Williams Lake locals pipe up about Enbridge pipeline plans

A small, but mighty protest against the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project took place in Williams Lake Wednesday.

A small, but mighty protest against the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project took place outside of MLA Donna Barnett’s Williams Lake office Wednesday.

Retired family counsellor Herb Nakada said he was the lone protester at the beginning, however, three other people joined him later during the day. “I was outside MLA Donna Barnett’s office at 8:30 in the morning,” he said.

While some people looked away when they passed Nakada standing on the sidewalk, those that stopped to make comments were favourable, or blew their horns. Nakada added, however, there was one passerby upset by the protest.

“I think he might have thought I was in obstruction to our economy.”

Nobody came out of Barnett’s office to acknowledge the protest or invite him in for coffee, Nakada added with a chuckle.

“For me, we’ve reached a point where we have to think about unlimited growth. If we keep going the way we are, destroying our environment and extracting resources, I don’t see how it’s sustainable,” Nakada said.

He’s more concerned about carbon emissions in the atmosphere, and from his understanding said, “we’re going backwards.”

“The global temperature is going to keep rising, even if we stop today. I could be wrong, but wonder if I can take a chance for my children and grandchildren’s future.”

Nakada’s placard stated: “Our pipedreams are our worst nightmare. The guy that was upset said I was wrong, and I told him I hope I’m wrong.”

Sixty MLA offices around the province saw protests, including Cariboo North Independent MLA Bob Simpson’s office in Quesnel.

“I was in Vancouver, but my office staff said there were about 35 people showed up. For a short notice that wasn’t a bad turn out,” Simpson said.

Afterward 12 people came inside and Simpson talked to them through a conference call. “I think this is a good signal. The 3,500 people on the lawn of the legislature on Monday and they’re estimating about 5,000 people participated in the protests at MLA offices province-wide,” he told the Tribune.

Simpson told participants he was glad they were participating in the peaceful protest.

“I don’t think the federal and provincial governments did Enbridge any favours by allowing them to go into the National Energy Board process. They had to know we don’t have the legal framework around First Nations rights and title to be able to say, yes, no or maybe. If the federal government says ‘yes’ to the pipeline, everybody knows it’s going to go to court,” Simpson said.

It doesn’t serve the investment community or companies well to pretend that it’s OK to enter a process, when the known outcome is going to be legal challenges and court challenges, he added.

“I think the federal and provincial governments and politicians involved need to sit Enbridge down and tell them there would be no super tankers in the Douglas Channel. It’s just not going to happen.”

Having some leadership in that direction, would have avoided all the acrimony and strife that’s evident now.

“And what we see now is people like Richard Neufeld and John Reynolds that are pro development stepping in and saying this is a waste of taxpayers’ money. That pipeline isn’t going to go.”

Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett met with around 20 protestors at her 100 Mile House constituency office on Wednesday.

“The protest was very peaceful and very friendly. I had my picture taken with them. I support freedom of speech and expression by all,” Barnett said, adding she stands with Premier Christy Clark on Enbridge.