‘We are rooted in the landscape,’ says Northern Gateway pipeline critic

When Jessie Housty thinks about the possibility of oil tankers off the north coast of B.C., she fears the destruction of her way of life.

Housty, an elected member of the Heiltsuk First Nation tribal council, will discuss the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline at the University of Victoria Friday at 7 p.m.

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“We have a unique perspective on the coast because we are an incredibly place-based people,” said Housty, who features in the film Groundswell. The documentary will be screened prior to the panel discussion as part of the university’s IdeaFest.

“We are rooted in the landscape. It’s a matter of our identity, and it goes back 10,000 years.”

The Northern Gateway pipeline would carry oil from Alberta to Kitimat, where it would be loaded onto tankers.

Groundswell, which uses surfing to show the coast around Bella Bella and the Great Bear Rainforest, looks at issues around the proposed pipeline and the tanker traffic it would bring to B.C. waters. It was produced by Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Patagonia and Woodshed Films.

The film shows a growing movement against the pipeline, said Chris Darimont, UVic assistant geography professor and Hakai-Raincoast Conservation Scholar.

“It beautifully and profoundly captures the spirit of this unspoiled coast and the passion of the Heiltsuk First Nation people who are committed to protecting their lands and oceans.”

Documentary and discussion

What: Groundswell film and panel talk

When: 7 to 9 p.m. Friday

Where: Room B105, Harry Hickman Building, University of Victoria

On the web: uvic.ca/ideafest

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