Coastal First Nations Launch Oil Spill Ad Campaign to Counter Harper Government’s Pipeline Public Relations Offensive

Re-vamped Simon & Garfunkel "Sound of Silence" commercial singles out Stephen Harper for upcoming decision on oil tanker traffic in BC’s coastal waters. VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – (September 23, 2013) - The Coastal First Nations launched an oil spill ad campaign today, featuring graphic oil spill imagery, and singling out Prime Minister Stephen Harper as the key federal government decision-maker on whether or not oil tankers will ply BC's pristine coastal waters.

The campaign starts on the same day First Nations leaders are scheduled to meet with federal government officials in Vancouver.

“British Columbians have been very clear in their opposition to the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline and oil tankers in our coastal waters,” said Art Sterritt, Executive Director of the Coastal First Nations. “All eyes are now on Mr. Harper. We hope that he will respect the wishes of British Columbians and say no to the proposed project. “

The ad, which features Exxon Valdez Captain Joseph Hazelwood’s radio call to the Coast Guard, accompanied by The Sound of Silence, by Simon & Garfunkel, is a new version of an ad that went viral last March, provoking Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, to claim that a similar spill could never happen in Canada.

The new version includes an iconic photo of a First Nations woman crying after witnessing the devastation of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Ad Facts:

  • A major oil spill could cost Canadian taxpayers $21.4 billion
  • Job losses could total 4,379 person-years of employment
  • 80% of British Columbians oppose oil tanker traffic in BC’s coastal waters

The ad concludes with a simple message: “British Columbians have spoken. Will Stephen Harper listen?”

"The Coastal First Nations have banned oil tankers from our traditional territories in the Great Bear Rainforest, and we have invested more than $300 million dollars over the past decade to establish a sustainable economy on the coast,” said Sterritt. "If Stephen Harper approves the Northern Gateway pipeline, an oil spill could wipeout all of our hard work and silence our communities.”

The month-long ad campaign is running on Global BC. BC is a key electoral battleground, and pipelines and oil tankers are likely to be a campaign issue in the next federal election.

Contact Information:

Art Sterritt Executive Director, Coastal First Nations 604-868-9110