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Global campaign Asks Canadians to Care about oil pipelines, tankers in the Great Bear

(VANCOUVER/TORONTO — November 19, 2013) Today, an international social media campaign to stop Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline project was launched by partners Coastal First Nations and WWF. As one of the world’s largest conservation organizations, WWF is drawing on its international network to call global attention to this issue through the Ask a Canadian to Care campaign. The campaign calls on people who care about nature and social justice – across Canada and the world – to stand alongside the majority of British Columbians and First Nations communities in saying ‘no’ to oil pipelines and tankers in this globally important region.

Enbridge’s Northern Gateway oil pipeline project proposes to bisect the Great Bear Rainforest—one of the last large intact temperate coastal rainforests in the world—with twin pipelines. They would carry 525,000 barrels of diluted bitumen (dilbit) from the oil sands each day to the Pacific north coast of British Columbia.

More than 220 super tankers a year are proposed to transport dilbit through the Great Bear Sea to Asian markets. These waters are home to recovering populations of humpback whales, and threatened orcas and fin whales. The Great Bear Sea supports one of the world’s best examples of a sustainable regional economy. The region is home to Coastal First Nations communities as well as unique species such as the rare white Spirit bear, grizzlies, and Pacific coastal wolves.

The super tankers would traverse some of the most treacherous sea passages on the planet. A recent study released by British Columbia’s provincial government found only three to four per cent of an oil spill on the coast would be recovered in a five day period.

Canada’s federal government is expected to make its decision on Enbridge’s Northern Gateway oil pipeline project in early 2014, following the recommendation of the Joint Review Panel by the end of this year.


“The Great Bear Region has been home to our communities for more than 10,000 years. Our chiefs and elders taught us that we have a responsibility to restore and implement responsible land, water and resource management approaches that are ecologically, socially and economically sustainable. The proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline is a threat to the very existence of our communities, our culture and our way of life. Stand with WWF and the Coastal First Nations and help us save this global treasure.”
– Art Sterritt, Executive Director, Coastal First Nations

“There is nothing more Canadian than standing up for our unique natural heritage. There is no other place on Earth like the Great Bear. Ask A Canadian to Care is an opportunity for people across this country and the world to make their voice heard on this issue. If enough people speak up, and say no to Enbridge Northern Gateway oil pipeline, Canada will listen.”
– David Miller, President and CEO, WWF-Canada


  • The Great Bear Sea is home to all five species of Pacific salmon, at least 17 types of marine mammals, and has important habitat for threatened blue, fin, right, sei and killer whales.
  • The Great Bear’s existing sustainable local economy contributes significantly to British Columbia’s seafood and recreational fishing sectors, generates $2.5 billion per year and supports more than 30,000 jobs.
  • The proposed shipping route would bring oil super tankers through Hecate Strait, some of the most treacherous waters on Earth, according to Environment Canada.
  • A recent study shows response to an oil spill in this region would be the recovery of three to four per cent of the oil spilled. The “World Class” standard for oil spill cleanup is recovering only 15 per cent, and that applies to conventional oil, not the much heavier diluted bitumen proposed for transport by the Northern Gateway project.


For more information:
Art Sterritt, Coastal First Nations

Jo Anne Walton, WWF-Canada

About Coastal First Nations
The Coastal First Nations is an alliance of First Nations on British Columbia’s North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii. The Coastal First Nations include Wuikinuxv Nation, Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xaixais, Nuxalk Nation, Gitga’at, Metlakatla, Old Massett, Skidegate, and Council of the Haida Nation. For the past decade, the Coastal First Nations has charted a course that has strengthened the connections between its communities, environment, and economy.

About WWF
WWF is creating solutions to the most serious conservation challenges facing our planet, helping people and nature thrive.


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