The ocean --
A limitless pool of life.
A playground for the tiny and
giant things that live within it.
And a gateway to the other side.
The ocean should remain an ocean.
Those words were not written by Paul Watson or David Suzuki. They do not appear on the website for the Living Oceans Society.
The key word is "gateway."
Those beautiful lines greeted Prince George Citizen readers on page 8 of their Monday morning paper, courtesy of Northern Gateway Pipelines.
The two-thirds-of-a-page full-colour ad went on to explain how Northern Gateway will have certified mariners behind the wheel for the tankers leaving from Kitimat through the Douglas Channel to Asia with boatloads of bitumen.
The ad is part of a new marketing blitz Northern Gateway is rolling out this fall about the "better pipeline" it plans to build through B.C. to link the Pacific to the Alberta oil sands.
Northern Gateway plans to stay with what the public relations gurus call "top of mind" this fall, as the Joint Review Panel puts its final report and recommendations together for the federal cabinet, due at the end of the year
The message is simple - this "better pipeline" and Northern Gateway are good for B.C., good for Canada, good for the economy, good for the environment , good for all the communities the pipeline will pass through and here's why.
It begs the question of what is a better pipeline? Better than what?
Well definitely better than that pipeline through southern Michigan that spilled more than three million litres of oil into the Kalamazoo River system in one day in July 2010. More than three years later and Enbridge, the parent company of Northern Gateway, is still answering for that one. In fact, this ad campaign is part of the Kalamazoo hangover. While the environmentalists and many First Nations would still be opposed to the project, it's unlikely so many B.C. residents, starting with Premier Christy Clark, would have such deep reservations if Kalamazoo hadn't happened.
Speaking of Enbridge, there's no sign of the parent company. The logo used to have Enbridge sitting right on top of Northern Gateway Pipelines. Not anymore.
Remember former Prince George mayor Colin Kinsley and the Northern Gateway Alliance? That's yesterday's news.
Remember John Carruthers, the president of Northern Gateway? He's still the president but he's certainly not the face of the pipeline.
That distinction belongs to his boss, Janet Holder, who is the "senior leader" of the Northern Gateway Pipeline project. With the E-word stricken from the record, there's no mention of Holder's formal title, which is executive vice president of western access for Enbridge.
If Enbridge could do it all over again, Holder should have been out in front on Northern Gateway from day one. Born and raised in Prince George, she's a local success story and a woman who has risen to the top of a Canadian industry that remains dominated by men. She's smart, articulate, soft-spoken and engaging. Listen to her talk for 10 minutes about the pipeline and you'll be asking her if you could move your hot tub and the kids' swingset so she could build it through your backyard.
Enbridge's response to the conditions in B.C. at the outset of Northern Gateway was as tardy as its response to the Kalamazoo spill. Once fully engaged, however, Enbridge poured more than half a billion dollars into southern Michigan to deal with its mess, sending thousands of workers to aid in the cleanup and buying more than 125 properties from riverfront owners. Enbridge was far too slow in its engagement in B.C.,too, and its message was ridiculous ("trust us") but now the company appears to be putting the right people up front and getting the right message out, with facts in support of its message. That new website, gatewayfacts.ca, launched in support of the campaign is great but it would have been even better two years ago.
Holder has a tough job ahead of her if she's going to turn the tide of opposition against the proposed pipeline but it's a promising sign that Enbridge has finally stepped back and put her front and centre.