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Scheduled pipeline hearings shortened after protests in Bella Bella, including a student hunger strike


 

Part of the Northern Gateway pipeline hearings scheduled in the B.C. coastal town of Bella Bella have been cancelled after some 200 people greeted the travelling environmental review panel with protests at the local airport.

Hearings slated for Monday and Tuesday morning were put off to ensure that they could be held in a safe and secure environment. That reasoning upset Chief Marilyn Stett of the local Heitsuk First Nation. “Our people are peaceful and respectful. It’s really disheartening to the community and very disrespectful to our people,” she told Postmedia News.

When the panel arrived on Sunday, they were greeted at the airport by 200 singing and dancing protesters unhappy with the prospect of having a pipeline carry oil sands bitumen to load up tankers in the pristine channels of the Pacific Northwest. Local high school students also started a 48-hour hunger strike to mark the start of four days of scheduled hearings in the community this week.

As the CBC reports, people attending Sunday’s protest said the RCMP was there and had deemed it to be peaceful.

Hearings will reportedly start in the community on Tuesday afternoon.


 
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Scheduled pipeline hearings shortened after protests in Bella Bella, including a student hunger strike

  1. Really disheartening and disrespectful to the community? Well then, why don’t you stop protesting until you get the facts..stop trying to influence the process…the only thing disrespectful was your communities attitude towards a lawful process….

  2. Review panel members sound like those whiny Republicans who refused to come to Canada to talk when they discovered free speech here includes the right for the audience to disagree.

  3. How many of these “protesters” were local and how many were bussed in for the event? Did these people use gasoline to get to the event? Do they heat their homes and with what?
    The people that went on the 48 hour hunger strike would do everyone a favor if they extended that strike to 48 days or 48 months

    • guess you’ve never been here…you can’t come by bus, it’s on an island. With no 3 car garages, no 4000 sq. ft houses, no Hummers. Most people walked from their run-down, overcrowded homes.

  4. The National Energy Board’s Joint Review Panel members should be
    replaced. I am not Heiltsuk and do not speak for them, but I live here and I
    was at Sunday’s rally. The JRP has disgraced itself by misleading the public
    and by being disrespectful to the community here. They had to change their
    statement to say that they cancelled the first day and a half of hearings due
    to logistical rather than security concerns once they realized that they
    couldn’t get away with their attempt to spin a peaceful community rally into a
    radical, threatening event. They refused an invitation to attend the community
    feast held Sunday night. And they didn’t even apologize for the lost time once
    the hearings got underway.

    My son and husband participated in the hunger strike. It is difficult to convey
    how incredibly precious this wild coast is. We live in a place where we’ve
    watched humpback whales and swarms of sea lions feeding on schools of pilchard
    from our breakfast table, been right in the thick of salmon runs, wandered
    among the footprints of ancient village sites, traveled for days by boat among
    islands without seeing another human being, been welcomed to every feast and
    potlatch. Bella Bella is a place where every one you pass smiles and says
    hello, unfailingly. I feel terrible for the intervenors who worked for months
    to gather evidence and prepare statements, who now have to share their
    histories and knowledge before a panel that has shown itself to be dishonest
    and cowardly. Many of the scheduled intervenors are elders and youth. Imagine
    your own elderly parents or grandparents,  your own children having to go
    before such a panel, just to try to defend their home and  way of life
    from a mega-corporation hell-bent on putting your entire world at unprecedented
    risk. The Heiltsuk people are presenting themselves with honour and dignity far
    beyond what the JRP process is worth during these hearings. It is a sincere
    attempt to convince the panel members of the value of the coastal ecosystem and
    of the way of life that has evolved with it over the past 10,000 years, but I
    have to wonder whether the members have the capacity to appreciate these
    things.

    The panel members should be replaced by people who have some credibility in the
    communities they visit, and who understand something about the land and waters
    the Gateway project proposes to cross. This whole NEB process has already been
    undermined by Stephen Harper’s assertion that he does not have to abide by its
    recommendations and that some presenters don’t deserve to be heard. Now we have to question whether the appointed panel members
    are even capable of making a sound and transparent judgment.

     

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