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Activists in British Columbia have responded to the National Energy Board’s approval of the Northern Gateway oil pipeline with threats of illegal activism reminiscent of the 1990s. Greenpeace spokesman Mike Hudema, for example, said his group will “do what it takes” to ensure the pipeline is never built (and he specifically mentioned civil disobedience).
Given the nature of the NEB’s process, such civil disobedience would be inappropriate, and detrimental to society. It would overturn the assumption that people are free to engage in lawful commerce if they obey the rules, without an endless process of protests, lawsuits, and smear campaigns.
Others, however, disagree. One Vancouver writer has argued that potential civil disobedience against the oil pipeline is akin to historical protests in favour of female suffrage, slavery, indentured servitude, and against clear-cutting forests.
Civil disobedience has an honourable history; the question is whether a particular group on a particular matter is justified in such actions. Such steps are, after all, violations of the law, whether property rights, trespassing, and so on.
Where people’s rights are systematically violated, where they are denied recourse to the courts, or to their elected representatives, the case for civil disobedience is clear.
But the Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal does not represent such a violation, and there has already been a rather extensive process of discussion and consultation.
The consultation and regulatory process conducted by the National Energy Board spanned four years, cost some $500 million, involved 180 days of hearings, worked through 9,400 submitted letters and took oral testimony from nearly 1,200 people. That process may not have been perfect but even perfection would not have satisfied those opposing the pipeline: their opposition is absolute. They are not interested in whether Northern Gateway is safe or not, or economically helpful to Canada; they oppose it, period.
Threatened civil disobedience over Northern Gateway rather trivializes the idea of civil disobedience. Another pipeline is hardly an existential threat to Canada’s (or B.C.’s) environment, much less anyone’s civil rights. Already, 825,000 kilometers of pipelines criss-cross Canada, with about 40,000 km in British Columbia (as of 2011). Another 1,200 km is hardly earth-shattering.
Then there is another other argument made by some activists: that civil disobedience in the early 1990s against the forest industry did not collapse B.C.’s economy the last time environmental activists upped the ante, so neither will it this time. But economies need not collapse to harm some people and kill off opportunities for others.
Consider one example. The 1990s-era decision to ban mining in the Tatshenshini-Alsek region of northern B.C. — the Windy Craggy deposit, a claim owned by Geddes Resources. The mine potential (in 1992 estimates) of $15 billion in copper, silver and gold extraction was at stake, with 500 direct jobs then valued at $78,000 each annually, along with another 1,500 indirect jobs.
Rather than accept a mine proposal that amounted to 1,100 square km out of 958,000 square km in total — barely more than one-tenth of one per cent of the Tatshenshini-Alsek region — a 1993 decision by the provincial government killed off the potential mine. Tourism jobs could have co-existed with mining jobs in the Tatshenshini; instead, the current tourism potential in a remote corner of the province has not and never will match the high-paying jobs of the long-scuttled $15 billion mine ($22 billion in current dollars).
This absolutist positioning is an ongoing problem in Canada. In his 2000 book on the conflict in B.C.’s forests in the 1990s, then-UBC Professor William Stanbury noted the vandalism, sabotage, ignored court injunctions, and international boycott campaigns organized by some green activists. As Stanbury wrote, “one of the more disturbing issues raised in the course of this study is that there appears to be declining respect for rationality in making major public decisions in B.C. relating to environmental issues.”
Indeed. And we see a replay of the irrational, absolutist problem now with violent protests over pipelines and violent protests over hydraulic fracturing. We will probably see more such protests should Northern Gateway receive federal approval.
Threatened protests over Northern Gateway are not your grandmother’s civil disobedience where great injustices were challenged by brave people willing to suffer jail, violence, and more to right those wrongs that afflicted the daily lives of millions.
The current and predicted protests are, instead, the reflex action of absolutists who would destroy opportunities for others regardless of how one of the world’s better-functioning democracies allows for companies to engage in lawful commerce. There is nothing noble about such “resistance.” It instead has the distinct whiff of unnecessarily severe Puritans in more modern, green attire.
This blog was co-written by Kenneth P. Green, Senior Director, Natural Resource Studies at the Fraser Institute.
» Soros Activists Take Over Ukrainian Government Buildings Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!
Early Monday members of Spilna Sprava took over the Justice Ministry in Kiev and demanded President Viktor Yanukovych resign. They smashed windows and erected barricades. In response, the government has threatened to impose a state of emergency.
