Media Flooded with Anti-TMX letters

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There’s a lot more to the TMX story than what mainstream media is reporting. Across the country, people are incensed that government is proceeding with construction the TMX pipeline while Indigenous legal challenges are still before the courts. Exercising constitutional rights and stopping the pipeline just one year ago was a huge achievement led by Indigenous Nations: this story is not being told in most media outlets. The Pull Together community decided to get the message out the TMX is far from a ‘done deal’: the project faces stiff resistance from an organized force who have already raised $110k for legal challenges.

Within the past week, local media has been flooded with anti-TMX letters. 

In a powerful letter published in the Nanaimo Bulletin, Lex Dunn wrote: “And most important of all, if we are going to even pretend to have a shred of honour left, regardless of how one feels about fossil fuels and pumping bitumen to the coast, there is a far greater human rights issue at stake here. We absolutely must stop violating treaty rights of our Indigenous peoples. We have ignored their rights, treaties and sovereignty of unceded land repeatedly for far, far too long. It’s really time to demonstrate our respect and the rule of law.”

Vicki Wotton of Abbotsford wrote to BC Local News, “I am appalled that Trans Mountain Pipeline persists in its determination to run a pipeline through British Columbia.” 

David Huntley wrote in Burnaby Now, about the “fairness” double standard of the NEB and public interest. “When the National Energy Board resumed its hearings into the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, it suggested that it would only consider “changed circumstances” for rehearing. I asked it to consider also “new relevant information” not previously presented to the NEB. My request has been denied for two reasons – one being that all information should have been presented to it previously. The second reason given was that it would be “unfair.” Huntley then asked, “What about the Canadian public? Is it not entitled to fair treatment? Shouldn’t the NEB make decisions in the best interest of Canadian people, using all the best information available?”

Kurtis Ehlert from Aldergrove wrote to the Aldergrove Star about the economic fallacy of the project: “The Trans Mountain pipeline is a financial burden for taxpayers and needs to be cancelled. Not only is it a disaster for the climate, the Coast, and Indigenous rights, but it’s fast becoming a government boondoggle of epic proportions…A new report released by Stand.earth shows that beyond the $4.5 billion purchase price, costs are piling up as delays mount.”

Are you inspired by these incredible folks making their voices heard and taking action to stop the Trans Mountain Expansion project? You too can write a Letter to the Editor. Here are some helpful ways to get started:

Points You Can Make

  • Canada is in a conflict of interest. As the owner of the pipeline expansion project, Canada also acted as the regulatory agency —  that means it entered into consultation with a biased perspective, so much so that the outcome of Indigenous consultation was pre-determined. 
  • This pipeline is illegal: construction beginning this week is over First Nations’ objections, violating their Constitutional rights and the  UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to which Canada is a signatory.
  • The TMX project is far from a done deal. There is a groundswell of support for Indigenous Nations who are in court to oppose the project: citizens have raised $110k in just over a month to support a new round of legal challenges. 

Important Context:

  • According to Eugene Kung, staff lawyer at West Coast Environmental Law, “The government’s one-size-fits-all approach to consultation undermines the requirement to engage with each Nation’s specific and focused interests and concerns individually, in a manner that takes into account historical context and cumulative effects. Together, the legal challenges and arguments raised by Indigenous applicants amount to significant risk that Trans Mountain’s recent approvals will once again be quashed. They suggest that Canada was once again aiming for the floor on consultation, and raise questions about whether the government was simply looking to tick the appropriate boxes before arriving at its predetermined outcome.” https://www.wcel.org/blog/trans-mountain-and-honour-crown-indigenous-legal-challenges-round-two
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada estimated the additional oil produced and processed by Trans Mountain would release 13 to 15 million more tonnes of carbon dioxide every year — and that’s just the upstream emissions, not counting the actual end use. But climate impacts were not considered by the National Energy Board’s review, which approved the pipeline.
  • Twinning the pipeline would increase tanker traffic in and out of Burrard Inlet sevenfold, and on their way to the ocean tankers have to pass through the Juan de Fuca Strait, home to a critically endangered population of 76 southern resident killer whales. Ship noise has been blamed for some of their decline because it impedes their ability to use sound for hunting.
  • TMX’s re-approval, scientists say, could seal the fate of the whales. But it has already shaped municipal, provincial and federal politics, pitted two of Canada’s most populous provinces against one another and stretched the seams of federalism for a decade.

When writing a letter, remember to:

  1. Keep it short! Your letter to the editor should be no more than 250 words- make sure that you focus 
  2. Be to the point. Similar to the point above, because you have so few words, make sure that you focus in on one point. 
  3. Be gentle. Try not to attack or insult the author of the article. Instead, present an alternate opinion of theory in a clear way.
  4. Finish big! Close with the thought you’d like readers to remember, and consider the message that you want your readers to take away. 
  5. Be sure to include your contact information! Include your name, phone number, and email address where the editor can reach you. If your letter is published, it will probably also include your name and city. 
  6. E-mail your letter in the body of the email. Don’t send your letter as an attachment! Also put “Letters to the Editor re: article name” in the subject line. 
  7. Follow the Newspaper’s Guidelines. Remember that many Newspapers will have specific guidelines to follow to send in your letter, so make sure to check their website for these!

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