Hello Chestermere! An open letter to Leonardo DiCaprio.
Dear Leonardo: Canada is a welcoming country that is an open and tolerant society. People from all races and cultures and backgrounds have become the best in their fields in every sector in this beautiful country. We are for the most part very open to discussions on many aspects of improvements to our way of life, development of resources and our part in leaving a better world for our children.
What I find incredible is that you and some of your friends (Mark Ruffalo, Jane Fonda) have decided to use your celebrity to try to stop pipelines. While you advocate for keeping First Nations in poverty and equate chinooks with climate change, the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline has the strong support of over 130 indigenous communities. They welcome the prosperity responsible energy development brings. Strong environmental standards are of course a priority for everyone, and there is a way to find balance in these negotiations.
I would like to hear how you will help pull some of these nations out of poverty, and how you will compensate for the billions of dollars that could transform the livelihood of the First Nations peoples along the pipeline? The Coastal Gaslink has the support of all the Indigenous bands and their elected officials from Dawson Creek to Kitimat, and there has been a 40 billion dollar investment by Royal Dutch Shell. The consultations have been widespread and positive and hopefully with more consultations with the Hereditary Chiefs, these negotiations and discussions will create collaborations and partnerships with all those impacted. You and your fellow activists lack knowledge and understanding of the incredible work that has taken place between First Nations and these companies. In fact many of the Nations have invested their own dollars into this project, so what about them? What about their economic benefits? The governments here in Canada will do the work to have these complicated and beneficial conversations. Your intrusion is ill-considered, ill-informed, and short sighted. If you and your fellow activists succeed you will be responsible for greater poverty, less social programs, stalled infrastructure and sowing division and fear. That is something to be proud of I am sure.
Leela Sharon Aheer
On the Federal front, the Senate is considering amendments to Bill C-69, popularly known as the “No More Pipelines Bill” put forth by the Justin Trudeau Government. Alberta’s elected senator, Doug Black, has stated that this bill could effectively kill energy development in our oilsands. It is badly written and does not take into consideration the incredibly strong regulations that Canada already has. Future pipelines and even some already approved could effectively be stopped. Investors need regulatory certainty. They need to know that once a project has been approved they can move forward. The discretionary powers this Bill gives the Environment Minister (no friend of responsible energy development) will stop private sector investment. Even the prospect of this Bill has essentially led investors to take their capital out of Alberta. What are the Trudeau Liberals really trying to accomplish here?
I would like to thank everyone who came out to our sold-out fundraiser this weekend in decidedly chilly weather. Every musician loves to play to a packed house and it was a real joy to perform for all of you. I was truly overwhelmed with the support. Thank you to our volunteers, to the board members who were able to attend and especially to those of you who travelled many frozen, slippery kilometers to come to Chestermere. A special thank you to the Dockside Pub and their great kitchen staff. Serving dozens and dozens of perfectly cooked meals in less than an hour is a herculean feat and they pulled it off.