FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Haida Gwaii CoASt thinks JRP recommendation is shameful, but not surprising

Old-Massett-Hearings-blog-600x293HAIDA GWAII: Haida Gwaii CoASt is disappointed that the JRP approved Enbridge’s pipeline that would bring oil supertankers to Northern BC. Island communities came together to participate in the hearings and almost 200 spoke directly to the panel. Every single speaker stated his or her vehement opposition to Enbridge’s proposal for countless different reasons.

Haida Gwaii relies heavily on wild foods from the ocean and land. An oil spill puts all of that at risk and Island communities are not prepared to accept that risk. Haida Gwaii communities – both Haida and non-Haida – hold strong stewardship values. With a tradition of working together, we are committed to protecting our home from unsustainable, large-scale development projects. This was very clear at the JRP hearings – the Islands are strong and united against the Northern Gateway. Enbridge does not have social license for this project.

“The Panel’s recommendation doesn’t reflect our values. This whole project is absurd from start to finish – it’s totally destructive. We will not allow oil supertankers through our waters and we’re not backing down”, declared Gwaai Edenshaw.

“’The Haida Nation is the rightful heir to Haida Gwaii. Our culture is born of respect; and intimacy with the land and sea and the air around us. Like the forests, the roots of our people are intertwined such that the greatest troubles cannot overcome us. We owe our existence to Haida Gwaii.’ That’s from the preamble of our Constitution and that says it all,” explained April Churchill, former Vice-President of the Haida nation. “We have love and respect for Haida Gwaii, the Earth, and all of its beings. We will persevere in unity.” 

Contacts

Haida Gwaii CoASt Spokesperson, April Churchill:
250.559.2332 | aprilvictoriachurchill@gmail.com

Haida Gwaii CoASt Spokesperson, Gwaai Edenshaw:
778.828.9165 | haidaart@mac.com

Top Ten Changes to the Fisheries Act: Conservatives Open the Door to Development at the Cost of Environment, Water, Fish

This is an analysis prepared by West Coast Environmental Law and Ecojustice to summarize how the changes that the Harper government proposes will affect environmental protection in Canada.

Read the full original document at the WCEL website

Read “Why the Budget Act is bad news for fish

What Bill C-38 means for the environment

1. Changes to the Fisheries Act mean that the law may no longer protect all fish and
the waters where they live.
The new protection framework could exclude many fish and watercourses. Generally,
habitat protection will only include permanent alteration or destruction of “commercial,
recreational or aboriginal fisher(ies)” habitat and some activities will be exempt from the
law regardless of how much damage they cause. The federal government will also be
able to hand over the power to authorize destruction of fish habitat to provincial
governments or other entities, which is worrisome.

2. No maximum time limits on permits allowing impacts on species at risk.
This means that there will no longer be any guaranteed review to evaluate ongoing
impacts to endangered species. These potential ‘perpetual’ permits could continue even
where there is a drastic decline in the population of a species affected by the permitted
activity.

3. The National Energy Board (NEB) will be exempted from species at risk
protections.
The NEB will no longer have to ensure that measures have been taken to minimize
impacts on the critical habitat of at-risk species before the NEB approves a pipeline or
other major infrastructure. For example, Continue reading

A Reflection on the JRP in Haida Gwaii

Last week saw the second visit of the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel to Haida Gwaii, this time in Skidegate.  The Panel returns to the islands in June.  Here is an excerpt from the Courage to be posting on Blue Sky Haida Gwaii Blog:

We know from other such panel visitations in the past, that the quasi-judicial JRP process is an exercise in pretty raw governmental power. There are massive sets of rules and regulations, arbitrary procedures and technical requirements. Unless you are a lawyer, it’s not the most comfortable of circumstances. At face value, the purpose of the JRP is to gather evidence. But, inevitably, if you find yourself on the negative side of a proponent who is being outright supported by the federal government, it’s difficult not to see yourself forced into the position of supplicant – pleading, imploring, offering evidence and testimony in your own defence.

It’s tough to maintain a centre of dignity and integrity in a situation like that. But then, people around here have always been very good at absorbing issues of power and, always respectfully, moving forward through an entirely different axis of action. This is the history of politics on Haida Gwaii.

Read the whole entry here.

Reports Back From the Old Masset Joint Review Panel Hearings

Coverage of the inspiring words of people presented at the Old Masset hearings in February:

Some 50 people occupy the seats at this end of the gymnasium – hereditary chiefs, elected leaders, witnesses, and elders, all of them observing the events.  The remainder of the space is row seating and bleachers, where 400+ islanders also listen attentively, as speakers share their stories with the panel – how they learned to fish, to harvest seaweed, to hunt.  How these activities are essential to who they are, to their survival.  Songs and stories are shared, detailing how Haida culture has continuously evolved along with the ocean for millennia.

Excerpt from a blog posting by Mike Ambach WWF-Canada
View the WWF Blog Posting: In Haida Gwaii, BC, culture evolves with the ocean

Continue reading

JRP Hearing Dates Set for Skidegate – 28, 29 February and Old Masset – 21, 22 March (UPDATED)

The Joint Review Panel evaluating Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline project has just announced the dates for the first panel hearings in Haida Gwaii.  These hearings are for Intervenors presenting evidence.  Further hearings for Oral Participants will be announced later.

[CORRECTION: NEW DATES]

Old Masset Community Hall:  28, 29 February 2012, Starting at 9:00 am

Skidegate Community Hall:  21, 22 March 2012, Starting at 9:00 am