making it to...
It's feeding time
August 19th Dear Mr. Harper, The rivers are starting to teem with salmon making the migration to their places of birth to spawn and continue the circle of life. This also means that the bears are spending more time in the rivers fishing. According to the fishermen, this season has been quite slow. According to ecology, the presence of grizzly bears on the western-most river systems of Princess...
August 18th Dear Mr. Harper, A few days ago, Mike told us about his encounter with the Spirit Bear. This morning I had the opportunity to spend some time with this majestic creature. We crept up the side of the creek bed and after walking for only a few minutes, I spotted his glistening white fur through the salmon berry bushes that separated us from the creek. I watched in awe as the giant...
A contagious passion
August 17th Dear Mr. Harper, Spending time in the Great Bear Rainforest means you get to meet many very inspiring and dedicated people. We spent the weekend at Cetacealab yet again and had the opportunity to meet Kathrin and Phillip, visiting from Zurich. These two are volunteering for nearly two months at Cetacealab, contributing to the thorough data collection and analysis on whale migration...
A Disappearing Act
August 16th Dear Mr. Harper, We are dealing with a sneaky a bunch. This week, a media frenzy has spun from the fact that Enbridge deleted over 1000km of islands from one of their promotional videos. The resulting imagery shows that the proposed tanker route from Kitimat to the open Pacific Ocean is easy, breezy with few hazards at play. The truth is, the route is peppered with islands, reefs,...
Sea Lion Spirit
August 14th We have thousands of these sea lion photos. Never do we bore of their antics. Belching and growling they haul themselves out on the rocks to bask in the midday sun. As the tide sloshes over them they reluctantly accept that perhaps they should have chosen a higher perch. For the coast, Sarah and Mike
I think we’re facing a very strong, almost revolutionary movement to try to get...– Pat Daniels, CEO of Enbridge *Thanks Pat, I like being called a revolutionary*
August 12th Dear Mr Harper, I first met this Spirit Bear in 2008. Today, for the first time in 4 years, in the same creek where he lumbered past me in 2008, I saw him again. He will spend the next couple months feeding on the pink and chum salmon that have entered the river to spawn. This is where the bear lives. This is his home. On Princess Royal Island, just a stones throw away from the...
Blood Red Tide and Whales
August 11th Dear Mr. Harper, I awoke at 5:00am hoping to get an early start with the day’s whale survey. At first glance I was instantly worried, the fog was so thick I could not even see the other side of Taylor Bight. We decided to just get ready and hope for the best. By the time the boat was packed the visibility had not improved one bit; we would just have to travel extremely slow. Just as...
A sneaky assessment
August 9th Dear Mr. Harper, Im assuming you know about ENGP’s four phase expansion plan. Right now the application and the associated impact reports, that have been submitted to the National Energy Board (NEB), deal with the shipment of 525,000 bpd. Interestingly the actually capacity of the pipeline is much more. In fact the pipeline and marine terminal are designed to accommodate 850,000 bpd...
A generous host
August 6th Dear Mr. Harper, Did you know that the majority of Gitga’at households engage actively in traditional harvesting activities and over 40% of meals are traditionally sourced. Since arriving back in Hartley Bay after almost a month exploring elsewhere on the central and north coast, we have been fortunate enough to be invited to peoples houses for dinner twice in two days. Eating salmon...
The ENGP is inconsistent with Gitga’at economic interests, which depend not only...– Gregory, R., et al. (2011) Economic Impacts of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project on the Gitga’at First Nation. Report prepared for the Hartley Bay Band Council. https://www.neb-one.gc.ca/ll-eng/livelink.exe?func=ll&objId=777619&objAction=browse
Princess Royal Island
August 4th Dear Mr. Harper, As of today, we have circumnavigated Princess Royal Island. Not all in one go, but over the course of the last few months, we have seen all of its’ shores. Princess Royal Island is considered by many to be the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest. It is the fourth biggest island and BC and has a whopping population of 1. Princess Royal Island, however, is also home to...
A foggy morning
August 3rd Dear Mr. Harper, We awoke this morning to the sound of fog horns in the distance. We clambered out of the v-birth, put on the coffee and poke our heads outside. Instead of the usual morning wildlife patrol, we poke our heads into fog so thick we can barely see the bow of the boat. It’s a disorienting feeling, hard to tell up from down let alone left from right. Some mariners...
August 2nd Dear Mr. Harper, The other day some friends that we were traveling with encountered engine troubles as we were leaving Bella Bella, heading Northwest up Seaforth Channel. We pulled into a sheltered cove to do some trouble-shooting. As we waited, in silence trying not to break the concentration of the one doing the trouble shooting, a pack of wolves emerged from the...
August 1st Spirit: noun, an animating or vital principle held to give life to physical organisms (*) Soul: noun, the immaterial essence, animating principle or actuating cause of an individual life (*) Pristine: adjective, (1) belonging to the earliest period or state. (2)not spoiled, corrupted or polluted (*) *(Merriam-Webster online dictionary) Dear Mr. Harper, Words. They try to explain,...
The Next Generation
July 30th Dear Mr Harper, Youth capacity building, leadership training and traditional culture and knowledge translation is high on the priority list for many coastal First Nations. I’ve recently come to learn about a program called SEAS (Supporting Emerging Aboriginal Stewards). This program takes on different forms in different coastal communities, tailored to the needs of each. In Bella...