Soros and EU activists leave Ukrainian Justice Ministry.
Justice Minister Olena Lukash said negotiations between the protesters and the government should be discontinued if Spilna Sprava activists do not leave the ministry and other government buildings. “I will be forced to ask the president of Ukraine to stop the talks if the building is not freed immediately and negotiators are not given a chance to find a peaceful solution to the conflict,” Lukash told Ukraine’s Inter channel. Lukash said she would also demand Ukraine’s national security council “discuss imposing a state of emergency in this country.”
Following the action at the Justice Ministry, Spilna Sprava announced on its Facebook page it had decided to blockade the building instead of occupying it following Justice Minister Olena Lukash’s threat to declare a national emergency. “The activists form a tight cordon and are not allowing media representatives into the building,” the Ukrainian News Agency reported on Monday. “According to them, all Spilna Sprava activists have left the building because continued occupation of the Ministry of Justice could have led to an escalation of the conflict.”
Occupiers Work for Soros and the EU
Spilna Sprava, translated as “The Right Deed,” is an Open Society Institute supported and funded group. George Soros’ Open Society Institute, now known as Open Society Foundations (OSF), doles out grants to activist NGOs in central Europe attempting to undermine the Russian Federation. It builds upon andcontinues the work of the Ford Foundation. Since the early 1950s, the CIA has used the Ford Foundation as a funding cover.
Spilna Sprava is mentioned in the 2009 annual report of the International Renaissance Foundation (IRF), an organization described as “an integral part of the Open Society Institute network (established by American philanthropist George Soros) that incorporates national and regional foundations in more than thirty countries around the world, including Africa, Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.” IRF cooperates with the International Monetary Fund and European banksters interested in “economic reforms” and “integration processes and trends” in Ukraine and Moldova.
The IRF report describes Spilna Sprava as “[s]haring best practices, facilitating cooperation between Ukrainian, Polish and German NGOs through creation of a network of support for migrants and refugees.” It is partnered with a Polish NGO, the Euro-Concret Association, that conforms to the “the standards of the EU countries” and works closely with Arbeiterwohlfahrt Kreisverband Bremerhaven, a German NGO funded with support from the European Commission.
“Germany, the EU and the US are pursuing not only economic, but also geopolitical, objectives in Ukraine. Given Russia’s loss of influence in Eastern Europe since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the incorporation of Ukraine into the EU would push Russia off to the edge of Europe,” writes Peter Schwarz.
The destabilization of the Ukrainian government is part of an ongoing geostrategic move by the globalists to undermine any challenge to their hegemonic designs:
Since the end of the 18th Century, Ukraine formed an important part of the Russian and Soviet state. Moreover, the Russian Black Sea Fleet is located in Crimea at a port leased to Russia by Ukraine.
Both the US and the EU have an interest in weakening Russia, which is considered to be an important ally of China. Immediately after his election in March, Chinese President Xi Jinping traveled to Moscow to strengthen the two countries’ “strategic partnership.” Both countries feel threatened economically and strategically by the aggressive incursions of the US and its allies in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
The offensive against Ukraine raises profound historical questions. In two world wars, Germany sought to bring Ukraine under its control and committed abominable crimes in the process. The current brazenness of the German government is fraught with new dangers. The growing international tensions can quickly turn into armed conflict.
These international tensions and the globalist connection to the escalating protests not only in Kiev but now across Ukraine are naturally ignored by the corporatist media. Significant developments on Monday were overshadowed by the usual pablum, notably ad nauseam coverage of the 56th annual Grammy Awards ceremony on Sunday night.
Kiev Burning: Molotov Cocktails, Rubber Bullets And Stun Grenades Exchanged – Live Webcast | Zero Hedge
It will be a long night in Kiev:
- KIEV CLASHES RESUME BETWEEN PROTESTERS, POLICE: CHANNEL 5 TV
- KIEV PROTESTERS ATTACKED AFTER POLICE INJURED ACTIVIST: TV 5
- UKRAINE PROTESTERS THROW MOLOTOV COCKTAILS, ROCKS AT POLICE
- UKRAINE POLICE RESPOND WITH RUBBER BULLETS, STUN GRENADES
- UKRAINE POLICE BLAME PROTESTERS FOR BREAKING TRUCE: STATEMENT
What Kiev looks like right now, via @PzFeed:
Live feed after the jump: