I’m not sure how much people outside of B.C. and Canada know about the Gateway Pipeline, but this issue has held my interest since first hearing about it in January. Basically, Enbridge Co. wants to build an oil pipeline that runs from Alberta to Kitimat, B.C. From there, oil tankers will transport the oil from the port to Asia. However, the route the massive oil tankers would take adjoins the Great Bear Rainforest, a 64,000-square-kilimetre stretch of wilderness that is considered one of the most ecologically sacred on Earth. This area is home to the “spirit bear”, wolves, grizzlies, orcas, and humpback whales. And this entire ecosystem is based on salmon. If there was to be an oil spill in this area, the results would be disastrous to the Canada’s West Coast. I live along the west coast of B.C., and I feel very protective of the beautiful landscape around me. The beaches are lovely year-round, and the view from Grouse Mountain on a clear day gives you a wonderful view of the blue ocean.
However, enough public voices rose to argue again Stephen Harper and his government, and so, a three-person committee representing the National Energy Board is now travelling across Canada until the end of 2013, listening to the hundreds of people who wish to speak their opinions to this group. After they have heard everyone, the National Energy Board will make their decision and make a recommendation to the government on whether or not the pipeline should be built after all.
Stephen Harper has asked Canadians to not let “radical” foreign groups put money into charities and environmental groups in order to lengthen and stall the process. These comments have been met with shaking heads as Canadians question whether or not Harper is calling his own citizens and tourists to this beautiful province “radicals”. I found a fantastic quote in the Globe and Mail in January which gave me the idea of writing this post.
Florian Schulz is a German wildlife photographer whose work has been featured in National Geographic, and was quoted in the article “Caring for Canada’s beauty ‘beyond borders'”. He is talking about the government naming him and other environmental advocates as “radicals”. He says:
“To cherish the incredible beauty of Canada and to celebrate it-as a foreigner, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. There are certain values and ethics that I think are beyond borders.”
There are many foreigners who love Canada and the British Columbia West Coast. There are Canadians living abroad, there are animal lovers from Brazil, and there are simply tourists who fell in love with the landscape of this province. Should we really be shutting out those people who want to protect something so fragile and untouched? Why should borders matter when it comes to our planet and its resources. We are entering a time when we should all be protecting the Earth and the land we love, no matter where we are from or how far away that land is from where we live. If Harper is still worrying about borders on an issue such as this, he has a lot of catching up to do.
If that pipeline is approved, I will post pictures of my friends and I at the end of 2013, sitting in Kitimat, protesting.