Dawson student presents to joint review panel

  • Mar. 21, 2012 4:00 p.m.

Jesse Condrotte, a grade 8 student at GM Dawson, gave the following testimony to the Joint Review Panel on the Enbridge project in Old Massett on Feb. 29.Us as the people have been provided a chance to speak to this board, and I hope you listen and I hope you listen well. According to the declaration of human rights, us as human beings are allowed life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and is it not obvious that the greatest joy among us who live on Haida Gwaii is fishing and hunting and all the other things that bring us together as a people? And according to the declaration of human rights, are we not all equal before the law? If we try to open a lawsuit over spilled oil that Enbridge refuses to clean up, will they be prosecuted fairly, or will it even matter because of the big-league lawyers that understand nothing but capitalism? Furthermore, we must be granted the right to a standard of living adequate for health and wellbeing, and if the proposed supertanker goes through, simply being there could affect us greatly, much less if it spills, the landscape of this sensitive island would go through some less than positive changes, ultimately most likely resulting in the extinction of 15 rare species of stickleback fish, a type of sea otter with very rich fur that lives particularly near this island, and maybe even the Haida Gwaii black bear, a subspecies larger than any other black bear. Of the more than 150 islands that form Haida Gwaii, most are in great danger from this pipeline.Additionally, if the pipeline endangers all the fish, where are they going to go? All the fish from Alaska, most of which were directly affected by the Exxon Valdez oil spill, have not recovered, even many generations later they stay away from that place like it’s toxin, and do you know why? Because it is! Last year a town called Mountain Lake Park made their own bill of rights, which banned the extraction of oil due to the fact that it threatens health, safety, and welfare of its residents. And what’s not to say we pass our own bill of rights/freedom to protect indigenous land? Then again in Spokane, they voted on banning the passing and extracting of crude oil through a bill of rights, saying how they determine their own future, and that they have the right to a healthy Spokane River, just as we should have the right to a healthy Masset Inlet and TIell River. The fourth and last bill states that corporate powers, lest they otherwise get the OK, are not allowed to violate the rights secured by the bill passed and will not even be deemed ‘persons’ or carry any legal rights if any of the bills are broken. If this goes through and Enbridge decides to not play by the rules, which history shows they will, they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Not only that, but should New [Old] Masset pass their own bill of rights, we could pass a proposition that all spills will be pinned on the company that owns the ship and will thusly be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, not as a citizen, nor will they possess any other legal rights, privileges, or powers that could interfere with the enforcement of rights enforced by said bill.For generations, the indigenous people have lived off the very fish that live and thrive just measly kilometres off of our very doorstep, as have the animals, and if Enbridge kills off the fish, no, when Enbridge kills off the fish, by the UN standards, they will be committing genocide, as in killing a culture based so deeply off the nature around them. The UN definition for genocide shows the following: causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; which you would no doubt be doing, and once all the fish die, large pieces of culture will be blurred and stories, crafts, and techniques will have no way of being passed down. And again the Declaration of Human Rights mentions how all people have access to necessary social services, such as fishing, swimming, and cultural aspects of the Haida which will be put in huge danger by this project. And before you can mention how you promise nothing is going to happen, look at the track record, 804 spills in 11 years and 1,680,000 gallons, and that’s only what’s recorded. Who’s to say that there were large spills, up to 1,000 gallons, that went undocumented because some workers were afraid of losing their jobs over a potential crisis. And even if, God forbid, Enbridge’s pipeline does go through, it would take up to but not limited to 20 years for them to get their money back from the Asian market after building expenses, workers fees, and maybe even lawsuits.If all this goes through, it is estimated to make 4,530 temporary jobs and about 500 permanent jobs, but after something goes wrong, many fishermen, gatherers, hunters, and other culturally significant careers will be put to a halt and then where will all the rich big company men get their precious salmon and halibut? They’ll all be dead, and it will be their fault! And again another rule of the declaration of human rights you will be breaking; everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. However, for fishermen and hunters, after the inevitable oil spill happens, they will be out of a job with no chance for any sort of redemption, and it will not be their fault in the slightest. For years, the Haida have lived off the very land you hope to defile with crude oil and heavy bitumen that will never wash out, and all you have to say for yourself is “it’s life” but what you’re not looking at is that it is life, but it’s a life that your greedy corporate hands will single-handedly choke and gag until all the air and life is gone from this great culture.

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