Anti-pipeline event packs in crowd

A standing-room-only crowd gathered at the Island Savings Centre’s Heritage Hall Saturday morning, March 22 to hear MP Nathan Cullen urge everyone to push back against the Enbridge pipeline proposal.

"Nathan is at Ground Zero when it comes to this pipeline," said Nanaimo-Cowichan MP Jean Crowder when introducing Cullen, who is MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley.

The northwestern B.C. representative had a strong message for the huge group about shipping bitumen to China by the proposed Enbridge route.

Cullen stated that the province’s northwest coastal waters are known for some of the highest waves ever recorded, adding, "The Queen of the North sank in the area of the proposed route," which he described as "a slalom course" through a variety of obstacles.

"This area is also known as the Great Bear Rainforest and I like my kermode bears white," he said, referring to the difficulty of cleaning up a pipeline spill.

The supportive audience roared their approval when he made point after point about the undiscussed dangers of piping the fuel to and shipping it along B.C.’s sensitive coast.

He described an official pipeline hearing at which a woman’s response to the suggestion was to stand up and sing O Canada, stating it said what needed to be said and making special note of the line, "We stand on guard for thee."

A ban on singing at the hearing didn’t stop others from piping up with the anthem later, though, and eventually even the members of the panel felt they had to stand up, Cullen related.

He took strong exception to a federal minister describing as "radicals" and "enemies of Canada" any people who were against the pipeline.

"That’s offensive at a deep level. And, it has had the opposite effect to what they hoped in the northwest. We don’t like being bullied," Cullen said.

He also sounded a call to action: "In 90 days’ time, Prime Minister Stephen Harper will make the decision. We must reach out as Canadians, let the prime minister know what he might face if he goes ahead against the will of the B.C. people."