Canadians for the Great Bear

Great Bear Rainforest

Great Bear Rainforest (Photo credit: Dogwood Initiative)

Vancouver – Oil tankers and an oil pipeline through Canada’s remarkable Great Bear region are too great a risk to take–so says Canadian hockey hero Scott Niedermayer and other well-known British Columbians who gathered last week in Vancouver to kick-off of a nation-wide campaign, Canadians for the Great Bear.

Spokespeople representing a range of political stripes and expertise joined forces to call for a sustainable future for Canada’s unique Great Bear region. The group raised expert concerns about the risks of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline to Canadian values, jobs, and the environment.

“It’s tremendously important to me to be a Canadian for the Great Bear. The amazing places we have in our country are part of what it means to be Canadian,” says Niedermayer, who grew up in interior B.C.

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Backed by WWF-Canada and B.C.’s Coastal First Nations, Canadians for the Great Bear are calling for an energy strategy that respects nature, reflects Canadian values and works for all Canadians.

“I am a Canadian for the Great Bear because the risks of an oil tanker or pipeline spill far outweigh any potential rewards,” says Grand Chief Edward John, Hereditary Chief of Tl’azt’en Nation. “The proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline has united First Nations across the province to stop this pipeline and increased oil tanker traffic on the coast.”

Scientists from BC universities spoke out about the threats to long-held Canadian values of environmental stewardship.

“I am a Canadian for the Great Bear because I believe that exposing this region’s biodiversity to an unacceptably high risk, in return for poor economic and social returns, is not a rational decision,” says noted University of British Columbia scientist Dr. Eric Taylor. “It runs counter to B.C.’s motto… Splendor sine occasu …splendour without diminishment.”

The campaign will rally Canadian individuals, businesses, and communities to speak out for a sustainable future for the Great Bear region. “We’re inviting Canadians across the country to join our team,” says Niedermayer.

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