Opinion: Northern Gateway opposition building steam

By kil tlaats’gaa Peter Lantin & Caitlyn Vernon, Edmonton Journal, July 02, 2015

On the campaign trail leading up to the May 5 Alberta election, Rachel Notley acknowledged loud and clear that there is a solid wall of opposition facing the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project in B.C.

The new premier’s statements and the speed that Tim Hortons recently dropped its Enbridge ads in face of thousands of angry Canadians illustrates the reality that one year after the federal government approved the project, the opposition is not only strong and committed, but also growing. Rather than succeeding in clearing the way for Enbridge, the federal government sparked a chain of events that make it very unlikely the project will ever be built.

Immediately following the federal approval, First Nations, environmental groups and the 300,000-strong Unifor went to court to challenge the approval and review process. Enbridge now faces a total of 18 court proceedings and these cases are shining light on the questionable legal position on which the federal government stands.

In court along with other nations are the Haida. The Supreme Court of Canada has affirmed the Haida’s strong case of aboriginal title and rights and recently the Federal Court stated that Canada’s unilateral decision opening a fishery in the face of Haida concerns compromised the court-mandated reconciliation process, which the Haida have successfully developed for over a quarter of a century with both the federal and provincial governments.

As reconciliation moves forward and projects such as Enbridge are proposed and considered, the strength of the Haida case cannot be ignored. Compounding that are other First Nations litigation.

These legal cases are the best way to stop this pipeline, and that is why a community group in Terrace, B.C., held a spaghetti dinner a year ago, raised $2,000 in support, then called on the rest of the provinces and Canada to step up.

Sierra Club BC and RAVEN Trust launched the Pull Together initiative as a way for British Columbians and the rest of the country to give financial and moral support to the nations that are in court to stop Enbridge.

Pull Together has already raised more than $400,000 through individual donations, community events and local businesses donating their profit margin. More than 100 businesses are involved. Many farmers are donating their hard-earned proceeds to Pull Together throughout the summer in the knowledge that we are all dependent on the land, water and air. Denman Island Chocolate has produced a Pull Together chocolate bar, with proceeds going to support the legal challenges.

These businesses understand the proposed pipeline is not good for the economy. Enbridge would put at risk tens of thousands of jobs and ways of living that are inextricably bound to the land and sea.

Local businesses are a different story; they offer hope for a robust economic future in our communities, one that is grounded in working with First Nations and at the same time respectful of our differences.

Together, we marked the one-year anniversary of the federal decision to approve the project with the Week to End Enbridge, June 13-21. This second wave of fundraising seeks to raise a further $200,000 for the First Nations legal challenges aimed at overturning the federal government’s decision.

In addition to local business involvement, grassroots fundraising events are taking place across B.C., from Prince George to Terrace, Fort St. James to Kelowna, Haida Gwaii to Golden, and from the coast to the Kootenays.

Corporations such as Enbridge aren’t used to taking no for an answer. They aren’t backing down, but neither are we. Since last June, the resolve of British Columbians to protect the West Coast from tankers carrying diluted bitumen has only strengthened. And the need for reconciliation of Canada’s troubled history with First Nations is ever clearer.

With the Haida, Gitga’at, Gitxaala, Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xai-xais, Nak’azdli, and Nadleh Whut’en pulling together in court, and British Columbians lining up to support them, this project faces an opposition that will go to the wall time and again.

kil tlaats’gaa Peter Lantin is president of the Haida Nation and Caitlyn Vernon is with the Sierra Club B.C.

Kai Nagata: Is Northern Gateway B.C.’s National Energy Program?

By Kai Nagata, National Post, June 19, 2015

It’s a program that has engendered distrust and alienation between Ottawa and the West: a symbol of the government’s bloody-minded determination to dictate energy policy from Central Canada.

No, not Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s National Energy Program – which was pitched in the 1980s as a plan to secure the country’s oil supply at Alberta’s material expense. These days it’s Northern Gateway that has become a symbol of imperial meddling: this time, at the environmental and financial expense of British Columbia, should anything go awry between the Rockies and the open sea.

Tethered to a series of unpopular moves on the part of the government, including cuts to marine safety, weakened environmental laws, and beefed-up surveillance against environmental protestors, Northern Gateway threatens not only relations between the province and Ottawa, it stands perilously close to creating the same kind of political wave that eventually swept the federal Liberals out of power.

Reform MPs like Stephen Harper fought against many of the same things British Columbians face today: a paternalistic federal government, deaf to regional concerns, hell-bent on promoting an energy agenda opposed by the people most affected. In this case, it’s the coastal communities and First Nations whose way of life would be erased by a tanker spill.

One year after being greenlit by the federal cabinet and the National Energy Board (with conditions), the project nonetheless looks shakier than ever. Eight First Nations are challenging the approval in federal court starting in October. Any one of those cases could hold up development of the line for years.

The constitution requires the government consult First Nations groups on projects like Northern Gateway. When infrastructure is set to cross unceded territory – lands over which Indigenous communities assert collective ownership – the legal implications become all the more complicated.

Meanwhile Alberta’s new premier, Rachel Notley, says she won’t fight for it. As of Enbridge’s last filing with the National Energy Board, not a single oil producer will sign a firm shipping contract.

But the project’s not dead yet. And, ultimately, it’s the federal government that has the power to approve or deny infrastructure projects like pipelines.

Enbridge has become a liability for Conservative candidates in every B.C. riding touching salt water.

The courts may, or may not, stop construction, but as with the NEP, it’s political pressure on lawmakers that will prove decisive. There are early signs that a shift like this may already be afoot. Enbridge has become a liability for Conservative candidates in every B.C. riding touching salt water. Seat projections by ThreeHundredEight.com have the Conservatives losing seven of their 21 B.C. incumbents, while being shut out of six new ridings created by redistribution.

Party whip John Duncan is ten points behind the NDP in his northern Vancouver Island constituency, according to a telephone poll of 300 local voters conducted by Insights West for Dogwood Initiative. When respondents were asked who they voted for in 2011, the numbers lined up with actual results. But as many as three in five former Tories in coastal ridings now say they plan to vote for other parties.

At the same time, a majority of 2011 Conservative supporters report disagreement with the federal government’s approach on oil tankers. Knock on doors anywhere from Comox to Deep Cove and the pattern becomes clear.

The desire for representation on this issue in Ottawa has British Columbians looking to opposition politicians, all of whom have promised to cancel Northern Gateway if they form government. But citizens are also counting on First Nations to defend local interests.

This week a fundraising drive has people across the province organizing events to help cover court costs for seven of the First Nations challenging the project approval. Called “Pull Together,” the campaign has raised more than $450,000 so far.

This alignment between First Nations and British Columbians is coalescing into a regional political movement with the potential to become as powerful as Reform twenty years ago in Alberta. Sooner or later, Enbridge will be defeated in B.C. The only question is whether the current government goes down with it.

Kai Nagata is Energy & Democracy Director at Dogwood Initiative, British Columbia’s largest nonpartisan citizen group

Northern communities will not allow Northern Gateway to be built

Friends of Wild Salmon, June 17, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 17, 2015


Northern communities will not allow Northern Gateway to be built

SMITHERS, BC – One year after federal approval, opposition to the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project is stronger than ever.

Ever since Northern Gateway was first proposed, First Nations and northern communities have stood together to protect their lands and waters - on the streets, in community halls, in the JRP hearing room, and now in the courts. Our wall of opposition is unbroken.

“It is not up to Enbridge or the federal government to decide, it is up to the people who live here and they have unequivocally said ‘No’”, asserted Gerald Amos, Chair of the Friends of Wild Salmon coalition. “Coastal First Nations have a tanker ban through their waters and the Save the Fraser Declaration bans tar sands oil over land.”

“The Skeena watershed has a history of defending our wild salmon. We stopped fish farms on the North Coast, coalbed methane drilling in the Sacred Headwaters, and we will stop Enbridge. From Haida Gwaii to Terrace to Fort St. James, communities have said no and will continue to say no until this project is dead for good”, said Amos.

“The Skeena River runs right through Terrace and every year the salmon runs provide us with food and contribute to our local economy. There are no assurances that Enbridge or the federal government can make that will change our minds – this project is too risky and we will not allow it to be built”, affirmed Anne Hill of Northwest Watch in Terrace, BC.

“When Enbridge first proposed its pipeline in 2009 our community knew it was too risky. Following the leadership of the Wet’suwet’en, we came together as a united voice with the rest of the watershed to say ‘no’ - not now and not ever’, stated Dawn Remington of Friends of Morice Bulkley in Smithers.

“Last year in Kitimat, local residents came together in a municipal plebiscite and decisively voted “no” to Northern Gateway. This is not a community that is opposed to development but Northern Gateway is simply not worth the risk”, declared Patricia Lange of Douglas Channel Watch in Kitimat. “I’ve seen the narrow Douglas Channel in a storm and it is no place for super tankers.”

"The oil industry is desperate to break the unity of North Coast people against oil tankers, but we have a history of defending our great salmon wealth", declared Luanne Roth of the T. Buck Environmental Foundation in Prince Rupert. "Our future does not include oil spills, it includes millions of wild salmon and the local jobs and healthy communities which come with them."

“Fort St. James is standing in solidarity with local First Nations, the Nak’azdli and Nadleh Whut’en, as they take Enbridge to court to protect their lands. Since Enbridge first proposed their pipeline and tanker project, we have come together as a community with the shared purpose of ensuring Enbridge is not a part of our future”, said Brenda Gouglas of the Fort St. James Sustainability Group.

There are 13 groups with court cases against Northern Gateway including First Nations, conservation organizations and Unifor. Communities across the north and across the province are coming together in a “Week to End Enbridge” from June 13 - 21, organizing fundraisers to support First Nation legal fees.

Aboriginal Title & Rights with LOUISE MANDELL

, June 03, 2015

Are you interested in First Nations unity and Aboriginal sovereignty? Do you want to learn more about upholding Aboriginal authority in the face of large-scale development, such as proposed LNG pipelines and plants?

Join us for an evening discussion with renowned Aboriginal title and rights lawyer, Louise Mandell. Ms Mandell will speak on the legal and political implications of the Delgamuukw and Tsilhqot'in decisions. She will discuss how First Nations can collaborate to exert their inherent and Aboriginal authority.


Date: Thursday, June 11th
Time: 7pm
Place: Nisga'a Hall, Prince Rupert

Everyone welcome

Sponsored by the Kaien Island Elders and Friends of Wild Salmon

Download the poster here

NDP victory in Alberta may spoil Northern Gateway once and for all

By Mychaylo Prystupa, National Observer, May 06, 2015

The historic NDP majority government victory in Alberta Tuesday night has cost Enbridge an important ally in its beleaguered push to build the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline: an Alberta Premier.

New Democrat Premier-elect Rachel Notley has suggested she believes the $8-billion pipeline, from Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimat, B.C. is a lost cause.

“Gateway is not the right decision. I think that there’s too much environmental sensitivity there and I think there’s a genuine concern by the indigenous communities,” Notley told the Calgary Herald on April 24.

“Quite frankly, anyone who knows how these things unfold [knows] nothing is happening there for decades.” she also told Global News.

Outgoing Progressive Conservative Premier Jim Prentice, who resigned his leadership post in his brief concession speech, was previously on the payroll of Enbridge as a consultant. Prentice blamed his party’s losses on the rapid oil-price dip that cratered the Alberta economy.

