After sitting for five days at the JRP hearings, many words resonated with my thoughts and feelings, from being bound to this place by family, a wish to live and die here, to the last presenter’s idea to sell quiet time to rich Albertans one day.
I am an Albertan, not rich, but paying to live here, and the quiet alone is worth the price of admission.
I lived here at the ages of three to five, and have been coming here for a third of each year for the last 33 years.
After having chosen Smithers for my retirement home, I came to live in February.
I was horrified to realize the enormity of a possible pipeline future.
I told people in Alberta I was going to a place where the NDP was elected federally and provincially.
Inconceivable in a province where the strategic voting choices were between the conservatives and the more conservatives (Wildrose).
In the fall I showed my very bright students (future engineering/and or science students at U of A), an article on the pipeline.
They too were horrified such a thing was being conceived and considered and they were moved by the movie of Ali Howard swimming the Skeena.
My parting gift to them was a copy of the video for the school library, as well as a copy of Wade Davis’s book, advocating the only choice being to stay and fight.
Every presenter at the hearings spoke with passion, intelligence and conviction.
All of my thoughts and feelings were verbalized, from hope, fear, despair, anger optimism and love.
Love for this place and country, unsure of the process, but hopeful for those not cynical.
The words of the national anthem will never mean more than in the context of that room, as standing on guard may mean rising up against the rhetoric of a government appearing to be dancing to the tune of the Chinese government instead of the Canadian people.
Regardless of the recommendations of the panel, one can hear the government rhetoric daily (conservative Alberta and federally), this pipeline will proceed, as well as changes to fisheries, coast guard, environmental assessments and changes to foreign ownership laws.
A CBC interview Saturday morning contrasted clips from a few local speakers, Peter Kent and views of groups intending on mobilizing resources in the world of Enbridge versus the environment.
One, me, for instance, can only hope