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Emotion mounts over feds' scramble for pipeline support in BC

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"I believe that Canada is sitting on the three most valuable resources of the coming centuries," she wrote. "One, you've identified: those last drops of oil that could become plastic or some other irreplaceable resource.

"The second, in my professional opinion the far-longer and much-larger economic gain: our water. And the third:  a healthy and safe population, by having made intelligent health care policy, public health, and safety decisions."  

"Of course, all three of these resources are profoundly threatened if this carbon gets extracted, piped across Canada, and shipped to be combusted and converted to greenhouse gases." 

Wrong path, wrong place

Allan Hunter is part of a group of BROKE, Burnaby residents opposing Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion. The group, which contains 200 members, was formed partially in response to the Kinder Morgan pipeline in Burnaby in 2007.

Hunter fears that the path towards increased dependency on oil will end in disaster and turn the world into "an unlivable nightmare."

He believes that the Northern Gateway pipeline's prospects have all but died, and worries that the Harper contingent is really here to muscle the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion through.

"There are also thousands of Vancouver residents who walk around Stanley Park and see the tankers but don't know what they carry," he said. Stressing that even a small accident could completely "ruin" their experience of the coast, Hunter argued that the Prime Minister is going down a path of rapid energy development that wouldn't benefit Canadians in the long run. 

"Instead of investing in sustainable energy and green jobs, Harper gives tax breaks to foreign multinationals," he lamented.

"This is not the future we want."

LNG and Enbridge

When Lee Brain spoke before the Joint Review Panel last year, he moved thousands with his personal story in a stirring testimony to why he opposed the Enbridge pipeline.  Brain's father is an oil executive who hoped his son would follow in his path and pursue a career in the oil industry. Brain told the panel of his experience working at an oil refinery in India and his despair at witnessing the negative impact the oil infrastructure had on the local culture. 

His respect for his father apparent in every word he spoke (watch video below), Brain recounted how he walked away from the lucrative career in oil, and moved to Prince Rupert, where he continues to urge people to transition off of fossil fuel.

He worries that the broad support for liquified natural gas (LNG) in his region may inadvertently help the case for an oil pipeline through northern BC.

"Right now the debate is more and more about LNG," Brain said. In the future, he predicts, "a lot of [oil pipeline proponents] are going to be saying, 'look, you already have LNG pipelines so why don't we just piggyback Enbridge on that one? I think the strategy is to get everyone sold first on LNG, saying it's cleaner, and once the infrastructure is in place, say 'now that it's there, we'll piggyback on that.'"

But on the eve of the Harper government's push on the oil sands pipelines, Brain reaffirms that Enbridge Northern Gateway won't win support in Prince Rupert.

"[Enbridge] didn't do a good job in the initial stages at engaging anybody here, and now all of a sudden they're saying, 'trust us'?" he said, with disbelief in his voice.

"This whole region rallies against it.  No one is supporting it."

Standing on the sidewalk of Burrard Street Saturday night, David Eby,  NDP MLA from Point Grey, shook his head. From his height of six-foot-four inches or so, he looked down at a reporter and laughed at the idea of a parade of federal ministers coming next week to the province to convert opponents.

"So, now they care about BC?" he said.

With files from Erin Flegg and Krystle Alarcon 

Want to learn more? See video below...

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