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CONTRIBUTION · 25th January 2012
Gerald Amos
This writing has received close to 20,000 reads, more than twice any posting on this website since January 2007. It was posted only just over two weeks ago, January 8, 2012. It is appropriate to re-date it to today after the exposure of the Prime Minister of Canada calling those opposed to Enbridge 'Enemies of Canada'. The message the writer conveys has obviously struck a chord with ordinary Canadians. Thank you Mr. Amos

by Gerald Amos, January 8, 2012

Recently there has been a lot of criticism by supporters of the tar sands, and oil industry front groups, of Canadian non-profit organizations who have concerns regarding the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project, and the fact that they receive support from U.S. philanthropic foundations.

Ethical, and Our, oil industry front groups with close ties to the Prime Ministers office, recently launched attack ads in northern communities, where opposition to the Enbridge project is fiercest. This desperate attempt to change the minds and hearts of the hundreds of thousands of people who oppose this project, is driven by more than concern for our home and native land. It is being driven by greed and desperation.

The foreign interest groups Canadians should really be concerned about are the Chinese oil companies investing billions in the Tar Sands, and the multinational oil companies like Shell and British Petroleum, who are investing 200 million dollars trying to sell Canadians on this astoundingly stupid idea.

Ezra Levant, Stephen Harper and Minister Oliver should study history a bit. The First Nations of Northern BC including the Haisla have been fighting to protect this coast for decades. This proposed project is just one of many we will have ended up stopping. The insinuation that northern communities, and especially First Nations, can be bought by U.S. interests is paternalistic and insulting; if not some new iteration of hypocrisy that can only be characterized as soft core racism.

The Haisla have been fighting to protect this region from ill-conceived industrial developments for over thirty years, while at the same time showing leadership in developing projects that are safer and more sustainable, and that benefit all British Columbians. Our history in this regard is well known, be it our efforts to reform logging practices, pollution from industrial plants, or our successful efforts to protect the worlds largest remaining intact coastal temperate rainforest, the Kitlope Valley.

The fact that our conservation leadership has attracted the support of conservation funders should be a source of pride for British Columbians. We do not follow the lead of anyone, we assume and take responsibility for our lands and lead others in that regard.

We are not opposed to development. But we are opposed to stupidity and placing our homelands at terrible risk in order to satisfy the insatiable greed of the international oil industry. We do not accept the Prime Ministers claim that this project is in Canada's national interest, and it is certainly not nation building, but rather, planet destroying.

Haisla were the lead in developing the LNG project in Kitimat, the largest new industrial development in the north in thirty years. Natural gas is the cleanest hydrocarbon available, tar sands oil is the dirtiest. My community’s decision to support natural gas development and oppose a tar sands pipeline is a considered and informed decision consistent with our ancestral responsibilities as First Nations who have never surrendered title to these lands. Yes, we need and want jobs. Long term, permanent, sustainable jobs we can be proud of, not six months of digging ditches for a tar sands pipe, or jobs cleaning up oil spills.

We will not allow the Ezra Levants of this world, who, by the way, does not reside in this region, to characterize the Haisla, or our neighbors, as the pawns of U.S. Foundations.

In the past we have made considerable sacrifices all on our own in order to protect rivers, lands and ancestral food sources. In part this was done through the use of existing policies, procedures and legislation, including legal means. Sometimes we were forced to use money earmarked for other uses to do so. When I was Chief, our community supported me and our village council in fighting the massive pollution of the Kitimat river by Eurocan Pulp and Paper company. We were attacked by government for doing so, and threatened with third party management – for protecting a river and salmon habitat! Government then, as well as now, were negligent in meeting their legal responsibilities to First Nations, as well as their responsibility to all Canadians, to protect those natural places and processes which are vulnerable and irreplaceable.

The Haisla reality is a growing list of ancestral foods which we no longer have access to. Oolichans were once the most important food resource of the Haisla. They are now all but extinct in the five rivers in our territory that once produced them in great abundance such as a harvest of over 600 tons a year in the Kitamaat River alone. Abalone are also gone. Crabs, prawns and bottom fish in Douglas channel are either gone or illegal for human consumption due to toxic pollution. Salmon habitat in the Kitimat River, once one of the jewels of the coast, is all but gone. Any semblance of salmon abundance is now reliant on a federal hatchery paid for by taxpayers, not the industries that destroyed the productivity of the river in the first place.