Before his jump into provincial politics, he worked as the company’s emissary to Aboriginal communities to try and revive failed pipeline negotiations.

With Prentice's defeat and Notley’s rise, Coastal First Nations leader Art Sterritt says it’s time for Enbridge to shelve this project. He represents the B.C. tidal bands who are opposed to the pipeline terminal and the 200-plus oil tankers that the pipeline would bring.

"It’s time that Northern Gateway cut their losses and put this to bed. It will allow everyone to move on,” he said. “We’re spending lots and lots of dollars to oppose this. We have court cases going on. We’d really rather get on with building a true diverse economy in this province.”

A spokesperson for Enbridge said Wednesday the project is far from over.

"We remain committed to this conditionally approved project and look forward to sitting down with the new premier to discuss her concerns,” said Enbridge's Graham White in Calgary.

At a recent NDP rally, Notley suggested that what Alberta really needs is more refinery jobs, and less raw bitumen export pipelines such as Northern Gateway and Keystone XL.

“We need a government that is focused on encouraging job creation and resource processing here in Alberta, instead of Texas,” the NDP leader said.

TransCanada said it looked forward to working with Premier-elect Notley, her cabinet and the rest of the Alberta NDP government:

"The value of the energy industry to Canadians is unquestionable,” wrote company spokesman Mark Cooper from Calgary.

"Market access for Alberta’s crude oil remains a top priority and we remain committed to developing projects such as Keystone XL and the Energy East pipeline to supply U.S. and Canadian refineries. Pipelines remain the safest way of transporting large quantities of oil long distances,” he added.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers also said: "Albertans have spoken and we respect their choice."

"CAPP works with governments of all political stripes across Canada and look forward to sitting down with Premier Notley in the near future," said spokesperson Chelsie Klassen.

Enbridge Inc.'s (TSX:ENB) Northern Gateway pipeline has faced years of stiff opposition. First Nations along the pipeline's virgin wilderness corridor in Northern B.C. in particular stand against it. Following a National Energy Board approval of the project with 209 conditions, the Harper govenrment also gave it the green light.

Since then, it's been hit with some 17 Aboriginal law suits, says the leader of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

"Enbridge was literally on life support anyway with respect to the enormous groundswell of opposition to the project by a majority of British Columbians," said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip on Wednesday.

"Now given the pronouncements of the Premier-elect Notley, Enbridge is dead, dead, dead," he added.

A plebiscite in Kitimat in April of last year also turned down the project at the pipeline's terminus community.

The New Democrats, under leader Rachel Notley, swept all 19 constituencies in Edmonton on Tuesday and made significant inroads in previously barren NDP territory in Calgary, Lethbridge and rural Alberta, Canadian Press reported.

"Friends, I believe that change has finally come to Alberta," Notley, told cheering supporters who chanted "Rachel! Rachel! Rachel!"

http://www.nationalobserver.com/2015/05/06/news/ndp-victory-alberta-may-spoil-northern-gateway-once-and-all">Download related file in PDF format

Exposing an invisible salmon migration

By Alicia Bridges, Smithers Interior News, May 05, 2015

An “invisible migration” taking place under the surface of northern rivers will be revealed with a series of events starting on May 11.

Every spring about 300 million juvenile salmon make their way from lakes, rivers and streams to the Skeena River estuary.

The Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition is highlighting the migration of the tiny fish, known as smolts, with three events at locations near Smithers and Hazelton.

SWCC executive director said the series of events had been dubbed the Invisible Migration because the fish were hidden under the opaque surface of muddy spring floodwaters.

“We see these muddy rivers flowing past our communities and it's easy to forget that just below the surface the waters are teaming with giant plumes of baby salmon,” said McPhail.

The events are an extension of celebrations held annually to mark the return of the adult salmon from the coast.

McPhail said it was important to recognize the journey of the young salmon back to the saltwater.

“Our communities always celebrate the return of the adult salmon each fall, because they are such an important food source,” she said.

“But the out-migration of the smolts heading to the ocean is just as amazing and equally important.

“This year, we decided to celebrate their journey, too.”

The first event will take place at the Babine River Fish Fence, where the Lake Babine Nation's fisheries program conducts a catch-and-tag program of smolts as they leave the lake.

There will be hourly boat tours starting at 10 a.m., a ceremony and a free wild salmon barbecue starting at noon.

Invisible Migration events will also be held in Hazelton on May 20 and Prince Rupert on May 23.

The latter will mark their arrival at the Skeena estuary, where Petronas hopes to build its proposed Pacific Northwest LNG terminal on Lelu Island.

The facility would be used to process and export natural gas transported from Hudson's Hope by TransCanada's proposed Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Project pipeline.

McPhail said there were concerns the Petronas plant would damage eelgrass beds that provide rearing habitat for wild salmon.

“The estuary is a critical component of the Skeena system,” said McPhail.

“The smolts arrive at a sensitive time of their lifecycle.

“The estuary gives them a refuge from predators and a chance to get used to the saltwater environment before they head out to the open Pacific.”

According to Pacific NorthWest LNG's website, the proposed facility would be located adjacent to Flora Bank, and includes a proposed suspension bridge and trestle to connect Lelu Island with the marine terminal.

It also says the facility has been designed to avoid sensitive marine environments, such as the eelgrass beds on Flora Bank.

For more information about the Invisible Migration events visit www.skeenawatershed.com or phone 250-842-2494.

Pacific Northwest LNG Sees Little Support for Their Billion Dollar Deal

By Devon Johnson, CFTK News, May 05, 2015

The debate around Pacific Northwest's LNG project on Lelu Island rages on. Last week the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation were offered one billion dollars if the band consents to the Petronas proposed project. Meetings are being held this week in Prince Rupert, Vancouver and Lax Kw'alaams to vote on whether to go through with the deal.

