Prince Rupert environmental advocate Jenn Rice has put the City of Prince Rupert on alert that during the North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA) conference being held there May 11 – 13, she will be leading a peaceful demonstration in opposition to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project.
Rice works for the T. Buck Suzuki Foundation and is involved with Friends of Wild Salmon, the Prince Rupert Environmental Society and sits on the city’s Green Advisory Task Force.
Rice told Prince Rupert council she was disheartened that Enbridge is one of four platinum sponsors for the NCGLA conference, along with Kevin Brown Communications, the public relations company being used by Enbridge for promotion.
Enbridge will be hosting a breakfast coffee break and President’s Reception for the 240 delegates and partners attending the conference, Rice said.
“I know it’s normal that corporations like BC Ferries, Pacific Northern Gas and BC Hydro that are doing business in the region sponsor these events,” she said.
“But the one difference here is that Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines isn’t doing business in the north, they want to do business in the north,” Rice emphasized.
She said it was disturbing to see that Enbridge was willing to spend money on the conference, but wasn’t willing to meet the public in Prince Rupert, adding the last time Enbridge did that was in 2008.
“I actually felt really deflated and that it was an erosion of democracy and basically whoever has money talks,” she told council.
“It’s a controversial project and I haven’t come here to put you on the spot, but I’m a concerned citizen. The gallery on a riveting hockey night (game seven of the Canucks-Black Hawks series) is filled with people that support me in what I have to say and there would be more if there wasn’t a riveting hockey game on,” Rice said.
After complimenting Rice on her sincerity, mayor Jack Mussallem said, “Enbridge wants to do business in the Port of Kitimat and across the north. This project is not here yet.”
While the project may never come to Prince Rupert, he said, “At the same time we’re all committed to keeping ourselves informed and watching what Enbridge is doing.”
Mussallem noted that he is on record as telling Enbridge there are concerns from the people council represents.
“I’ve told them if the project is ever approved, there’s no need to come this way. That there’s no need to come north once you come out of Douglas Channel, to drop the pilot at Triple Island,” he said.
The whole consideration is in a process, he told Rice, and from a government body point of view, whether you are for or against, it’s better to let the process go through and then weigh the pros and cons.
The demonstration will take place May 12 while the delegates are at the conference banquet at Chances Convention Centre.
“Reasonable people with reasonable concerns are so moved that they will walk along the waterfront and demonstrate in numbers that we’re paying attention and we care. I intend it to be very respectful and have no intention of embarrassing the city,” Rice said.