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Janet Holder

rafal gerszak The Globe and Mail

Janet Holder, who became the public face of the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline in British Columbia, has died following a long battle with leukemia.

"Janet will be dearly missed by everyone at Enbridge," said Al Monaco, president of the Calgary-based company behind the project.

"In addition to Janet's many personal and professional achievements, she exemplified our values of integrity and respect. She had a passion to serve and mentor others, and an amazing way of connecting with people."

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Holder, who grew up in Prince George, B.C., returned to the city in 2011 when she was named Enbridge's vice-president for western access. She headed the team overseeing the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline which would see Alberta crude flow to Kitimat, B.C., for shipment to Asia.

A year later, Enbridge opened a new office in Prince George.

"We want to be part of the community," Holder said at the time about the controversial project often criticized over concerns about increased tanker traffic and potential oil spills off the B.C. coast.

Holder retired at the end of 2014, saying she wanted to "take a step back and focus on my family and my personal health."

In her final year of high school, Holder followed her parents, Merv and Mabel, to Bathurst, N.B., where her father worked on building a sawmill financed by Prince George businessmen.

Her parents returned to Prince George over a year later but Holder stayed behind and completed an engineering degree and a masters degree in business administration.

Holder joined Enbridge in 1992 and was president of gas distribution from 2008 to 2011.

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"Janet taught many of us the importance of being positive and supportive of each other, no matter how big the challenge," Monaco said.

"Janet's memory and legacy will live on at Enbridge, and for us personally, for many years to come."

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