T.Buck Suzuki Spokesperson Luanne Roth says,

"It's like offering money to hurt your kid or something, you don't make a deal to hurt the salmon."

Local residents are turning to social media to make sure their concerns are heard says Roth.

"The companies have so much money for advertising and we're getting one side all the time in the radio and the ads and so I think it's important people hear about both sides."

The environmental impact to the Flora Banks region is one of the biggest issues with this project says local biologist Dr. Barb Faggetter

"We should just basically be saying this is a no go zone because we don't have enough science to guarantee that we won't be impacting Flora Banks. Should they ever have a spill or an accident there, there will be probably unmitigatable damage to flora banks."

The Lax Kw'alaams band has six days to make a vote on the billion dollar deal. According to Roth, at the Prince Rupert meeting last night zero hands were raised in support of the project.

Pacific Northwest LNG Spokesperson says this,

"It's incumbent upon projects to consult with First Nations and coopoeratively assess impact and propose compensations so if you know you're building a project like ours."

However Roth argues,

"They just chose the wrong site. There's no way to do it carefully. There's no way. It's just too difficult and even if they're trying, they had plenty of chance to find another site and they wouldn't look at an alternative."

Roth goes on to say the company shouldn't just value salmon as money...it's more than that. Another meeting is set to be held tonight at Chances by the proponent.

Internal Government Emails Reveal Defects in Canada’s Consultation on Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipe

Gitxaala First Nation, April 23, 2015

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - April 23, 2015) - Environment Canada had serious concerns with the Government of Canada's proposed consultation approach for the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project, according to an internal government email obtained through the Access to Information Act.

An access to information request, filed almost four years ago by the Haisla Nation, shows Environment Canada highlighted a number of concerns with the project in an email dated September, 1, 2009. Some of those concerns included:


The list of concerns about the consultation process concluded: "It is not clear that it would meet the honour of the Crown duty," according to the email.

Haisla Nation Chief Councillor Ellis Ross said the release of this information, nearly four years after the access to information requested was filed, is "incredibly late, coming well after the government's decision to approve the project. Still, it confirms the concerns we've had all along with Canada's approach to consultation."

The Northern Gateway pipeline project proposes the construction of 1,178 kilometres of twin diluted bitumen and condensate pipelines and a marine terminal near Kitimat BC, in Haisla Nation Territory. The project would introduce regular tanker shipments of crude oil from BC's north coast, through the territories of several First Nations. The Haisla Nation, along with Nak'azdli and Gitxaala Nations and five other First Nations along the proposed pipeline and tanker routes, is challenging the Government of Canada's decision to approve the project through judicial reviews filed in the Federal Court of Appeal, on the basis of inadequate consultation.

Chief Fred Sam of Nak'azdli said the information obtained in the email isn't surprising, yet remains "disappointing."

"For years Nak'azdli and the Yinka Dene Alliance have said to Canada that its approach to consultation for the Enbridge proposal is seriously flawed," said Chief Sam. "Now we can see that Canada's own environment ministry agreed with us."

A Transport Canada email dated August 31, 2009 also identified its concern that the consultation approach was not flexible enough to respond to changing circumstances or incoming information.
The email states that "the consultation plan as written does not appear to be flexible enough to account for changing circumstances and incoming information."

Both emails were sent to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency in response to an email seeking comments on the approach to Crown consultation. Despite these concerns being raised, Canada "charged ahead" with its approach to consultation, said Chief Sam. "Now, many First Nations have been forced to go to court to challenge Canada's Enbridge decision."

Chief Clarence Innis of Gitxaala Nation said the emails show Canada has known since at least 2009 that its approach to consultation is misguided.

"We are shocked that, despite this, Canada pressed ahead with this dishonourable treatment of our Nation and other First Nations," said Chief Innis. "This confirms the justice of our principled opposition to the shipping of bitumen through our territory and British Columbia's Northwest Coast."

Redacted diary reveals oil’s hidden route to Harper

By Mychaylo Prystupa, National Observer, April 22, 2015

Redacted entries in Mike Duffy’s diary suggest he was in regular undisclosed contact with pipeline giant Enbridge during the height of the federal government's scorching attacks on environmental activists and charities in 2012.

The suspended senator’s journal shows a flurry of conversations and emails with or about top-level Enbridge executives, then PMO chief of staff Nigel Wright and the Prime Minister between January and June of 2012, just as the National Energy Board started its hearings on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline proposal.

During this period, the federal government launched three parliamentary hearings, a senate inquiry and a major Canada Revenue Agency audit initiative focused on the activities of environmental charities, many of which opposed Northern Gateway.

None of the apparent contacts with Duffy were reported by Enbridge to the federal lobbyist registry, and Duffy's office redacted several key mentions of them.

The redacted entries include two exchanges between Prime Minister Harper and Duffy about Enbridge pipeline issues.

Duffy and his assistant, Mary McQuaid, made the redactions a year later before couriering the calendar pages to the PMO for a Senate probe into his expenses, said RCMP investigator Cpl. Greg Horton.

“Mary and I copied and redacted my four years of diaries,” Duffy wrote in an 2013 email obtained by police.

But the suspended Senator’s entries are still legible. The black marks on his journal suggest a poor attempt to cover up, says Canada’s lobbying watchdog.

“It’s the worst case of redacting that I’ve seen in a long time,” reacted René Leblanc, Deputy Commissioner of Lobbying on Monday, when shown the diary.

From late 2009 to the end of 2011, there are no redactions in the diary. Duffy redacted entries during the period from January through June, 2012, and the most frequent redactions concern Enbridge or environmental charities — over a dozen in all.