We have seen the magnificent forests of the Kitimat Valley, and other coastal watersheds, obliterated in an orgy of greed and destruction driven by short term economic interests, instead of what we asked for; long-term sustainable and science driven resource planning.

We are willing to share, but we will no longer be robbed.

Real protection of forest jobs comes from realistic and long term forest planning, not blaming Enviros and First Nations for a decline in the forest industry that is the result of decades of over cutting and bad management by government and industry.

Now we face Enbridge and their proposal to bring dirty oil from the tarsands through our territory via a pipeline, and ship it through our waters via super tankers.

This is the largest and most insidious threat to our culture that has ever existed, with the possible exception of the Canadian governments violent imposition of the residential school system.

We have witnessed our Prime Minister and his Minister of Environment openly supporting this project, which makes a joke of the Joint Review Process. It is inconsistent with the federal governments fiduciary responsibility to First Nations. This government has abdicated any semblance of fairness or balance in executing its responsibilities to our people, and in fact to all Canadians. Why wouldn’t we accept help in this situation?

So, do not expect an apology any time soon for our willingness to accept assistance from U.S. Foundations, or anyone else of goodwill and principles. In fact, we will instead use this as an opportunity to thank them for stepping up to the plate and acting with charity, responsibility, integrity and generosity in this time of rapid and uncertain change in the world.

We can only hope our Prime Minister will consider their example and truly come to an epiphany as to what really constitutes nation building.

Gerald Amos was Chief Councilor for the Haisla First Nation for 12 years. He has been a leading voice for conservation in Canada for thirty years.
Well written
Comment by Allison Conway on 25th January 2012
Thank you for taking the time to write this wonderful article. You really hit the nail on the head.
speak out everywhere
Comment by anon on 25th January 2012
here is a site where you can speak directly to some of the enbridge investors .
Comment by Don Camsell on 25th January 2012
by Gerald Amos, January 8, 2012
Thanks Mr. Amos for a well written and eloquent letter. I am one of those ordinary Canadians who totally agree with your point of view and conclusions. I count myself very lucky to have had an outstanding lunch in the “Old Village” last summer. I don’t live in the area but I can tell you there are a lot of people here in Ottawa that have warped views about the spill-line. Those of us, who have had the opportunity to see, feel and taste the majesty of the area can’t comprehend the so called economic necessity of supporting this stupid pipeline. There is a lot of work to do to get this environmental disaster stopped. Todays (Jan 25) Ottawa newspaper published the results of a recent Abacus Data poll that indicates that 38% of respondents supported the pipeline and 29% opposed it. Fortunately 33% of the respondents are still waiting to be convinced one way or the other; we need to work on these folks. Mr. Amos your superb presentation of the facts should win over some of these undecided. The sooner Harper understands that this is an electoral issue the better, if he understands that blind support of Enbridge could cost him an election victory then positions will change. Politics will play a big part in the ultimate decision; the JRP has already been set up to fail.
Thanks, and keep the heat on.
Don Camsell
Comment by Karen on 25th January 2012
It was Enbridge's sneaky tricks that helped bring the Gitxsan people closer...against Enbridge.

It will be Harper who unites First Nations with whites...against the Harper government and Enbridge.

I say 'that' is progress.
Thank you
Comment by Kexmonsta on 19th January 2012
Thanks you very much for such a clear non apology. I am so happy that there are normal people out there who want to protect the beautiful of BC. First Nations always was the definition of sustainability. I think that we can all learn a lot from that. Thank you again. I live in Germany and here we have had to learn how hard it is to try and restore nature's balance once it has been destroyed. The rivers here also once teamed with salmon (salmo salar). Now we are extremely happy when even a few wild salmon return. This years count for the Sieg river was about 400. Please do not let something like this happen to BC. You have my full support.
We'll stand by you!
Comment by trin7 on 17th January 2012
When it starts to get ugly, there are many who will stand with you to fight this threat to our beautiful home. Great letter, as usual. It seems that Harper and his good buddies have made up their minds even before the JRP have finished hearing all of us who have something to say - could it be that they just don't care - shocking isn't it! Tell us when & where and we'll be there! They want radical, let's not disappoint!!
Thanks for a great letter
Comment by Bryan Last on 11th January 2012
Very well-written, and I agree with Ross, should be forwarded on to major newspapers. Thanks for this.
Spread the word!
Comment by Ross Cameron on 10th January 2012
This article expresses with such eloquence the BC central and north coast position. It needs to be heard by the rest of Canada; I implore you to send it along to the major newspapers.
British Who?
Comment by Andrew Norden on 10th January 2012
British Petroleum - who are they? Was this a deliberately xenophobic spelling mistake just like Obama made?

