Douglas Channel Watch

Kitimat Votes ‘NO’ to Enbridge Northern Gateway Oil Pipeline in Local Plebiscite

Kitimat residents have voted against the Northern Gateway pipeline, with 58.4 per cent of ballots in the city’s plebiscite being cast against the project, as of around 9 p.m. Saturday. In total, 1,793 voted against the proposed project, while 1,278 or 41.6 per cent were in favour.

3,071 ballots were cast, marking a high turnout (62 per cent) in the community of roughly 4,900 eligible voters at the terminus of Enbridge’s proposed oil pipeline. Fifty-six per cent of eligible voters cast ballots in the last municipal election.

We’re celebrating with the Haisla outside in the park…and they’re surrounding the Douglas Channel Watch with thank you signs. They’re performing a drum song right now,” said Patricia Lange from Douglas Channel Watch.

It’s a really powerful moment.”

The vote, although non-binding, is an important part of the public relations battle being waged over Enbridge’s project. Enbridge brought in teams of paid corporate canvassers from out of town, placed full-page ads in northern newspapers and launched a “Vote Yes For Kitimat” website.

This vote is confirmation we are going to stand firm and say no to the influence of big oil,” Lange said.

Enbridge Employees Go Door-To-Door In Kitimat Before Vote On Northern Gateway

Duelling Enbridge billboards

Kitimat residents are fighting back as Enbridge scales up its campaign to sway the town’s plebiscite vote on the company’s Northern Gateway oil pipeline, which would see oil loaded onto 225 tankers a year at a proposed Kitimat terminal.

Having already launched an advertising blitz, Enbridge now has teams of paid canvassers knocking on doors throughout the community of 9,000 people. Door-knockers include Ray Doering, Enbridge’s manager of engineering from Calgary, Colin Kinsley, former mayor of Prince George and chair of the Enbridge-funded Northern Gateway Alliance, and other out-of-town Enbridge employees.

It’s the weirdest feeling having strangers in your town canvassing for this big company. It feels like it's none of their business,” says Patricia Lange, a volunteer with community group Douglas Channel Watch. “It feels very invasive.”

Enbridge Blitzes Northern B.C. With Ads Before Kitimat Plebiscite On Northern Gateway Oil Pipeline

Enbridge website

Enbridge Northern Gateway is covering northern B.C. with ads in the run up to the Kitimat plebiscite, urging citizens to vote in favour of the company’s proposal to ship oil across B.C. and on to Asia on oil tankers.  

During a provincial election or initiative vote, Elections BC restricts how much companies and other third-party advertisers can spend — but no such rules apply to the Kitimat plebiscite, being held on April 12.

Full-page colour ads have appeared in community newspapers in Kitimat, Prince Rupert, Terrace, Smithers, Burns Lake and Fort St. James — a town nearly 600 kilometres away from Kitimat. The estimated cost of those ads is about $8,250.

Enbridge has also launched a website, “Vote Yes for Kitimat,” urging citizens to vote in favour of their project. A conservative price tag on the website would be about $2,000, bringing Enbridge’s ad spend so far to more than $10,000 — with four weeks left until the vote.

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