With a hushed crowd of about one hundred, the unofficial result of the Kitimat plebiscite was read aloud Saturday evening. Instantly, those gathered at the downtown park erupted into screams of joy.
Enbridge has lost the vote.
YES 1,278 (41.6%)
NO 1,793 (58.4%)
Nathan Cullen, NDP MP for Skeena—Bulkley Valley was visibly nervous as the smart phone was read carefully for the announcement.
"I am overwhelmed, I am feeling so good about the people here in Kitimat. Despite all the money, and all the cynicism, bullying that's been going on here, people got together - native, non-native, neighbour to neighbour - and raised their voices tonight," said Cullen, who was interrupted by cars driving by, honking and cheering.
Enbridge vowed to continue the project, despite the rejection from Kitimat voters.
"Today’s result shows that while there is support for Northern Gateway in Kitimat, we have more work to do. And over the coming weeks and months we will continue to reach out and listen to our neighbours and friends so that Northern Gateway can build a lasting legacy for the people of our community," said Donny van Dyk, Northern Gateway's Manager of Coastal Aboriginal and Community Relations, in a statement.
Cullen said Enbridge should just stop the project.
"I am sure they will spin it. But we know we're on the right side of right...Enbridge should listen, the Conservative government should listen," reacted Cullen.
Former Haisla chief Gerald Amos addressed the crowd with a megaphone.
"I think Enbridge and the government really don't understand what happened here tonight. But I think all of us [here in the crowd] do. Not just in this community of Kitimat, but in the entire northwest - Terrace, Prince Rupert, Smithers, all points east."
"What we witnessed was a community building exercise that should scare the shit out of them," said Amos, to huge applause and laughter.
Douglas Channel Watch was the main group organizing the "vote no" to Enbridge campaign. An emotional Murray Minchin - the spokesperson for DCW - gave thanks to the dances given by Haisla in the group's honour.
"This is so much for me to absorb," said Minchin through the megaphone.
"The symbolism of the dance encircling us, and thanking us, is just so huge, I cannot even begin to comprehend the deep meaning of it, and how you took us in like that, it's an amazing gesture and so symbolic.... we are definitely standing side by side."
The announcement marks the end of controversial and hard fought campaigns for both Enbridge and its opponents.
On Tuesday, Northern Gateway's vice-president Janet Holder said her company will reveal how much money it spent on advertising for its plebiscite campaign.
List of opposing communities growing
Many pipeline communities – such as Prince George, Terrace, Smithers – have already passed resolutions against the project. Several Aboriginal communities, including critically the Haisla Nation where the pipeline terminates – are dead set against the project.
Likewise on Friday, four Yinka Dene First Nations that represent one quarter of the pipeline's route also officially rejected the pipeline, stating they will not negotiate with Enbridge or the federal government any further on the project.
READ MORE: From Vancouver Observer http://www.vancouverobserver.com/news/enbridge-loses-kitimat-plebiscite-northern-gateway-breaking-news