Share | | More

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

Every once and a while, something truly amazing happens that shakes your perception of reality to the core. No, I'm not talking about the Minister of Fisheries making plans to gut one of the strongest pieces of legislation we have for protecting marine habitat and biodiversity, although it would appear that something like that is still in the works.

Instead, I'm talking about something that changes your perception in a positive way. Something that says people (other than my sister, of course) actually read what we stay up to all hours of the evening to produce. Of course, I had my suspicions: Google statistics, links from other sites, nasty comments (and good ones too, of course). But definitive proof arrived this past weekend, when a colleague of ours honoured us with a Liebster Blog Award.

Before I go any further, I should point out that this is not an award that is not given out by a prestigious committee from a foreign country who judge the merits of every online journal in the blogosphere. Instead, it is awarded to a limited number of blogs by, well... other bloggers, to encourage them in the what they write.

Anyway, it was quite touching to receive this award, particularly considering who it came from. If you haven't yet read The Marine Detective's blog, I highly recommend you do. If you have even a passing interest in the sea and all the amazing things which live there, you will soon be hooked for life.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A confusing week of community hearings

After attending the first community hearing for Enbridge’s controversial Northern Gateway project last Saturday in Comox, I am inspired and optimistic. Local after local stood up to speak out for our coast, giving incredibly compelling, well researched and at times heartfelt presentations to the review panel. The panel seemed genuinely interested and receptive, and I thought to myself: how could they not turn this project down when it is so clearly not in the best interest of British Columbians?

2,200 protesters met the review panel in Comox, B.C. on March 31.

Then, the very next day, the panel canceled the first day and a half of hearings in Bella Bella after they were greeted at the airport by peaceful Heiltsuk First Nation protesters. Apparently the panelists feared for their safety in one of the most hospitable, accommodating communities on B.C.’s coast. Go figure. On the tail of the Heiltsuk hearing cancellations, the Nuxalk, another Central Coast First Nation, withdrew from the process citing the federal government’s failure to honourably consult – a valid concern considering the feds were recently warned about their “unreasonable” consultations with First Nations.

It will be interesting to see how the next few rounds of community hearings unfold. Thousands of Canadians – First Nations and non – have registered to voice their concerns about Northern Gateway to the panel. If their presentations are anything like those given in Comox, the panel will have a difficult time justifying the approval of this mega-project. Then again, they may not be the type of people who like to sleep at night.

One thing is for sure, and you can bet the panel will hear it over and over again: British Columbians will not be silent on this issue. It is our coast and our decision. Whether it’s through more peaceful protests, the community hearings or full-on First Nations court challenges, we will stop Northern Gateway and its tankers from plying our waters. It is, after all, in the best interest of Canada.

Katie Terhune is the Energy Campaign Manager for Living Oceans Society.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Desperate measures, desperate times?

Hijack seems a popular word lately getting thrown around in all sorts of contexts and conversations. Conservation groups were recently accused of hijacking the environmental review process by Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver. Oliver used the metaphor on the day before the Joint Review Panel was to begin hearings on the Northern Gateway Pipeline project because over four thousand people signed up to make oral statements.

When I hear the word hijack I think of armed and masked people storming an airplane and holding the crew and passengers hostage in a desperate attempt to get whatever it is they are after. Alerting people about a public process examining the environmental impacts of a major project with the potential for devastating effects on their waters, lands, lives and livelihoods and helping them sign up to exercise their legitimate democratic right and civil obligation to participate doesn't jump to mind for me.

Hijack means:

"to steal (cargo) from a truck or other vehicle after forcing it to stop."

"to rob a vehicle after forcing it to stop."

"to seize a vehicle by force or threat of force."