The Westerly: Gillis and Mair in Tofino on media tour


From The Westerly – Feb 24, 2011

by Yasmin Aboelsaud

Residents filled the Tofino theatre February 19 for a local stop on
the Take Back Our B.C. town hall tour by Rafe Mair and Damien Gillis.

Mair — a former B.C. environment minister and broadcaster is a political figure known to many British Columbians.

Gillis is an award winning documentary filmmaker who tackles issues relating to the environment and politics.

Mair and Gillis formed an online journal called The Common Sense
Canadian and the tour is an extension of their citizen media outreach.

event, which was hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound, featured a
couple of Gillis’ documentaries that involve Clayoqout Sound.

“Rafe and I both are very concerned about the future of the environment in British Columbia,” Gillis said.

Among their environmental concerns are the protection of wild salmon, water, energy, and social justice.

first documentary screened was about the proposed Enbridge oil
pipeline, Oil in Eden: The Battle to Protect Canada’s Pacific Coast.

Also shown was a short documentary called Farmed Salmon Exposed.

Mair spoke about the word risk.

keep hearing it said by people who want to use our land,” he said.
“‘This is an acceptable risk. This is a manageable risk’.”

Mair said if something is done for a prolonged period of time, it is no longer a risk. “It’s certainty waiting to happen.”

the NIMBY — Not In My Backyard — movement Mair said it is the right
of residents to protect their homes for future generations.

“If my backyard is Stanley Park, your backyard is Clayoquot,” said Mair. “Your backyard is what belongs to this community.”

protecting a backyard, Mair said citizens should be able to direct the
results by having more control over local authority.

The Common Sense Canadian is considered a province-wide movement that unites citizens.

you keep the pressure on and never never give in, sooner or later
you’re going to win,” Mair said. “If you falter, you lose.”

Mair emphasized the importance of grassroots movements when it comes to change, using the examples of Egypt and Tunisia.

those North Africa movements, The Common Sense Canadian uses social
media, such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, to connect. They also
tour communities and hold meetings such as the one Saturday evening.

to a timeline on Enbridge’s website, the proposed pipeline — the
Northern Gateway Project — is currently in its consultation phase.

$5.5 billion project would be 1,177 kilometers in length, transporting
oil from Bruderheim, Alberta, to Kitimat, British Columbia.

Northern Gateway website states, “The project will undergo a
comprehensive and rigorous regulatory review to determine whether the
project is in the public interest or cause significant adverse effects
on the environment. The JRP [Joint Review Panel] will determine if the
proposed pipeline project will go ahead.”

Enbridge estimates $4.3
billion of labour-related income across Canada during construction
with about 1,150 long-term jobs across Canada during operations.

According to Creative Salmon Company Ltd.’s website, “Fish health and welfare is a very important focus for Creative Salmon.”

The website also states they are committed to protecting the environment in which they operate.

For more on Mair and Gillis, visit

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About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.