I was going through my daily Facebook Idle No More groups, when I came across this post that moved my heart. It was a post from a mother very proud of her son and she wanted to share with the world how her son was inspired to affect change in the world for all of us, especially Mother Earth. All I ask, as you read this letter, is take a moment after to think and feel all good things for this young man, his family, and his classmates and school for assisting him in realizing his potential. Also, please sent with this letter all good in the world & beyond, so that when Prime Minister Harper reads this letter, he truly hears it with his soul, from one human being to another. I know your heart will be moved, as mine was...
Here is his mother's message:
"Ben and I attended Idle No More events in Victoria and he became very keen about researching the movement for his school writing project. I just read his letter to Stephen Harper for the first time this morning, and was really impressed by his insight into the Idle No More movement and the connection between Bill C-45 and destruction of the environment.
My son's 7th grade teacher asked the class to write a letter to a politician about something really important to Canadians. Here's his letter to Stephen Harper about Idle No More and Bill C-45":
Ben is a 12-year old boy who lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia with his parents and cat Ziggy. He plays Little League baseball and is on the school and community basketball teams. He enjoys camping, hiking and bicycling with his family in the summer. Ben is proud of his Métis heritage (his great great great great grandparents were Joseph LaFramboise and Marie Cecile Dumont, who were Gabriel Dumont's uncle and aunt) and he takes part in Aboriginal programs at his school and in the community.
The People’s Summit on Enbridge Northern Gateway Project
The Joint Review Panel of the National Energy Board is holding hearings on the Enbridge Northern Gateway proposal in Kelowna on January 28 at the Sandman Inn. Opponents of this project have organized ways you can join in and send a clear message to Stephen Harper, Christy Clarke and Enbridge:
· The movement is growing and we will not stop - we will protect the waters and the land.
To raise awareness and build community solidarity and support for the movement to stop pipeline expansions in BC, the Council of Canadians – Kelowna Chapter has organized
The People’s Summit on Enbridge Northern Gateway Project
Saturday, January 26, 2013 7-9pm. Door open 6:30 pm
First United Church Hall, corner Bernard and Richter, Kelowna
Admission: Pay what you can. (Suggested donation $10.) All are welcome.
Featuring keynote speakers:
GRAND CHIEF STEWART PHILLIP, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs
ELIZABETH MAY, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands
DAMIEN GILLIS, documentary filmmaker, co-founder of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute
ROB FLEMING, MLA for Victoria-Swan Lake. Rob serves as opposition critic for Environment
I have news for you Mr. Harper: you’re never going to achieve your dream of pushing pipelines through our rivers and lands. We will be the wall that Enbridge cannot break through.”
— Chief Jackie Thomas, Saik’uz First Nation
“These pipelines are not only the arteries carrying the dirtiest oil on Earth; they become the drivers of an expanded industry as there will be relentless pressure to keep them full. We must and will stop these pipelines,” Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians.
1. History of the Enbridge Plan and the wall of International Resistance
SAVE THE FRASER DECLARATION: signed by over 130 First Nations and the BC Métis Federation.
“The Save the Fraser Declaration is an Indigenous law ban on tar sands pipelines through First Nations traditional territories in the Fraser River watershed - including the rivers flowing into the Fraser River like the Stuart, the Endako and the Salmon Rivers. It also bans tar sands oil tankers in the ocean migration routes of Fraser River salmon on the north and south coasts of British Columbia. It bans the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and supertanker project, and all other similar projects, from the traditional territories of the Nations who have signed it. The Save the Fraser Declaration is an exercise of Indigenous law, Title, and Rights, and has status under First Nations law, Canadian law, and International law.
Jointly initiated by the Yinka Dene Alliance and St'át'imc Nation, the Save the Fraser Declaration was negotiated in November 2010 by First Nations over several days at T'exelc (Williams Lake) in the heart of the Fraser River basin. It was signed by representatives of 66 First Nations from the lands now known as British Columbia in late November and early December 2010. On the Declaration's anniversary in December 2011, and in January 2012, representatives of more than 40 additional First Nations from BC, Alberta and the Northwest Territories signed the document in ceremonies in Vancouver and Edmonton. As a result, the Save the Fraser Declaration now bans tar sands pipelines and tankers, as a matter of Indigenous law, from First Nations territories forming an unbroken chain from the U.S. border to the Arctic Ocean - and spanning the entire length of BC from north to south. Along with the Coastal First Nations Declaration banning tar sands supertankers on the Pacific North Coast (see our Resources tab for more details), oil tankers are banned under Indigenous law from the entire west coast of Canada.
