The risk to this place posed by Enbridge's Northern Gateway project is both serious and unmanageable. I have sailed along the Great Bear's channels. Even in a calm season it is apparent, those waters are as treacherous as they are precious. It is not a question of if an accident will happen, but a question of when and how bad.
We want these bears dead. This is the message the B.C. government's "reallocation policy" sends across the country. This policy is also preventing the implementation of an innovative solution to end the commercial trophy hunting of grizzlies and other large carnivores throughout B.C.'s Great Bear Rainforest.
There is another reason why we cannot afford to take much longer to increase conservation and tighten the rules. One major logging company operating in the region is not a member of the Joint Solutions Project. Instead, TimberWest has a long history of opposing increases in conservation and undertaking extremely profit-driven logging operations in the southern-most portion of the Great Bear Rainforest with very little remaining old-growth.
The campaign to save the spirit bear is a full-fledged movement, owned not by the Youth Coalition, but by millions around the world. And having done all we can to take the issue this far, it is up to all of us, as individuals, to take on the responsibility of continuing to make sure that the spirit bear isn't just safe, but will forever be wild and free.
How can I spend time in the company of these animals, get to know them as individuals, and allow them to become at ease in my presence... knowing that the very next day trophy hunters could arrive and kill them? How can I look into the eyes of a bear and witness the intelligence and personality looking back at me, and then abandon that creature to fate? That's when I decided to join in the fight.
We are dismayed, together with our eminent Canadians for the Great Bear and thousands of others by the report of the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel (JRP) which regrettably recommends the approval of the Enbridge pipeline proposal. Everyone who depends on this ecosystem, from fishing and tourism industries to First Nations communities, would be affected. We have seen, in the case of the Exxon Valdez disaster, that the damage will be profound and long-lasting. Have we really not yet learned this hard lesson? When something is priceless, you do not let anyone place it at risk.
If Premier Christy Clark opened the door to the Enbridge Northern Gateway oil pipeline with an announcement about a deal with Alberta, then for the sake of B.C. -- and Canada -- let's make sure that door stays firmly shut. The Great Bear is a truly unique place. Recovering populations of humpbacks depend on its waters.
The Great Bear Region in B.C. is a Canadian treasure we should all embrace -- home to one of the planet's last intact coastal temperate rainforests, some of the world's most productive cold water seas, and some of its most important remaining free-flowing salmon rivers. But it is in danger from the Northern Gateway Project, and the outcome will be deadly.