Northern Gateway: bite the bullet

Dieter Wagner of the Douglas Channel Watch appeared at city council’s February 20 meeting...

Dieter Wagner of the Douglas Channel Watch appeared at city council’s February 20 meeting to castigate it for its continuing neutral position on the Northern Gateway project – it will not take a position until after the Joint Review Panel delivers its verdict.

Telling council that his group and many others could not comprehend why they did so, he added, “We are requesting you abandon it and officially oppose this project.”

Then, referring to the February 15 editorial in the Northern Sentinel, he went after councillors Edwin Empinado and Mary Murphy for having said at November’s all-candidates that they would support a referendum, but then did not support colleague Phil Germuth’s proposal to hold a survey of Kitimatians on the issue.

“Promises were made and not kept,” Wagner said.

Responding to that charge, Murphy said, “Once we become councillors, we represent the whole town, not just one particular group.”

In the same vein, what she had said at the all-candidates was her personal opinion and now she was a councillor she had to represent “every citizen in Kitimat”.

Without wishing to put words in Murphy’s mouth, her comments imply  she believes not “every citizen” wants council to take a stance of opposition.

And that perhaps even a large number actually support Northern Gateway.

Actually, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if the latter were the case.

Yes, we have fervent defenders of the environment in our community.

But we are, and always have been, an industrial town. Take industry out of the equation and Kitimat simply ceases to exist.

Given we have lost two of our three industries, it would be understandable if a significant body of opinion here aggressively supported replacing them.

I have no doubt there will be those who, having read the above, are nodding their heads in agreement.

And others who are outraged.

Who is right?

There’s a simple way to find out – hold a referendum.

Let’s get this over with rather than go through the unnecessarily protracted and divisive debate that characterised the later stages of the power sales war.

 

Malcolm Baxter