This Declaration protects rivers, the coast, and all communities from the risk of a devastating oil spill by banning tar sands oil pipelines and tankers from First Nations territories across the west.”
“The Northern Gateway Pipeline is a proposal by Enbridge to construct two 1,170-kilometre pipelines between Bruderheim (north of Edmonton) Alberta and Kitimat, B.C. One pipeline would carry 525,000 barrels per day of tar sands bitumen west to a new oil tanker port at Kitimat. The other would carry toxic condensate east for use in diluting tar sands crude.
A risky proposition
Enbridge's Northern Gateway Pipeline would cross more than 800 streams and rivers, including sensitive salmon spawning habitat in the upper Fraser, Skeena, and Kitimat watersheds. It would also bring more than 225 oil tankers, including supertankers, to B.C.'s North Coast for the first time ever. Here, an oil tanker spill would damage the famous Great Bear Rainforest, home to the iconic Spirit Bear.
A wall of opposition
The Enbridge proposal has sparked unprecedented opposition from people across B.C. and Canada due to unacceptable environmental risks. First Nations in B.C. have formed an unbroken wall of opposition to Enbridge's pipeline and tanker plan. Over 130 First Nations groups have signed the "Save the Fraser Declaration" against the transport of tar sands oil across their lands and waters.
First Nations are joined by a growing number of local governments. The City of Prince Rupert, City of Terrace, Town of Smithers, District of Fort St. James and the Regional Districts of Skeena-Queen Charlotte and Kitimat-Stikine have all passed formal resolutions opposing the Enbridge project. In 2010 and 2012, the Union of BC Municipalities also passed similar resolutions.
Independent citizens are joining the movement to oppose in ways and numbers not seen in 20 years. Hundreds of protests have been happening in nearly every community in the province. Public opinion polling consistently shows that between 60 and 80 percent of British Columbians oppose the Enbridge project, and that opposition crosses traditional party and ideological lines.
A federal "Joint Review Panel" led by the Federal government’s National Energy Board is currently reviewing the Enbridge proposal and discussing its merits and drawbacks in communities across BC and Alberta. It is scheduled to complete its review in December 2013 and issue a final recommendation. One of the many changes to weaken environmental laws the Federal Government included in its "omnibus budget legislation" of 2012 was to give final approval of the NGP to the Federal Cabinet, as opposed to this arms length regulator.
Enbridge has a tarnished history of pipeline oil spills. Between 1999 and 2008, Enbridge had over 610 spills that released approximately 21 million litres (132,000 barrels) of hydrocarbons into the environment.
In 2009, Enbridge had 103 reportable spills and agreed to pay $1.1 million to settle a lawsuit brought against the company by the state of Wisconsin for 545 environmental violations. Wisconsin's Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said, "…the incidents of violation were numerous and widespread, and resulted in impacts to the streams and wetlands throughout the various watersheds."
In July 2010, Enbridge caused the worst on-land oil spill in Midwest history when one of its pipelines ruptured near Battle Creek, Michigan. Nearly four million litres of tar sands oil spilled into the Kalamazoo River. Following an investigation of the incident, the chair of the National Transportation Safety Board dubbed Enbridge employees the "Keystone Kops" in reference to their inept response.
In 2011, an Inuit hunter in the Northwest Territories came across a pipeline oil spill. Enbridge initially claimed the "pin-hole" leak had spilled only four barrels of oil, but later estimates found over 1,500 barrels of oil had been spilled.
In August 2012 a public outcry emerged against what were deemed inappropriate and manipulative public relations practices, when Enbridge released a 3D video on its website of the pipeline and tanker route that omitted over 1,000 KM2 of islands in Douglas Channel. The video, which the company said wasn’t meant to be "representative" offered further proof of the lengths the company will go to sell its dangerous project.” (the above courtesy of Pipe Up Against Enbridge)
“A8 OIL TANKER TRAFFIC Saanich
WHEREAS a crude oil spill would have devastating and long lasting effects on British Columbia’s unique and diverse coast, which provides critical marine habitat and marine resources that sustain the social, cultural, environmental and economic health of coastal and First Nations communities;
AND WHEREAS citizens of British Columbia, particularly those living in coastal communities, and First Nations communities and environmental groups have expressed well-founded concerns over the expansion of oil pipelines and oil tankers:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that UBCM oppose projects that would lead to the expansion of oil tanker traffic through BC’s coastal waters;
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that UBCM urge the Premier of British Columbia, the Leader of the Official Opposition and members of the Legislative Assembly to use whatever legislative and administrative means that are available to stop the expansion of oil tanker traffic through BC’s coastal waters.”