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Kitimat Vote - a lesson for Sudbury

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

On Saturday, a small town in northern BC said NO.  NO to a dangerous pipeline that threatens pristine forests and rivers spanning two provinces.  NO to a project that could destroy the greatest wild salmon fishery in the world and turn our entire west coast into a wasteland.  NO to risking drinking water and lives for jobs. 
Kitimat council asked its citizens for direction and said it will abide by their decision.  An incredible 75% of eligible voters turned out.   Nearly 60% said NO.  The vote isn’t binding because the Harper Cabinet will make the final decision, but make no mistake:  this is democracy in action.  Sudbury needs to take a lesson here.
First Nations have said NO.  Other towns along the pipeline route have voted NO.  Canadians have carried signs and written letters to say NO.   If Harper goes forward, he will now be forcing it down the throats of the only BC residents who stand to gain a single permanent job from this.
Alberta will gain jobs while the oil lasts, but neither the jobs nor the oil will last forever.  The devastation will literally last forever.  Does such great risk make sense just so a valuable resource like oil can be shipped raw to Asia without even creating jobs to process it here?  What about cleanup costs and the growing disaster that is Fort McMurray?  People are sick and dying right now in northern Alberta as a direct result of the tar sands, while our governments push forward with expansion.  There comes a point when we have to ask ourselves:  whose side are they on anyway? 
Here in Sudbury, we are on “wait and see” for the chromium smelter.  Don’t be fooled into thinking this project is just another smelter.  Chromium is arguably the most dangerous, toxic substance on the planet earth.  A sugar cube sized bit of the stuff poisons enough water to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool and it will be present in the ore hauled from the mine site, and in tailings ponds.  The proposed smelter site sits alongside the Roberts Creek which flows into the Vermillion, which is our drinking water.  Chromium is scarier than oil because you can’t see it in your water but be assured it will kill you.
The Cliffs smelter puts not only Capreol in danger but everyone who drinks from the Vermillion, the French and even the Great Lakes.  That is you.
Our governments chose to have a mini, rather than a full environment review process for the chromium smelter and public participation has been made difficult.  Kitimat council used democratic process to do what representatives are supposed to do – represent their constituents.  Sudbury residents should expect no less from our council.  If this smelter goes ahead, you and I are risking our drinking water, our air and our very lives.  This chromium smelter must not be allowed to just go ahead without ensuring it is as safe as it can be.   

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Karen Bringleson (Karen Bringleson)
Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
Member since November 2013


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About the Sudbury Working Group

The Sudbury working-group of The Media Co-op was formed to create independent media in the North, to speak to our issues and outlooks on our communities as well as the world around us. Independent media provides an avenue for people who are wishing to gain critical perspective on the issues that matter most to us, and to give a voice to those people and stories that you won't find in the mainstream media.

The Sudbury working-group site is no longer being updated and has been archived.