If it was BP you were referring to in the text, then you might be surprised to learn that they intend to ship all of their tar sands oil to their refineries in the US. So it would be surprising if they were actively supporting the Northern Gateway pipeline.
Comment by Teresa Sande on 10th January 2012
Thank you for a well-written column addressing the concerns many of us share.
Thank you for your Leadership!
Comment by Carli Heinrichs on 10th January 2012
Thank you Chief Amos, we need more leaders with the mindfulness of ancestry that you display. I support you in your efforts to promote conservation of our precious land.
Comment by Paul Glassen on 9th January 2012
Thankfully someone is standing up to the bullying of the oil industry and the Conservative government.
Terrace Daily BC Environment
Comment by Carolyne on 9th January 2012
Help stop the insanity!
Thank you Gerald Amos and Terrace Daily
Comment by Holly Arntzen on 9th January 2012
You have fed my soul, Gerald Amos, with your letter. Thank you Terrace Daily for publishing it and doing us, the public, a great service. We citizens of British Columbia have a sacred responsibility to become informed and ecologically literate, and make wise decisions for the sake of future generations. You are leading by example, and I hope spokespeople and media outlets everywhere follow your lead.
Proud Canadian
Comment by Stephanie on 9th January 2012
I want to thank you for this wonderful letter. With this type of visionary leadership, we will stop this pipeline. I hope Mr. Amos is interviewed by media outlets across Canada to counteract the fear tactics being used by our federal government. Bravo!
Thank you
Comment by Karen Anderson on 9th January 2012
Thank you Gerald Amos for this. It is a powerful statement that I hope gets wide circulation. I know the joint panel review process is flawed and that many First Nations people are not participating, but I feel very strongly that this pipeline must not be built, and I am going to say so. If the time comes that the people who are most going to be affected by this project wish others to stand with them, whether it be in front of bulldozers or judges, I am sure many will stand. Please accept the offer of my presence wherever it may be needed, whenever.
Comment by Ben Lefebvre on 9th January 2012
Good one Amos, you nailed it for sure. It's high time that governments at all levels and political stripes begin the process of consulting our FN's in the most meaningful way and accept NO when that is the decision in all resource management planning.
resident of Vancouver Island
Comment by Lyn Pollard on 9th January 2012
Whereas I was once an optimistic individual whose experience dragged me onto the side of the pessimistic order, I am once again straining at the bit to bring enthusiasm back to my existence. Having found so many people with like thinking regarding the oil tankers and the pipeline, I am once again ready to do battle for the preservation of our way of life, our coastline and for the "voter" who is not being listened to!!!
Well done Gerald Amos!
That's what I call leadership
Comment by BC boy on 9th January 2012
Beautifully stated, Gerald Amos. Thank you!
Where can we find this kind of leadership at the federal and provincial levels in Canada?
Mr Harper finally apologized for the horrendous residential schools. Who will eventually apologize for the horrendous destruction he and his industry buddies are afflicting on all the people and the landscapes of Canada?
Comment by ken cunningham on 9th January 2012
Congrats Mr Amos. As a former resident of Bella Bella, home of the Heiltsuk and long time VI resident i understand a little of where you're coming from. I'm so damn proud of FN's and the people of the coast for standing up for a sustainable future.
Hay river, NWT
Isn't it Ironic? - By Apocalypse Now
Comment by Chris Gee on 9th January 2012
I like your comment but don't forget the following direct quotes.
“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 what it takes.” (Mayor Pernarowski - Nov. 8Th 2011)...or...
“what we need to look at is what is in the best interest of the community and this region and that is not going to be Enbridge pipelines.” (Mayor Pernarowski - Nov. 8Th 2011).
ordinary citizen
Comment by Helen Dickson on 8th January 2012
Just a reminder that Jim Prentice has not been the Environment Minister for over a year. Anyone writing on environment issues ought to know this fact.
How well informed is a person that doesn't?

