It was a battle between David and Goliath. Sure enough, David won.
For weeks, a small troop of local volunteers from Douglas Channel Watch were knocking on doors and asking neighbours about their hopes and dreams for Kitimat. The group had $200 in the bank – just enough for some leaflets and handmade signs.
Meanwhile, jets were flying in Enbridge executives from Calgary. As the company’s paid canvassers fanned out across town, a relentless barrage of slick advertisements commanded residents to vote “YES” to a crude oil export terminal on their doorstep. With no campaign spending limits, Enbridge went all in.
People across the province started to notice. Douglas Channel Watch began receiving donations online. Friends in other communities crafted messages of support – some heartfelt, some humorous – and posted them online. Then the mayor was flashmobbed by people in “No Enbridge” t-shirts at a Haisla girls’ basketball game.
Enbridge executives found themselves grilled by residents at public meetings. Journalists began popping up in town. The donations started pouring in while the volunteers kept knocking on doors.
In the end, the people in B.C. with the most to gain from Northern Gateway said “no thanks”. The trade-offs, they decided, weren’t worth a few jobs loading bitumen onto tankers.
This is a turning point.
For years, Enbridge has spent untold millions trying to buy “social license” from British Columbians. That effort has backfired. When people are actually given a chance to vote on this project, the response is clear.
Now it’s time to do the same thing on a larger scale. What do you think would happen if you got to vote on this project, too?
Thanks to B.C.’s unique direct democracy laws, you can. We don’t have to wait for permission from the government. If we get organized, we can assert our basic democratic right to make a decision together on a proposal that would affect us all.
Maybe you think this pipeline is a good idea. That’s okay. In a democracy it’s healthy to hear from people with a variety of perspectives. We debate. We campaign. And then we vote.
Three appointed panellists travelling around pretending to listen to people? That’s not democracy.
Prime Minister Harper pointing at a map and saying “put it there”? That’s not democracy either.
Northern Gateway cannot and will not be built without permission from First Nations and voters in British Columbia. That goes beyond a plebiscite in Kitimat. We have a right to make this decision as a province.
That’s why Dogwood Initiative has launched a new site called LetBCvote.ca.
If you want to vote on projects like Enbridge’s Northern Gateway, please take the first step and sign up: