COMMUNITY COMMENT: Pulling together to stop a pipeline

Revelstoke group involved in effort stop Enbridge's Northern Gateway Pipeline

By Christy Shaw, organizer Revelstoke Pull Together

Late last month, the Week to End Enbridge raised over $100,000 as part of the Pull Together campaign, collecting funds for the legal defence costs of First Nations opposing that corporation’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline. This week of events brought the total amount raised in the past year to over half a million dollars.

The occasion was the one-year anniversary of the federal government’s decision to give the green light to the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, after it received conditional approval from the National Energy Board.

This decision by the Conservative government was made despite everything we know about the risks of the pipeline, which would ship diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands across northern B.C. for export on tankers from Kitimat. Northern Gateway puts in danger pristine salmon-bearing streams and rivers, and the beautiful, difficult-to-navigate narrow channels of the northwest coast. British Columbians have very clearly said ‘No’ to this mega-project.

Dozens of events were held across British Columbia. Everything from rallies and concerts, to a paddle in the Pacific ocean, to a blues concert in Prince George.

Here in Revelstoke, we did our part and collected hundreds of dollars to contribute to this effort to stop the pipeline.

With the help of some friends and generous businesses who gave their time and some great prizes — acupuncture from Jade Mountain, massage at Bodylogic, coffee from Stoke Roasted, tea from Clayoquot Botanicals, and some gift cards from my store, Mountain Goodness —  we put a callout for donations around town. We also held a yoga-by-donation class at Balu Studio, and donated sales of a special chocolate bar from Denman Island Chocolate to the cause. Earlier in June, we also organized an event at Sangha Bean Café, to raise funds and inform local residents.

The willingness of small businesses to pitch in to this effort to stop Enbridge is not just something we’re seeing in Revelstoke. It’s true across the province. Business owner are dipping into their slim profit margins to help out. To give just a few examples: In Richmond, farmers are donating proceeds of carrot sales all summer to the cause; in the tiny coastal village of Klemtu, the Spirit Bear eco-tourism lodge donated as well; and, in Horsefly, the J. Romero Banjo company donated from the sale of banjos.

The amazing diversity of people pulling together to stop Enbridge should give pause to the oil executives and any politicians who still support this pipeline. Enbridge may have approval from the NEB and the Harper government, but they certainly don’t have approval from B.C.

Of course, oil companies are not in the business of taking no for an answer. They will try to pull more tricks out of their hat, and that’s why we have to keep up our support for those on the frontline of the effort to stop this pipeline.

There are now a total of 18 lawsuits filed by a number of First Nations calling on the federal government to reverse its decision on Northern Gateway. At this stage, this legal effort is probably the best tool for stalling and eventually stopping this pipeline. With some of the court cases expected to start this fall, the Pull Together campaign is hoping to hit $650,000 by the end of the summer.

First Nations have clearly said no to this pipeline from the beginning. Thanks to the generosity of people here in Revelstoke and across BC, they will have the support they need for the costly business of fighting this pipeline in court.

For more information, please visit Pull-Together.ca.