Let’s give Enbridge a judo lesson

Advance polls open in Kitimat next Wednesday, and Enbridge is doing everything it can to buy the vote. Our friends on the ground in the B.C. town of 9,000 say Enbridge has them under siege. The company is pouring unlimited money into ads and even flying salespeople in from Calgary to go door-to-door telling people to vote “yes” to an oil tanker terminal in their community.

That kind of spending would be illegal in a provincial referendum. But saying so doesn’t change Enbridge’s budget – after all, it comes from China’s giant state-owned oil companies. Good luck trying to outcompete them in the ad war. Instead, we have to find ways to use Enbridge’s power and money against them.

Remember David and Goliath? David won, but not because he walked down to the battlefield to brawl on Goliath’s terms. He took the high ground, used a handmade weapon, and slew a giant using his wits (and a superior knowledge of ballistics).

The same principle applies in judo and other Japanese martial arts. Use your adversary’s strength against them. Blend, don’t clash. Otherwise you get run over, which is painful and demoralizing. The fact is, little people have been winning battles against far stronger attackers for millennia. We need to tap into those lessons right now.

I was speaking with some organizers in Kitimat yesterday: Kathy, Murray, Margaret, Cheryl, Patricia and Greg. They’re going flat out, trying to compete with Enbridge’s paid canvassers house by house, sign by sign. You know what they’re asking for? A homemade ad campaign from you.

After all, you have a lot of things Enbridge doesn’t have – humour, authenticity, and online social networks full of actual friends. We may not have tons of money, but as a movement and as a province, we have creativity in spades.

Whether you decide to use video, drawings, music, poetry or your best radio voice, you can use social media to send voters in Kitimat a message of encouragement. This is your chance to skewer Enbridge on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. We’re calling it #AdsForKitimat.

The trick is to make Enbridge’s campaign look cynical, heavy-handed and desperate – which it is. Why do they want to buy this plebiscite vote so badly? Because they’re grasping for any shred of legitimacy they can. People in Kitimat are getting tired of the relentless barrage. It’s time to flip Enbridge’s huge budget against them, so their ads blitz will just remind people to vote the other way.

A couple of us came up with a quick video at the office after work. I’m warning you, it’s pretty stupid. You can probably do better. But the group in Kitimat liked it. They said right now it just feels good to laugh. Now we need to take that feeling and multiply it!

You might decide to go in a completely different direction. Whatever you decide to post, please include the hashtag #AdsForKitimat so things are easy to find online. You can also share a link to what you make in the comments on this post. Check out more details about the plebiscite on this municipal website.

Advance polls open next Wednesday, April 2. Please make some time this weekend to flex your creative muscles – and boost the spirits of people in Kitimat who are seeing Enbridge’s ads every day. If we work together, we can give Enbridge a lesson in judo they won’t forget.

Finally, there’s another way you can help: a local volunteer group called Douglas Channel Watch is leading the fight in Kitimat, painting No Tankers signs and handing out leaflets to neighbours door to door. Dogwood has never asked readers to give to another organization before, but a few dollars from enough of you could create a tipping point in this critical campaign.

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