Yesterday something amazing happened.
For the past few weeks Enbridge, a massive pipeline company with $446 million in earnings (2013), has been pouring money into the tiny port side community of Kitimat, BC to try to convince residents, ahead of a non-binding plebiscite vote, that the Northern Gateway tarsands pipeline was in their best interest. The company placed full-page ads in northern newspapers, launched a flashy “vote yes for Kitimat” website, inundated the community with lawn signs and pro-pipeline billboards and even brought in teams of paid corporate canvassers to go door-to-door promoting the project.
In the other corner are groups like the Douglas Channel Watch, which had a whopping $200 in the bank before the plebiscite began.
Despite the massive differences in the two budgets the residents of Kitimat voted yesterday against Enbridge and it’s tar sands pipeline with almost 60% of the 3,071 ballots cast being against the project.
The vote is a huge blow to Enbridge’s tar sands pipeline plans and a huge warning sign to the Prime Minister.
You see, out of all the communities along Enbridge’s proposed pipeline route, the one that might have gained the most (if you can say any community would have gained) was Kitimat. Kitimat is already a resource town highly dependent on industry for its income. The port is also where the majority of the jobs from the pipeline would have been created.
But instead of being swayed by the promise of jobs and the massive weight of Enbridge’s dollars yesterday the community of Kitimat reminded us that there are some things that are more important and, perhaps most importantly, that the power of people can still beat the power of money.
There were cheers yesterday as the votes in Kitimat came in. Members of the Haisla First Nation gathered outside with ‘thank-you’ signs and sang drum songs into the night.
Today the message of Enbridge’s defeat is echoing across B.C., right across the country, and beyond.
The Prime Minister better be listening. The wall of opposition to tar sands pipelines in B.C. remains unbroken. The people of Kitimat have spoken loud and clear and we all owe them a huge thank you.
Be warned Prime Minister Harper. If you try to push this tar sands pipeline through against the clear wishes and rights of the people of Kitimat, over 130 First Nations, and the majority of people in B.C., I know the people of Kitimat and BC will be waiting to greet you and your bulldozers.
You need to learn, Prime Minister, no means no. The people of Kitimat told you that yesterday. Don’t make us prove that David can beat Goliath again.