Enbridge did not disclose to lobbying registry

None of Enbridge’s calendared calls with Duffy were declared by the company to the federal lobbyist registry. The Lobbying Act requires firms to make detailed reporting of its contacts with public office holders, including senators.

Duffy’s diary details his phone calls and emails with Steve Wuori, then-president of Enbridge Liquids Pipelines (five mentions), Enbridge board of director Jim Blanchard (two mentions), then-Prime Minister chief of staff Nigel Wright, public opinion pollster Dave Crapper (six mentions), and his long-time associate Bill Rodgers (nine mentions).

Rodgers is Duffy’s former CTV colleague turned cabinet communications director. According to Le Devoir, Rodgers lost his government post in May 2011, and Duffy put him to work in early 2012 using an alleged taxpayer-paid scheme now under scrutiny at Duffy’s bribery and breach of trust trial.

Before hiring him, Duffy’s wrote of Rodgers' “future career plan (Pipelines)" in late 2011. And Le Devoir reports that Duffy used another long-time friend — Gerald Donohue to flow taxpayer dollars to Rodgers for raising “energy issues” in the public eye.

Crucially, Duffy’s telephone conversations with Enbridge executives occurred before two national Conservative Party caucus meetings in February and April 2012, where exchanges about Enbridge were made with Prime Minister Harper about the company’s pipelines. His entries read:

Mike Duffy, Duffy diaries, Duffy trial, Enbridge, Harper, Senate Scandal, Northern Gateway, Enbridge Northern GatewayRedacted entries regarding Enbridge from Senator Mike Duffy's diary
Then, two days after the Feb.15 Conservative caucus meeting, the diary suggests Stephen Harper told Duffy:

“PM asks “Send me a note on Enbridge Line #9 problems” (with strike outs).

Duffy then worked the phone and emails to Enbridge and the PMO:

Duffy diaries, Enbridge, Stephen Harper, Mike Duffy, Senator DuffyEntries regarding Enbridge from Mike Duffy's diary

After his communications wtih Enbridge, Duffy speaks to the Prime Minister and the entire Conservative caucus about its multi-billion-dollar pipelines.

Later that same evening, Duffy's journal says he also calls Enbridge’s Steve Wuori “re: Bill Rodgers & Dave Crapper.”

All of Duffy’s calls with Enbridge followed a Prime Ministerial directive in late 2011 to find “creative solutions” to get Alberta oil to tidal waters.

Harper had just received an urgent phone call with bad news from the White House: U.S. President Barack Obama said he would delay his decision on Canada’s Keystone XL pipeline into the U.S. in late 2011.

Enbridge’s Northern Gateway was then seen to be the “most imminent option” by cabinet to pump oil to the West coast according to a source who attended a subsequent Harper strategy meeting, the National Post reported.

The Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada confirmed Monday that Enbridge did not register any of these early 2012 communications with Senator Mike Duffy. The office is now looking into the matter.

Reached for comment in Ottawa, veteran Liberal Senator and and former Vancouver mayor Larry Campbell was critical of Enbridge’s failure to report its contact with Duffy.

“It would seem to me... that this is a reportable lobbying event,” he said.

As for the reasons behind Duffy’s redactions, Campbell was reluctant to speculate.

However, he ventured: “It confounds me how intelligent people can somehow alter an electronic diary or even a written (one). It’s like getting a redacted document under Freedom of Information. What the hell did they black out, and why?… It could be caucus confidentiality, it could be confidentiality between the PM and Duffy.

"Duffy is going to have to explain it, that’s all there is to it."

Enbridge has registered 215 monthly lobbying reports — but none of them mention Senator Duffy. Another oil sands firm, Laricina Energy, did disclose its lobbying communications with Senator Duffy in 2012.

Enbridge’s manager of communications Ivan Giesbrecht was reached Monday, and was then emailed a list of questions. The company did not respond before a Tuesday noon deadline.

The Prime Minister's office was also contacted Tuesday morning for comment, but did not respond.

Duffy’s diary also shows he was in regular touch with former Sun News Network host Ezra Levant. Levant is expected to testify imminently in Duffy’s bribery and breach of trust trial.

Duffy's numerous social contacts with cabinet ministers and senior bureaucrats, and cocktail parties at 24 Sussex, suggest he was one of the ultimate insiders in the Conservative Party.

He was appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Harper in 2009, following a long career in broadcasting on federal politics.

Opinion: English Bay confirms Canada’s not ready for a major oil spill

By Harry Wruck, The Vancouver Sun, April 21, 2015

In the wake of the toxic fuel spill in English Bay two weeks ago, officials at all levels of government were playing the blame game and pointing fingers over a not-so-world-class spill response plan. But beneath all that posturing and righteous indignation remains one simple fact: Canada — from its spill response teams to its legislative framework — is not ready to handle a major spill.

I spent decades as a senior general counsel at the Department of Justice, where I prosecuted both criminal and civil oil spill cases. My work on the Nestucca oil spill — which spilled 874,000 litres of oil off the coast of Oregon, polluted the beaches of Vancouver Island and killed 35,000 migratory birds — made me intimately aware of how even a moderate-sized spill can impact people and the environment for years after the fact.

Compared to the Exxon Valdez spill (more than 40 million litres spilled) or even the Nestucca spill, the English Bay spill was small. Still, Canada bungled its response, proving that its emergency protocols are ill-equipped to handle a spill of any size. This is not a big surprise: While much has been made of recent cuts to the coast guard, we cannot overlook the fact that Canada made the foolhardy decision in the early 1990s to sell off its oil spill cleanup equipment (at the time thought to be the best in the world) and leave emergency cleanup to the private sector.

It is easy to take issue with the coast guard’s sluggish, wholly inadequate response to the spill, but I’m particularly troubled by its claim that it was able to recover 80 per cent of what was spilled. Such a claim is, quite frankly, ludicrous.

