REPORTING · 13th August 2012
In a dramatic public betrayal of trust, a betrayal witnessed by other elected officials and administration staff, the Mayor of Terrace, BC, David Pernarowski and Terrace Councillor Bruce Bidgood voted to delay their City, their fellow councilors, their citizenry, a voice against Enbridge.
It happened on Friday evening, August 10th. While the other mainstream media, Bell/Astral Media and Black Press, were focused on covering a dog story, Terrace Mayor Pernarowski stated the motion opposing the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline was too “vague”. This after his Council adopted the very same motion as a formal public position. Pernarowski even stated on stage at the REM Lee Theater, he would “stand arm in arm with those opposed to Enbridge” at a forum prior to the previous municipal election.
“I’d like to make a motion that the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine [RDKS] take the position of being in opposition to the Northern Gateway Pipeline,” declared Area ‘D’ Director Dave Brocklebank.
Terrace’s representative to the RDKS, Mayor Pernarowski responded, “I’m going to vote against the motion because it is vague and perhaps the notice of motion could come with a little bit more specifics.”
Just a few minutes earlier Terrace Councillor Bruce Bidgood stated the position of Terrace Council was in opposition to Enbridge and he would be voting in favour of the motion to oppose Enbridge suggested by Brocklebank.
“I’m sure you all know the City of Terrace council also passed a motion, not exactly in those words, but supporting the previous UBCM resolution so I think that I can vote in favour of that and be consistent with what we’ve done on council in the City of Terrace […].”
Other RDKS Directors, Doug McLeod and Linda Pierre, agreed stating those who voted for them would expect them to vote opposed to Enbridge, therefore they would be supporting Brocklebank’s motion. The 6 Regional Areas (A through F) have no municipal voice and consider the RDKS as their only opportunity to express the opposition of those who voted for them.
“I’m going to be compelled to vote as directed as my constituents,” stated Area C Director McLeod, “I don’t have many that would appreciate me voting against the motion.” McLeod represents the entire rural area of the RDKS which will be impacted by the pipeline proposal including Douglas Channel.
Hazelton Area B Director Pierre encouraged a vote to declare the RDKS opposed to Enbridge. “Since this is our only forum for rural [areas] for example, I would like us to have a voice, we don’t have the luxury of speaking as a municipality, so I would like us to have a voice.”
As soon as Pierre finished speaking Terrace director Bidgood requested Brocklebank’s motion be tabled. Pernarowski immediately seconded the motion. This meant the discussion and vote on taking a formal position opposing the Enbridge Northern Gateway proposal, would put off at least until the next meeting, September 14.
The debate changed after Pernarowski claimed he needed more time to evaluate the project and the motion, suggesting it was a sudden, unexpected, motion which required time to consider. He suggested the motion be tabled to a later date.
All directors of the RDKS then succumbed to the peer pressure of the discussion and board table; the obfuscation of the motion by Pernarowski, who talked until the clear statement seemed unclear.
On November 8, 2011, just prior to being elected as Mayor; Pernarowski stated, “I think it is important that I make a point on the Enbridge project...we can't have that project. So what I would do, is stand up with the majority of people in this community, and fight that project, arm in arm, if that’s what it takes.”
The Kitimat Council representative, Councillor Corrine Scott, clearly reflected the position of Kitimat, to remain neutral as did others who represented municipalities.
The Regional District Skeena Queen Charlottes, the City of Prince Rupert, the City of Terrace and the Town of Smithers have all taken a position opposed to Enbridge. Kitimat has chosen to remain neutral. This recent hesitation, especially as it came at the direction of the Mayor of Terrace, a City whose Councillors have already directed their Mayor to reflect their position, is a betrayal of trust.
All directors voted to table the motion, even Dave Brocklebank, the director who made the motion to begin with.
Watch the videos attached below. The first is a short compilation of the highlights. The second is the entire debate from the making of the motion to the vote to table it. The third and forth are Pernarowski’s statements to the public at the All Candidates forum at the REM Lee Theater November 8, 2011.
Director Dave Brocklebank makes the motion to oppose Enbridge
Mayor Dave Pernarowski seems to struggle to maintain composure
Watch the body language of David Pernarowski as the Motion is being introduced by watching the beginning of the second attached video
Voting to table the motion
Comment by Steve on 17th August 2012
Looking to the United Church for moral guidance based on their past history here in Northern BC is like looking to Playboy for family pictures.
Mr Bidgood's submission to the Daily ( my assessment was that there were a number of directors undecided on the issue and confused by the unexpectedness of the motion. It was too close too call...and too important to mess up for the stake of pontificating. ) makes perfect sense.
But why let facts get in the way of a good barstool rant
Enough said and well done! Betrayal. Period.