A feast from the sea
July 29th We feasted tonight. It was a beautiful evening of friends, family and community. The feast was from the sea. Fresh caught crab, salmon, halibut. This is the local fare on the coast, but never taken for granted. Especially not with the fear of oil tankers making their way through the fridge on an almost daily basis… For the coast, Sarah and Mike
The Heiltsuk people are descended from people who lived here for thousands of...– Krista Roessingh, JRP Oral Statement, Denny Island
A premier's quarrel
July 26th On July 23rd, Christy Clark announced British Columbia’s ‘stance’ on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal. The first tenet, of five, stated that the province would consider the pipeline only if it successfully completed the environmental review process. In the case of Enbridge, that would mean a positive recommendation from the National Energy Board Joint Review Panel. This...
A bit of perspective
Dear Mr. Harper, Just last week I had the unforgettable pleasure to join Sarah and Mike on their boat Skomalt in the Great Bear Rainforest. Although I have been a 20-year resident of BC, and of the Coast for the past 8 years, this was my first visit to the Central Coast. As a BC resident, it goes without saying that I have been following the Northern Gateway application process and JRP...
Who is at the helm of the Canadian State?
July 23rd Dear Mr. Harper, As a child I grew up watching Calgary explode with Oil revenue and the associated suburban expansion to house the cities growing workforce. From my comfortable suburban vantage, I could see hazy skies over east Calgary’s industrial district as I ducked and dodged through the forest that separated the city from the rural lands to the west. I blissfully enjoyed...
A community priority
July 22nd Dear Mr. Harper, The community of Bella Bella hosted a rally against tankers and pipelines today: Community Voices III. The Heiltsuk people, many of which call Bella Bella home, have been cast as aggressive protestors in the media. There was nothing aggressive about this gathering, only sheer and heartfelt passion. A passion and a duty to protect the lands and seas that are loved by...
Step into someone else's shoes
Dear Mr. Harper, I’ve grown to learn and appreciate that everybody sees things differently. If ten people were to look at a vast open landscape each person would notice different details, they would place value on different parts of the system. I see this as a gift. It fosters creativity, it opens the door for discussion and collaboration, and, best of all, it gives us the opportunity to step...
We are part of the Great Bear Rainforest
Thursday, July 19th Dear Mr. Harper, This past week, I was fortunate enough to visit the Great Bear Rainforest. Having heard so much about the area before I arrived I knew it would be a magical place, but the pristine beauty greatly surpassed my already high expectations. It left me in awe minute after minute, day after day. Even now I cannot find the right words to describe such an inspiring...
We are not alone
Dear Mr. Harper, We’re not the only ones who love the Great Bear Rainforest and our working hard to get its’ vast, untouched beauty protected. Nearly every day, we hear about various initiatives that people are undertaking under their own steam to help raise awareness about this area and what’s at stake with the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Project. To give you a bit of an idea...
Tuesday July 17th Dear Mr. Harper, We had the pleasure of entertaining our first guests on our floating Great Bear Rainforest home this past weekend. My sister, Jenna, and her boyfriend, Kyle, came to visit from Vancouver and see first hand what all the hype is about (these letters to you sure have got a few people wondering!) Being able to show this place to people for the first time gives...
At least in these parts (Northern BC) it feels like momentum is growing in...– Kim Slater, Band Together BC
Taking a Stand
Saturday July 14th Dear Mr. Harper, It’s been a crazy week. With the release of the US National Transportation Safety Board report, revealing Enbridge’s lack of response and inaction to the Kalamazoo spill in Michigan two years back, the media has been in a bit of a frenzy. Some of your colleagues in the political world have caught wind of this frenzy, and the sheer ineptness Enbridge...
British Columbia Premier Christy Clark says if Enbridge Inc. plans to operate...– The Tyee, http://thetyee.ca/Blogs/TheHook/BC-Politics/2012/07/11/Clark-on-Kalamazoo-Spill/
Taken for Granted
Dear Mr. Harper, I have been very fortunate to be introduced to the Great Bear Rainforest and its wondrous intricacy first-hand this summer. A visitor last week commented, “everybody takes for granted what’s here. They just don’t see it.” From far away, it is difficult to comprehend the diversity and abundance of life that the Great Bear holds. Thankfully, I have been lucky enough to experience...
Death of Evidence, Death of Canada
Dear Mr. Harper, We listened to the news today from our remote west coast home as scientists fled to your doorstep by the thousands to mourn the death of scientific research in our country. The Death of Evidence rally was an exercise in democracy, the last straw for many, yet was it heard? The amendments made to Canadian law through the passing of the omnibus budget bill silence researchers and...
We are under attack. By our own government, flanked by the oil industry. I...– Caitlyn Vernon, Author and Sierra Club BC Campaigner
This is not a joke
Sunday, July 8th Dear Mr. Harper, This weekend we took a trip up Roscoe Inlet, just North of Bella Bella. It was recommended to us by a friend in Shearwater who regards it as one of her favorite places on the coast. As we made our way up the narrow fjord to the head of the inlet we found ourselves silenced by the beauty of our surroundings. I let my mind wonder and, somewhat jokingly broke the...
Saturday, July 7th Dear Mr. Harper, So you’re probably used to people talking about the devastating impacts that an oil spill will have on the coast. What it will do to the intertidal zone, the estuaries, and the mosaic of life that depend on these systems. People talk about impacts that an oil spill will have on the salmon, and the whales and communities that depend on these species for...