In most instances, recovering 10 or 15 per cent of any spill is considered a success. This is because it is impossible to determine with any precision how much oil is released during a spill: It can dissipate into the water, sink to the ocean floor, wash up on beaches, or escape into the air. Even the coast guard admits it is likely more than the 2,700 litres of fuel first reported actually spilled into English Bay. And if you don’t know how much oil has been released, it is impossible to clean it all up.

The coast guard also appeared to be misinformed when it stated that it would recoup the full costs of cleaning up the spill — what it fails to appreciate is that this is much easier said than done. In dealing with recouping costs and seeking environmental damages, a number of complex legal questions arise: Were the costs incurred reasonable and necessary? How do you quantify impact on wildlife or ecosystems with no market value? What happens when an endangered species is destroyed?

Unfortunately, these are all questions Canadian law is not equipped to effectively and efficiently address.

Canadian politicians like to claim our environmental laws and regulations are world-class, but this is simply not true. Whether we are looking at improving drinking water standards, regulating greenhouse gas emissions or prosecuting polluters, the laws and regulations that are supposed to protect Canadians and the environment are increasingly falling behind those of other industrialized nations.

I now work at Ecojustice, Canada’s only national environmental law charity, where we have been involved in review processes for both Enbridge’s Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The latter would see a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic through Burrard Inlet. Over and over we have challenged the companies’ safety records and Canada’s emergency response plans. Again and again, they tell us that Canadians have nothing to worry about.

After what happened in English Bay, how can we trust them?

The English Bay spill was relatively small, it was a big wake-up call: We are not prepared to deal with a major oil spill. And until the tanker-sized holes in Canada’s spill response plan and legislative framework are addressed, we cannot allow even a limited expansion of tanker traffic off our coasts.

Harry Wruck is a lawyer at Ecojustice and served as a senior general counsel with the Department of Justice.

CSIS helped government prepare for Northern Gateway protests

By Jim Bronskill, CTV News, March 17, 2015

Canada's spy agency helped senior federal officials figure out how to deal with protests expected last summer in response to resource and energy development issues -- including a pivotal decision on the Northern Gateway pipeline.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service prepared advice and briefing material for two June meetings of the deputy ministers' committee on resources and energy, documents obtained under the Access to Information Act show.

The issue was driven by violence during demonstrations against natural-gas fracking in New Brunswick the previous summer and the government's interest in "assuming a proactive approach" in 2014, says a newly declassified memo from Tom Venner, CSIS assistant director for policy and strategic partnerships.

Release of the material comes amid widening concern among environmentalists and civil libertarians about the spy agency's role in gathering information on opponents of natural resource projects. Those worries have been heightened by proposed anti-terrorism legislation that would allow CSIS to go a step further and actively disrupt suspected extremist plots.

Traditional aboriginal and treaty rights issues, including land use, persist across Canada, Venner said in the memo to CSIS director Michel Coulombe in advance of a June 9 meeting of deputy ministers.
"Discontent related to natural resource development across Canada is largely an extension of traditional concerns," he wrote. "In British Columbia, this is primarily related to pipeline projects (such as Northern Gateway)."

On June 17, the federal government conditionally approved Enbridge's proposed $8-billion Northern Gateway pipeline, which would see Alberta crude flow westward to Kitimat, B.C.

Prior to the federal decision, Venner drafted a second memo for a follow-up meeting of the deputy ministers on June 19, in which he laid out CSIS assessments of three scenarios: approval, approval with aboriginal consultation, or rejection. Much of the content is blanked out.

Other censored sections indicate that while CSIS believes most Northern Gateway opposition falls into the category of legitimate protest and dissent, it concludes some does not.

Public Safety Canada may lead deputy ministers in a guided discussion "that will consider possible federal responses to protest and demonstration incidents," Venner added.

Packages for both meetings included a CSIS synopsis of violence that flared near the Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick in October 2013 when the RCMP enforced a provincial court injunction against an encampment to protest fracking -- an underground rock-fracturing process to make gas and oil flow.

The spy agency's summary -- portions of which remain secret -- notes that during the raid and subsequent arrests, Molotov cocktails were thrown at Mounties, shots were fired from nearby woods and six RCMP cars were set afire.

CSIS also gave deputy ministers a federal risk forecast for the 2014 "spring / summer protest and demonstration season" compiled by the Government Operations Centre, which tracks and analyzes such activity.
CSIS spokeswoman Tahera Mufti did not respond to requests for comment on the newly disclosed documents.

The Elsipogtog conflict was a policing matter, not a threat to national security, said Keith Stewart, an energy campaigner for Greenpeace Canada.

"That was a very localized conflict," he said. "And it was one that we've seen happen over and over again because we haven't dealt with land claims."

With that in mind, Stewart was surprised by the degree of spy service involvement in the Northern Gateway discussions. "I find it odd to see CSIS in the middle of this."

The records make it clear the intelligence service is putting "extensive work" into monitoring protest activity in the extractive sector across Canada, said human rights lawyer Paul Champ.
"The big question I have is, why are they producing these intelligence reports on protest activity they acknowledge is legitimate and outside their mandate?"

Friends of Wild Salmon calls out Pacific Northwest LNG for misleading advertising

Friends of Wild Salmon, March 05, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 5, 2015

Friends of Wild Salmon calls out Pacific Northwest LNG for misleading advertising


Friends of Wild Salmon is calling on Pacific Northwest LNG to publicly retract their misleading advertisement in this week’s regional newspapers and issue a truthful ad showing the risks their project poses to Skeena wild salmon.

“Communities throughout the Skeena watershed depend on wild salmon for their livelihoods. It is critical that Pacific Northwest LNG provide residents with factual, honest information about the risks their project poses to wild salmon”, said Gerald Amos, Friends of Wild Salmon Chair.

The Pacific Northwest LNG ad claims that their new design “protects fish and fish habitat in the Skeena estuary”. This claim is made despite expert warnings that their new design seriously risks the erosion of Flora Bank and destruction of the eelgrass beds critical to Skeena salmon.

“Pacific Northwest LNG is aware of the erosion problem with the new design. I spoke to them at their last open house and they said they were meeting with Dr. McLaren whose sediment analysis confirmed a serious flaw in the new design which threatens Flora Bank if the Pacific Northwest LNG project is allowed to proceed.” said Luanne Roth with the T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation.

Their full-page ad fails to show hundreds of pilings needed for the trestle and berth. This forest of pilings just northwest of Flora Bank will break up wave action and the flow of currents that are needed to protect the sensitive eelgrass of Flora Bank – critical habitat for all Skeena salmon species.

A 1973 report by the DFO rejected the use of Flora Bank as an industrial site due to the risks posed to Skeena salmon. Pacific Northwest LNG has refused to listen to repeated requests to find an alternative site.

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Contact: Gerald Amos, Friends of Wild Salmon, 250-632-1521; Luanne Roth, T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation, 250-627-4201

Is Northern Gateway quietly being shelved?

By Tracy Johnson, CBC News, February 20, 2015

Enbridge has so far sidestepped the worst of the energy downturn, earning $88 million in fourth quarter of 2014, and $1.1 billion for 2014 as a whole, more than double what it earned in 2013.

Enbridge’s CEO Al Monaco called 2014 a “successful year on many fronts.” 

Monaco was talking about progress on several of the company's smaller pipeline projects, like Line 9 between Ontario and Quebec, or Flanagan South in the U.S.

He wasn’t talking about the Northern Gateway pipeline project, which was approved last year by the federal government, subject to 209 conditions.

But since that June 2014 decision in Ottawa, things have been mighty quiet on the Northern Gateway front, with no mention of the pipeline in the Q4 earnings, nor in the end of quarter conference call, and only a page dedicated to the project in Enbridge’s 75-page year-end information form.

That raises the question: Is Northern Gateway being quietly shelved?

In its annual filing, Enbridge did say that Northern Gateway is going to be substantially more expensive than the most recent cost estimate of $7.9 billion, in part because of the cost of satisfying the 209 conditions imposed by the federal government. The company has not yet released the new cost estimate, but did say the earliest it will be in operation is 2019.

There are numerous hurdles to be overcome before then:​

Meet 209 conditions - fewer than 30 have been fully completed

 

Enbridge may not have decided

Michal Moore, director of energy and environmental policy at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy, says it’s likely that Enbridge itself doesn’t know if it can make Gateway happen.

"Keep in mind that at the end of the day they just may not know," says Moore. “They’ve been posturing for a long time about this and the bottom line is that they don’t have all the answers that they suggest they do in public."

Focus on smaller projects

In the earnings conference call, Guy Jarvis, Enbridge’s president of liquids and pipelines said that with the current opposition to pipelines, it’s easier to make incremental changes to the existing network to get oil flowing to U.S. ports.

"All of these involve relatively small, low cost, bolt-on projects that can be staged in increments as required to meet shipper needs," said Jarvis.

The company also said in the call that it expects Keystone XL to be in operation in 2019 and for one of the West Coast pipelines to be operating in 2020. That would be either Northern Gateway or Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

It’s notable that it didn’t express any confidence Gateway would be the pipeline in operation, even though it is further ahead in the regulatory process and Kinder Morgan is facing a lot of opposition of its own.

At the same time, with the price of oil expected to trade below $80 US a barrel for the next few years, expansion of the oilsands will slow, lessening the long term demand for pipeline capacity.

“At the end of the day, is shipping crude oil anywhere but down to PADD 3 [the U.S. Gulf Coast] the answer?" says  Moore.

First Nations relationships remain troubled

But as we all know, the main problem continues to be Enbridge’s relationship with First Nations along the pipeline route. Although more than half have signed up, many of those who haven’t remain staunchly opposed to the project.

Nine court challenges against Enbridge have been merged into one case that is questioning both the reasoning for approval of the pipeline and Enbridge’s consultation with First Nations in B.C. That challenge is expected to go to hearing in the fall of 2015.

In the meantime, Northern Gateway’s spokesman Ivan Giesbrecht says that the company is still working on its relationship with First Nations and Métis groups in BC.

"Building more long-term meaningful partnerships with these communities is our priority right now," says Giesbrecht.

Ownership shake-up

Late last year, the president of Northern Gateway John Carruthers said that the company is working on a new ownership structure, in which more control and ownership is given to First Nations along the route, leaving Enbridge as a partial owner and operator of the pipeline.

Ownership of Northern Gateway would be independent of Enbridge — possibly a limited partnership that would be governed by the pipeline’s energy company shippers, the aboriginal equity partners and Enbridge.

That ownership would allow more benefit to flow to the First Nations along the route, but also shifts the risk, says Michal Moore.

“They’ll get a little farther along, than they were going the other way. But you pile up all the uncertainties and you’ve got a risk exposure that’s probably more than the cost of the project.”

Coastal First Nations Call Out ‘Eagle Spirit’ Pipeline

By Sarah Berman, The Tyee, February 13, 2015

Energy project seen as Northern Gateway alternative rejected by two vital aboriginal alliances.

After a Wednesday press conference in Calgary announced new partners in a First Nations-led pipeline project, two major alliances of First Nations have publicly rejected the proposal.

The Eagle Spirit Energy project, which positions itself as a less risky alternative to Enbridge's Northern Gateway, first set out to secure "social license" for a high-volume energy corridor through northern B.C. in September 2012. With financial backing from the Aquilini Group, president and chairperson Calvin Helin said his company consulted with First Nations and is in the process of designing a proposal that meets those terms.

