CONTRIBUTION · 27th July 2012
Hazelton snubbed by JRP? JRP muzzled Hazelton? We’re not that scary!
The messages were clear on a sunny day in old town. A crowd of all ages and backgrounds got together to share lunch and paint signs to express how they feel about the Enbridge Joint Review Panel (JRP) hearings being moved to Smithers; allegedly due to safety and security concerns.
There were doctors, social workers, families with small children, students, retired people, farmers, teachers, child care workers, Gitxsan and non-Gitxsan.
Approximately 30 Hazelton area residents who registered to present their views on the proposed pipeline to the JRP will now have to go to Smithers to be heard.
After lunch the paper, pens, cardboard and paint came out. The crowd brainstormed and created signs to post in and around the local area. They intended to use the signs to greet visitors coming for the Kispiox Valley Music Festival and to bring to the JRP hearings on Monday in Smithers.
“It’s a nice day for a rally. We were disgusted that they say we are unsafe here. We’ve had some lively discussions about Enbridge in Hazelton, but no violence,” said hereditary chief Dawamuux, a leader in the Gitxsan Unity Movement.
Kitimat-Stikine Regional District representative Linda Pierre agreed, saying “It’s a smear and a cheap shot. It’s an unfounded accusation that we are not a safe community.
Lunch was hosted by MLA Doug Donaldson’s office and catered by Youth Works, a lifeskills and training program run by the Learning Shop.
The infamous Valley Grannies showed up and serenaded the sign painters with lively new versions of old folk songs. “She’ll be comin’ round the mountain” becomes “Oh we’re radical environmentalists,” etc.
“This rally is about people demanding to have their say, and the National Energy Board’s decision to remove the peoples’ right to be heard,” said Donaldson describing the reasons for the event.
Statements on the signs included; Safe & Secure in Big Oil’s Arms, People yes Enbridge No, 800 + spills in 10 years + Enbridge, “Shhh! Don’t speak out, and We use words not fists!”
It Was a Beautiful Day for Lunch and Sign Painting
Artists Got Busy Crafting Signs
All Ages Attended the Lunch & Sign Rally
MLA Donaldson Joined Valley Grannies in Radical Song