Northern Gateway: Enbridge Accused Of Misleading Public With Video That Shows Smooth Sailing In Douglas Channel

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Environmentalists are crying foul after the company campaigning to build the Northern gateway pipeline released a video that apparently shows a much safer route for tankers through British Columbia’s waters than the one that actually exists. (Video screencap)
Environmentalists are crying foul after the company campaigning to build the Northern gateway pipeline released a video that apparently shows a much safer route for tankers through British Columbia’s waters than the one that actually exists. (Video screencap)

Update: Sunday, Aug. 19: A dazzling new video by a B.C. non-profit group fires back at the erroneous Enbridge animation.

Update: Friday, Aug. 17: A Vancouver Island woman has filed formal complaints with two federal groups, calling the Enbridge ad "false" and "misleading."

Environmentalists are crying foul after the company campaigning to build the Northern gateway pipeline released a video that apparently shows a much safer route for tankers through British Columbia’s waters than the one that actually exists.

Advocacy groups Sum Of Us and Leadnow.ca have launched a campaign to pressure Enbridge to remove a promotional video that shows open waters in British Columbia’s Douglas Channel. The proposed Northern Gateway pipeline would run to Kitimat, B.C., and tankers carrying oil overseas would have to navigate what the campaign describes as “the fourth most dangerous waterway in the world.”

The missing islands were first noticed by graphic designer Lori Waters, who posted images on her Facebook page showing the discrepancy. About 1,000 square kilometres of island appear to be missing.

I viewed the video, and as soon as I saw it, it just seemed absolutely wrong to me,” Waters told Metro Vancouver. “It seemed to have been designed to purposefully mislead the public, which is unconscionable for a project with this level of associated risk.”

enbridge northern gateway video

Enbridge spokesman Todd Nogier told the Victoria Times-Colonist that the video “is meant to be for illustrative purposes only. It's not meant to be to scale. It's meant to illustrate the pipeline route, not the marine aspects of the operation."

Enbridge has been under increasing political pressure following a series of recent oil spills and a damning U.S. report about a spill on the company’s pipeline in Michigan, in which U.S. officials described Enbridge’s response as worthy of the “keystone kops.”

The bad publicity has led to an apparent softening in support for the Northern Gateway among British Columbians. In a sign of the public mood in B.C., Heritage Minister James Moore -- who represents the B.C. riding of Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam -- recently had harsh words for Enbridge. And Even Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been softening his tone on supporting the pipeline.

Nonetheless, the federal government recently announced a more streamlined review process for pipeline approval, in the hopes of cutting down the amount of time it takes to get a pipeline into development. And the government also set a firm deadline for when the Northern Gateway review must be completed -- December 13, 2013.

If the pipeline gets the go-ahead, 500 oil tankers will make their way through the Douglas Channel islands annually, “making sharp, 90-degree turns through twisting, rocky passages,” the Sum Of Us/Leadnow campaign argues.

An earlier version of this story identified the MP for Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam as Jason Kenney. James Moore is the MP for that riding; Jason Kenney represents Calgary Southeast. We apologize for the error.

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