About 14 years ago, Simon Jackson - then age 13, founded the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition, in a fight to save the rare Kermode Bear (a genetically unique, double-recessive, light-color phase of the Black Bear). The bear was under attack by the threat of logging in its principal territory on Princess Royal Island, off the BC coast. Kermode's can also be found in The Great Bear Rainforest, including areas between Kitimat and Terrace, BC.
Today, the "Spirit Bear", along with typical Black Bears and Grizzly Bears, are under siege from a new threat. With recent rulings, delaying a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline (which would send tar sands oil from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast), the Canadian government has turned attention to Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway pipeline. This pipeline would ship tar sands oil from Alberta to Kitimat, BC. The intent of the government would be to sell this oil to Asian markets (specifically, China).
First Nations people and environmental groups, including the David Suzuki Foundation, the Sierra Club of Canada and others vigorously oppose this pipeline. Enbridge has been responsible for no fewer than 800 oil spills from 1999 to 2010. Should an oil spill occur in the Great Bear Rainforest, the results could be devastating for the local bear population, as well as the general ecosystem.
The Canadian government will say that this project's main objective is job creation. However, the fact that the government is apparently willing to ignore Enbridge's past track record and reluctance to be more aggressive in finding alternative energy sources is nothing short of contemptible.
Unfortunately, this proposed pipeline is just the latest in a regressive trend by the Conservative government, concerning the fight against climate change. When Conservatives took power in 2006, they immediately denounced the Kyoto protocol targets as unrealistic and unattainable. More recently, they have cut funding to agencies responsible for environmental accountability: Canadian Environmental Network, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, etc. Finally in the fall of 2011, the government declared that Canada would withdraw from the Kyoto protocol, undermining hopes for a new global climate agreement to be reached by 2015.
I ask you to please sign this online petition to say NO to the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and to say YES to developing sustainable energy sources, creating Green jobs and to invest more in efficient public transit in Canada.
While some government ministers might choose to label criticism of their environmental and energy policies as "Canada bashing", what you are doing is exercising your democratic right to voice your displeasure at the government's current course of action. It DOES NOT mean you love Canada any less. In fact, it reaffirms your love for Canada and its natural beauty.
I would also ask you to invite your family and friends to sign this petition. Feel free to write your local MPs or MLAs regarding the issue of the Northern Gateway pipeline. The future is in our hands. It's up to us to take control of it. Thank you.