"We learned First Nations do not want bitumen through the province, they do not want Kitimat as a port -- it's probably the worst place, they repeatedly told us -- they want a world-class environmental model, and they want fair reward for the risks they're taking," said Helin.

Two representatives from the Burns Lake Indian Band in Ts'il Kaz Koh territory and two hereditary chiefs from Gitxsan territories announced support for the project on Wednesday morning. They join Stellat'en First Nation, which announced its public support last year. "First Nations that came out and signed a declaration today wanted to demonstrate they're open for business when standards are met," Helin said on Wednesday.

While Eagle Spirit's "consult first, design later" approach has been observed with interest by some First Nations, two large aboriginal alliances have come out against the project. The Yinka Dene Alliance and Coastal First Nations responded to the press event by affirming their members still oppose high-volume pipelines through their land and waterways.

"Literally no First Nation on the coast is in favour of Eagle Spirit," said Art Sterritt, executive director of Coastal First Nations. "It's a bit misleading for Eagle Spirit to hold a press conference in Calgary and announce things have changed in British Columbia, because they haven't."

Yinka Dene Alliance spokesperson Geraldine Thomas-Flurer said the six member nations have "not changed our position on oil transportation through our lands and waters."
Coastal First Nations members span from Rivers Inlet on B.C.'s central coast, up to the northernmost tip of Haida Gwaii. The Yinka Dene Alliance includes the Nadleh Whut'en, Nak'azdli, Takla Lake, Saik'uz, Wet'suwet'en and Tl'azt'en nations in B.C.'s central interior. Nak'azdli Chief Fred Sam said yesterday that he stands behind a letter he wrote to Calvin Helin, who hails from Lax Kw'alaams near Prince Rupert, in October 2014. The letter commends Eagle Spirit for seeking First Nations' approval, but rejects the proposal.

"I have heard you and David Negrin from the Aquilini Group state that your proposed pipeline will not proceed through a First Nation's lands unless you had consent from that First Nation," Chief Sam wrote. "Nak'azdli Band Council and our people will not give you the consent that you are seeking."

'Very speculative project': campaigner

Despite vocal opposition, Helin said the Eagle Spirit project has secured agreements with partners along 80 per cent of his company's route. "Art [Sterritt] doesn't speak for all of the North Coast," Helin said of the project's silent supporters. "All I can say is we have non-disclosure agreements and I can't comment."

Many details about the pipeline have not been made public and could remain sealed away in non-disclosure agreements for months or years to come. Without an official price tag, route, or refinery and port location, experts have yet to weigh in on the project's feasibility.

"It's a very speculative project," said Des Nobels, a commercial fisherman and environmental campaigner for T. Bucks Suzuki Foundation. "In terms of the end route, yes it's a safer approach than many of the others being proposed, but I am loath to say one is better than the other."

Helin maintains First Nations' business sense will eventually win over critics. Partners will receive compensation "of a completely different order" than Enbridge's Northern Gateway, he said. Helin said top petroleum economists were consulted, but declined to disclose any financial information.

One First Nations opponent of the Enbridge project attended the Eagle Spirit press conference, but did not sign the declaration of support. Chief Martin Louie of the Nadleh Wut'en First Nation, a member of the Yinka Dene Alliance, said that First Nations-led projects like Eagle Spirit have earned his careful consideration, but not his support.

"I'm not going to agree to anything until I've done due diligence," Chief Louie said.

With oil-by-rail ramping up across the province, Louie said he is in conversation with other aboriginal leaders to create a unified way to address development. "We have to come up with a plan," he added. "We cannot just say no and not have a plan for something else to happen."

Sterritt said Eagle Spirit's consultations may have piqued the interest of leaders like Louie, but the project ultimately doesn't deliver acceptable terms. "They [Eagle Spirit] got through a few more doors than Enbridge did, but never got any more support than Enbridge."

Helin said Eagle Spirit is in the process of finalizing several agreements, and will be announcing new information within the next couple months.

Coastal First Nations Say Eagle Spirit Pipeline Announcement Is Misleading; Pipeline Has No Support

Coastal First Nations, February 12, 2015

The Coastal First Nations say a recent announcement by Eagle Spirit Energy Holdings Ltd. is misleading because it ignores unanimous opposition among First Nations communities on the BC coast.

“There isn’t a single First Nation on the coast of BC that supports oil exports,” said Art Sterritt, Executive Director of the Coastal First Nations. “There also isn’t anything new in this announcement. Eagle Spirit is bringing forward the same interior First Nations that supported the Enbridge pipeline, and glossing over the fact that opposition among First Nations who oppose heavy oil pipelines is stronger than ever.”

Eagle Spirit Energy Holdings Ltd. President, Calvin Helin, is from Lax Kw’alaams, a First Nation community located North of Prince Rupert whose territory includes the proposed location of the company’s export terminal at Grassy Point. First Nations leader and Mayor of Lax Kw’alaams, Gary Reece, has made it clear in conversations that his community does not support oil exports through its traditional territories.

Lax Kw’alaams Hereditary leadership is also opposed to the proposed pipeline.

“In meetings with Eagle Spirit and publicly, we’ve stated time and again that we don’t want oil to come through our territory,” said Murray Smith, elder and Tribal Speaker of the Hereditary Chiefs of Lax Kw’alaams. “Nothing will change our minds because the chance of losing our ocean resources is very high. We’ve got clam beds, we’ve got salmon passing through. What part of ‘no’ does Eagle Spirit not understand?”
Opponents of the pipeline note the fact the announcement was made in Calgary.

“Until they can stand up in British Columbia and announce that they have the support of First Nations on the coast, their proposal is dead in the water, just like Enbridge’s Northern Gateway,” said Art Sterritt.

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