Foreign oil money the real threat to truth and nationalism at Enbridge hearings

Cullen blasts pipeline supporters for distorting facts and derailing democracy
Ottawa –
“It’s unethical. It isn’t factual. It’s not going to work,” says MP Nathan Cullen about the recent smear campaign calling opponents of the proposed Enbridge pipeline “radical.”

“These accusations are just a distraction from the issue at hand, which is the environmental risk of the proposed pipeline and the right for people to voice their concerns,” said Cullen. “We’re not going to be bullied into silence by foreign oil money.”

Days before hearings for the Joint Review Panel (JRP) for the Northern Gateway began in Kitimat last week, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver and Ethical Oil attacked environmental organizations in Canada for receiving foreign donations.

Not so, said Cullen, pointing out that fully 79% of Enbridge JRP participants are from BC, with less than 20 presenters from the US. However, of the 16 oil companies that will speak, 10 are housed in foreign countries.

“The foreign representation is clearly on the side of big oil companies,” said Cullen. “And this amounts to foreign control of our natural resources.”

He noted an April 2011 poll by Strategic Communications shows 75% of British Columbians are worried about foreign companies dumping their money into Canadian natural resources.

“I doubt Sinopec (the Chinese company that has partnered with Enbridge) really cares about the way of life of more than 40 First Nations in Skeena-Bulkley Valley,” said Cullen.

Political scientist George Hoberg of UBC’s forestry department has also addressed the threat of foreign control of natural resources.

“I think it’s absurd to focus on foreign foundation funding of Canadian environmentalists without focusing on foreign ownership of Canadian energy companies,” said Hoberg.

JRP hearings are expected to take until April 2013 due to the unprecedented number of people wishing to speak. Cullen says this participation, far from being ‘radical,’ is part of democracy.

“Throwing around labels and pressuring the panel to speed up the process amounts to bullying. And we are not going to be bullied.”