Comment by Maria on 14th August 2012
No more words needed.
Comment by Dave on 14th August 2012
Really Merv, there is no story here. I would say that the opinion of the Terrace city counsel in the Enbridge Northern pipeline is pretty much meaningless anyway even if they supported it. Great if they are trying to make a stand but who cares? I personally don't care how he feels about the pipeline. His opinion won't stop it or get it built and I doubt yours will either. They should be dealing with local issues they have authority over. I think the mayor is doing a good job and I don't see an issue here.
What about the dog?
Comment by Brad H. on 14th August 2012
I missed the story about the dog what happened?
Comment by Bruce A. Bidgood on 13th August 2012
Merv, I respectfully disagree with your assessment of the motion being carried at the meeting...my assessment was that there were a number of directors undecided on the issue and confused by the unexpectedness of the motion. It was too close too call...and too important to mess up for the stake of pontificating. Many electoral area representatives have not had the opportunity to speak to the issue and were unprepared. Tabling was the right thing to do for fair and due process and for the integrity of the anti-Enbridge movement. The evidence will be in the result of the next RDKS board meeting which I am sure will be better attended and will not go unnoticed by media in addition to the Terrace Daily.
Watching a sound motion go down in flames unnecessarily would be the act of a self-righteous martyr and not a conscientious representative of their constituents.
The motion would not have failed, issue is clear, betrayal
Comment by Merv Ritchie on 13th August 2012
A simple count of the elected board representatives who spoke firmly in favour of the motion - Five. This does not include those who didn’t speak such as Alice Maitland. And Scott (Kitimat) would not be allowed to vote to maintain Kitimats stated neutrality.
A confident representative would have countered Pernarowski’s claims of needing more time to consider the matter, ‘the motion was vague, it was sudden and unexpected.’
All those statements are pure political hogwash. This is a tired old debate, there is nothing vague and after all the protests in every community along with the forums and the electioneering statements from November 2011, everyone knows every facet of this issue. Pernarowski sounded more like Gordon Campbell, Joe Oliver or Stephen Harper when he made these outrageous statements.
How these men overpower the intelligence of honest people is a curiosity.
What this debate required was one person to stand up loud and proud with confidence and strength of character to lay waste to those ignorant statements by the Mayor of Terrace. It was sad to see him permitted to make those statements unchallenged.
No one should have even made the motion to table, least of all the other Terrace representative at the table.
Sometimes the actions of those we elect purely disappoint. This is exactly why the public has disengaged with politics. It is a waste of breath.
All that has happened is time has been provided to come up with further excuses and to perform arm twisting and/or apply economic pressure on those prepared to vote against Enbridge.
Rather than taking the time to make a motion to table, one should have taken that opportunity to stand strong with Pierre, McLeod, Nyce and Brocklebank who spoke strongly in favour and challenge the claim of being unclear on the issue. To hold the Mayor to his own words during the election in 2011, and to hold the Mayor to his own job, which is to represent the wishes of his council. He should have been exposed and embarrased. Not coddled and cuddled as if his words were reasonable.
And further, if it wasn’t for the presence of the Terrace Daily, no one would know. So that argument doesn’t wash either. Who would tell the public? No, it is those twelve men and women who sit around the table that have the duty to do the right thing. Not to wait for the media to inform the public so they can come and protest. The only thing the other media were interested in was the psychological well being of a dog in a shelter.
Residents of the Northwest have been betrayed, maybe only temporarily, but betrayed nonetheless.
Watch the third video, Pernarowski reports exactly what I claimed, he changes his words for expediency. Some people call people like this liars, I refer to them as psychopaths as even they believe their own lies.
There is no excuse. A psychopath gets angry when caught in a blatant lie. Watch for it.
As the debate begins he massages his head as if the misfiring synapses are causing him to suffer psycologically. Houston, we have a problem.
Comment by Anne Hill on 13th August 2012
In that case, we will hold you to your word.
Comment by Bruce A. Bidgood on 13th August 2012
I beg to differ with the interpretation of the author. I professed my intention to vote in favour of a RDKS motion in opposition to the Enbridge pipleline....and that's exactly how I would/and will vote. When other members of the RDKS stated that they were going to vote against the motion because of a procedural issue (i.e., insufficient notice of motion) rather than the merits of the motion, the appropriate move was to table to allow them to consider their positions. Members of the Electoral Areas have not had the same opportunity to confer with their constituents about the proposed pipeline as have elected officials in Terrace. The intention of the motion will be better served when the motion is brought up properly and with greater public scrutiny at the next RDKS meeting. The greater success of the anti-Enbridge campaign will best be served by a successful opposition motion rather than a failed, symbolic gesture unwitnessed by the public. That is also, I believe, what the majority of people in the RDKS want!