Let the indigenous people decide the fate of Northern Gateway

Dear editor,

As many of you know, I am the person who stood up Enbridge’s new Incident Management System after the Michigan spill. I know a lot about incident management generally, and at Enbridge in particular.

Also, I am a Metis of Algonquin descent from the Ottawa Valley. Environmental management, Enbridge, and indigenous communities profoundly matter to me.

Accordingly, in light of Prime Minister Harper’s approval of the Northern Gateway project, I have a comment to make.

Rigorous construction standards and management of any pipeline is a must. The assumption that there will be failures is also a must. A standing capacity to address major issues is a must.

The only way for the Northern Gateway to be a safe pipeline is for there to be transparency, trust, cooperation and investment  among  all  stakeholders. Chief among the Gateway’s stakeholders are the indigenous people of B.C.

If the indigenous people of B.C. can be shown that the Northern Gateway pipeline is safe, economically valuable to them, and in their long-term interest, then there is sufficient evidence for me to believe the pipeline can  be built and operated safely.  Conversely, if the indigenous people say in the end, ‘no’ then there is likely not enough management transparency to build a safe pipeline.

The bottom-line for the fate of the Northern Gateway currently is – and should be – the judgment of the indigenous people of B.C.  I stand with their “nay” or their “yea”.

Eugene Parks