Ed Note: Prentice resigned as the Environment Minister at the end of 2010 to be the vice-chairman of the CIBC. Peter Kent is now the Environment Minister. Even we get confused with Peter and Prentice and make similar mistakes such as calling the President of the US Osama. The Author has corrected this and clarified it was Minister Oliver he was referencing
Time is up Kitimat & Terrace
Comment by Linda Halyk on 8th January 2012
It is time Kitimat and Terrace make an announcement. Stand beside our First Nations people and say NO to Enbridge. Help us fight this evil company and our Government, this project is not of national economic interest. It is just greedy men after the almighty dollar.
Isn't it Ironic?
Comment by Apocalypse Now on 8th January 2012
During municipal elections ,very few of the people running for council were willing to say which side they supported in the Oil debate. Here we have the leader of our country and his finance minister stating unequivocally and even before the JRP has finished their mandate ,that the oil pipeline will go ahead. I am afraid the new prison they want to build at the airport will be full to capacity. Now that's foresight by our Government. Do they for see a shortage of accommodation for all the protesters? I look forward to standing by Gerald Amos when the National guard comes to arrest every one.
Time for an Environmental Petition?
Comment by R1chard Jenn1ss on 8th January 2012
Technology to clean a mess doesn't exist.
Comment by R1chard Jenn1ss on 8th January 2012

One incident or leak with a Canadian pipeline per week. No method to monitor or insure proper industry practices are taking place.

Technology to clean up polluted land is still being researched.

Can't be said any better than this.
Comment by HB on 8th January 2012
Please make sure this goes on the Kitimat Daily as well. Excellent!
Very well stated.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 8th January 2012
I would have expected no less from Gerald Amos.
Mandatory Reading
Comment by Janice Mckay on 8th January 2012
No offense to "Terrace Daily", but this article needs to be circulated nationally. Gerald Amos needs to be interviewed on the big Canadian news programs. This article says it all.

Ed Note; CTV called us and we forwarded Gerald Amos contact information directly to them. He has also advised he has sent this article to many media organizations.

And we agree with you, Thanks.
Comment by Kaaren Soby on 8th January 2012
My family and I lived with the Chppewyan people in Northern Saskatchewan for 4 years. It was one of the most valuably humanizing experiences of my life. I am forever imprinted with the intrinsic values of community, family, integration with nature,simplicity of outlook and lifestyle, ingenuity , gentleness and silence. Nobody had much money....the abundance lay in spirit, hospitality, and a natural spontaneous generosity. None of this can be bought.Destroying this through devastation of our environment will snuff out the light that allows the continuity of these intrinsic values to nourish not only ALL of us now, but future generations . All of us who are committed to protect our home planet , and right now specifically our exquisite , globally appreciated province, are the HEART and SOUL of this land. THANK YOU GEORGE AMOS FOR YOUR VIGILANCE....Kaaren Soby, Telkwa, BC
Thank You Gerald Amos
Comment by barryeng on 8th January 2012
Gerald Amos has very succintly put how a large percentage of us feel about the Enbridge pipeline, and Prime Minister Harper's obvious interference and support for this project.

By openly supporting it, even prior to the JRP Hearings, Harper has shown utter contempt for Canadians, especially British Columbians, and even more, Northern British Columbians. I expected Enbridge to pull out all stops by buying off their psycohphants like Ezra Levant and Ipso Reid, but I thought people like our elected Prime Minister should remain at least publicly neutral, until the recommendations of the Joint Review Panel were in. Obviously I thought wrong.

Thaank you for your article Gerald, and please remember that you do have a lot of support in your fight.
Thank you
Comment by Terry Walker on 8th January 2012
The leadership and integrity demonstrated in this letter are inspiring. Thank you on behalf of my children and myself for so clearly taking a stand against this insidious, unconsionable proposition.
Thank you Gerald Amos
Comment by blocky bear on 8th January 2012
for the clear and consise articulation. For those of you that don`t know; Gerald was the principal in the Kitlope River drainage being declared a conservancy. In my view this was a tremendous accomplishment and I hold him in great esteem. I am hopeful that he will remain out in front on this, the biggest threat yet to the beauty of our land. G. you have my support. What can I do to help? Don Bruce