Barlow says Canadians resolved to fight pipelines, Harper
You shall not pass!
Maude Barlow, chairperson for the Council of Canadians, quoted the famous line, issued by the wizard Gandalf in Lord of the Rings when confronting a demon, to illustrate the firmness citizens need to show in order to stop further pipeline projects from expanding and snaking across the province.
Barlow, along with Caleb Bain and Sven Biggs, were the featured speakers during the No Pipelines! No Tankers! Solidarity Speaking Tour which visited the university Tuesday night, filling the Canfor Theatre with city residents interested in learning more about the adverse effects of pipeline expansion.
Barlow said people must stand in solidarity against not only the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, but the Kinder Morgan expansion and the Pacific Trails pipeline as well.
The Northern Gateway is a twin pipeline project with one carrying bitumen west and another carrying condensate east along a 1,177 km path that goes through northern B.C. to Kitimat where it will be shipped via tanker to China.
The Kinder Morgan expansion would increase the capacity of that already twinned pipeline from 300,000 barrels per day to 850,000 barrels per day and increase tanker traffic along B.C.’s coast line.
The Pacific Trails pipeline is about a 460 km pipeline that would carry liquefied natural gas from northeastern B.C. to Kitimat.
Barlow, a Canadian author and activist, said the pipeline projects in B.C. are part of a larger agenda being set in Ottawa, facilitated by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
“Harper has a very clear plan,” she said, adding he intends to create a Canadian superpower based on mineral extraction and natural resources.
She said she has learned a lot about Harper and his philosophy over the years, pointing out he was once the head of the National Citizens Coalition, a group she characterized as being very right wing.
“They have fought pretty much all the progressive causes,” she said.
Pointing out that if you take into consideration the number of people who actually voted versus the of-age population of Canada, among other factors, in effect only about 25 per cent of Canadians voted for Harper.
Barlow inferred this may make the Conservative majority a one-term government and quoted Roger Douglas, a Minster of Finance in New Zealand, saying when that is the case you should ‘hit ‘em hard, hit ‘em fast and hit ‘em all at once. This, she said, is what Harper is doing.
She said he is eviscerating the infrastructure in Canada that protects the environment.
Tools protecting democratic proceedings have been thrown out the window. Inspectors have been cut, Parks Canada has received devastating cuts, science centres and research facilities have been shut down and the environmental department has been gutted.
He is doing this, she said, to remove any blocks in place that would stop large energy companies from setting up shop in Canada.
Simultaneously, she said, Harper is negotiating as many free trade agreements and investment agreements as he can.
She pointed out Canadians have only seen the wording of a trade agreement with China that could be law within a few days.
“There has been no vote, no public debate,” Barlow said.
And the agreement would be in place for 31 years.
Combine this with Chapter 11 of the NAFTA agreement, which gives corporations the right to sue any level of government if any public policy or government action denies them investment or profit opportunities, and a serious concern arises.
Barlow talked about what a Chinese company, armed with the same clause within that country’s free trade agreement, could do if it invested in the oil sands with the understanding the pipeline would be built, and then it was not.
She pointed out, China is a communist superpower, meaning investment companies are state owned.
“We are calling on premiers to say something. We’re really under the gun here trying to stop this,” she said.
From gutting the Fisheries Act, she said, to drafting free trade agreements, Harper is putting the country at risk.
“It seems like an act of treason to me,” Barlow said. “And I don’t say that lightly.”
The pipelines, she said, are the arteries of the oil sands.
“If we can’t stop them we can’t stop the tar sands.”
If we don’t stop the oil sands, she said, it is the end of climate.
She said even if everything went perfectly every time within the operations of the pipeline, building it would still end tragically.
“It would still be a Canadian carbon bomb in another part of the world.”
“We need to come together,” she. “We need to come together with First Nations.”