CONTRIBUTION · 23rd July 2012
“It’s a turning point” says Keith Wiley about the threat of a pipeline, which he calls “a recipe for disaster,” and the response of people in BC.
Following discussion meetings in the Nelson area, Wiley, Jim Terral, Tom Nixon and Michael Gilfillon decided to take action in the form of a road trip to visit communities on the front line of the proposed Enbridge pipeline. They came to Hazelton Sunday, July 22.
The inspiration came from seeing the US blockade of the Keystone pipeline route in that country, says Wiley, and believing that “we should do our part, and we feel we have a responsibility to do something.”
In their seven days of travel they have been to; Grand Forks, Castlegar, Kelowna, 100 Mile House, Kamloops, Williams Lake, Prince George, Fort St. James, Fort Fraser and Burns Lake before coming to Hazelton. On Sunday they met with community members to show unity with others who feel strongly about working to change the direction of the resource industry.
Wiley explained the response has been great. People are appreciating their action as they travel building momentum for a movement to find ways to create energy that doesn’t include releasing more carbon into the atmosphere. Wiley views carbon as the core problem, raising temperatures leading to more extreme weather.
‘We can’t continue to use oil at this rate, we need to use less,” says Wiley, adding that the oil in the tar sands is better left in the ground until a better way is found to use it that won’t be so destructive to the environment and atmosphere. Wiley believes current practices offer few benefits and only high risks for Canadians.
The Hazeltons’ community turned out on Sunday to welcome the caravan members and hosted them in traditional style with abundant food and expressions of gratitude and support from chiefs, elders, MLA Doug Donaldson and others.
Asked what the gathering to welcome the caravan meant to her, one elder replied “Work! Because it’s our way to feed people who come!” as she supervised dishing out bowls of stew and berries to accompany the salads, fry bread, rice and baked salmon. She added “We don’t want Enbridge!”
Hereditary Chief Dawamuxw expressed his appreciation for the visitors and their gesture of support and solidarity. Dawamuxw referred to the children playing nearby saying “they have no voice, so we need to speak for them”
The caravan will backtrack to Smithers and then continue to Kitimat before returning to Nelson.
Keith Wiley presented elders with a declaration of support from his area
Shannon McPhail of Skeena Watershed Conservaation Coalition thanked the Caravan people for their support
A clean environment for the future generations is part of the message of the Caravan
A cross section of the community turned out to welcome the Caravan