Opinion: British Columbians know better
BY ART STERRITT, SPECIAL TO THE SUNSEPTEMBER 30, 2013 6:01 PM
Art Sterritt, executive director of Coastal First Nations, is seen aboard the ship the Tsimshian Storm near Prince Rupert, B.C. Tuesday, December, 11, 2012.
Photograph by: Jonathan Hayward, THE CANADIAN PRESSEnbridge has had another leak, although this time it's not oil, it's an ad campaign titled, "Open to better."
We received a leaked copy of Enbridge's next ad campaign to sell the Northern Gateway pipeline to British Columbians, and it's just as slick as the oilsands oil Enbridge would like to transport on tankers in B.C.'s coastal waters.
The Coastal First Nations have produced our own, much more low-budget television ad, which focuses on the facts: A major oil spill could cost Canadian taxpayers $21.4 billion and result in job losses totalling 4,379 person-years of employment. We also point out that 80 per cent of British Columbians oppose oil tankers in B.C.'s coastal waters.
It was interesting to see how the Toronto "professionals" make Enbridge's ads.
For starters, the company has removed all mention of itself from its advertising, instead inserting Executive Vice President Janet Holder as the new face of the pipeline. Ms. Holder grew up in Prince George, but until two years ago, was a Toronto-based Enbridge executive.
The first slide in the Enbridge ad presentation is about the "tone of voice" for the ads, where the goal is to have the viewer think of Enbridge as a person, not a corporation.
From what we've seen, British Columbians can expect a whole bunch of touchy-feely pipeline advertising in the weeks and months ahead. Oh, and you better like the word "better." In the script for one television ad, it appears 14 times, including this gem: "Building a pipeline can make us better."
In another ad, titled, "Janet and the Orca" the oil company executive is compared to a killer whale: "This is an orca. This is Janet. They both live in British Columbia ..." And that's where the similarity ends. We'll spare you the rest of the ad, because you'll likely see it hundreds of times this Fall, but needless to say, for Coastal First Nations, some of whom are members of the Killer Whale clan, this ad goes too far.
As a counterpoint, we have produced our own version of "Janet and the Orca," titled, "Koda and the Orca." It's about a five-year old girl from the Gitga'at First Nation who actually has a relationship with whales and the other animals in the Great Bear Rainforest. Enbridge's plan would bring hundreds of oil tankers through our narrow coastal waters every year, putting Koda and her family - as well as the whales - at risk of a major oil spill.
We are told in a final ad, that Janet Holder loves British Columbia and will "do anything to protect the place she loves." Except, it would appear, call off the pipeline and oil tankers project that would put us all at risk.
Janet needs to tell her bosses in Calgary what we all already know: The Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline is dead. 80 per cent of British Columbians are opposed to oil tankers in our coastal waters, and no amount of slick advertising is going to convince us otherwise.
Open to better? British Columbians know better, better, better, better .
Art Sterritt is the Executive Director of the Coastal First Nations.
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