Letter in Nelson sparks debate about pipeline opposition

Cameron Orr addresses a letter printed in the Nelson Star from a Kitimatian.

A letter in one of our sister papers, the Nelson Star, about the Kootenay to Kitimat caravan has been stirring up all sorts of trouble among the online crowd.

The letter, signed Austin Byrne from Kitimat, makes the argument that, in short, the “Geezers” from the caravan (a term they gave themselves, so you know) should mind their own community and not meddle in our northern town.

I’ve unsuccessfully tried reaching Byrne to see if I could run the letter here in full but in what could be described as “same difference” I’ll at least address the letter in this column.

So, at the very least, Bryne does make an interesting point — via his colourful way with words — that he doesn’t believe people who are in areas not directly affected by the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines proposal should get involved in campaigning against the project.

“…it is incumbent upon municipal governments far removed from the affected areas of concern to stay out of others’ business. Look after your own shop before venturing out and denying economic prosperity to others,” he wrote.

The caravan isn’t the first and probably not the last group to come to Kitimat from out of area, chasing after the pipeline. It’s a fair comment, I’d say, for him to suggest that if it’s not your backyard to stay out of it.

“They should have stayed home and knit or whatever they do for a past time,” he continued.

Of course the other side of the coin is that the pipeline is part of the national debate. The Haisla’s elected chief councillor Ellis Ross has said to me before, while speaking about the proposed oil refinery for the area, that Canada as a whole needs an energy policy.

A pipeline is definitely an answer to that national debate — whether or not it’s a correct answer is up to the individual. (Well, yes, that and the Joint Review Panel.)

If the comments to Byrne’s letter on the Star’s website are to be the gauge of public opinion, he doesn’t have a whole heck of a lot of support on his points of view. But people are definitely talking about the issue.

If our readers here have something to add about Bryne’s letter or have a comment about the pipeline, the Sentinel always gives priority to letters to the editor for page 5, just to your right.

Cameron Orr is the editor of the Northern Sentinel.