Mayors, First Nation leaders vow to continue opposition to Kinder Morgan pipeline

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[Notley is left holding a bag of hot air (aka Bill 12), while Trudeau is left with the prospect of stirring up Quebec separatism and losing BC for the liberals for years to come. *RON*]

Susan Lazaruk, Vancouver Sun, 16 April 2018

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The leader of a union representing about half of B.C.’s First Nations, supported by two of Metro Vancouver’s largest cities, vowed on Monday to continue protesting the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion.

“In the post-Tsilhqot’in era, the legal bar has been raised to consent and there is no consent,” Okanagan Nation Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, said. Phillip was referring to the 2014 Supreme Court of Canada decision to grant title of 1,700 square hectares of land in B.C. to the Tsilhqot’in First Nation.

“The answer is still no, the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline will never be built,” he said.

Phillip and leaders of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam nations, along with Burnaby’s mayor, a Burnaby MP and a Vancouver councillor, reiterated their opposition to the pipeline a day after Ottawa vowed the pipeline would go ahead despite B.C.’s refusal to approve it.

On Sunday, after meeting with B.C. Premier John Horgan and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau restated Ottawa is within its jurisdiction to approve the project and promised it would go ahead.

But Phillip said on Monday that Trudeau hadn’t delivered on election promises to “restructure and completely revamp the legislation that deals with consent for major resource development.”

He accused Trudeau of holding “four months of a meaningless consultation process” and said B.C.’s First Nations remain opposed as a group to the pipeline.

Phillip said, “toxic lethal bitumen” released during an “inevitable pipeline rupture or catastrophic tanker spill in Burrard Inlet” would cause irreparable harm to Aboriginal land for generations.

He said Ottawa consulted with 140 mostly B.C. First Nations and entered into mutual benefits agreements over the pipeline with 33 of them.

But he and others said that doesn’t mean those 33 First Nations approve of the pipeline.

The union said it represents between 100 and 110 First Nations, about half of the province’s total bands, but it couldn’t estimate the number of individual members it has.

Bob Chamberlin, Chief Councillor of the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation, and vice-president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, said the numbers the union represents is irrelevant because a large resource project like the pipeline requires unanimous support from all B.C.’s First Nations.

He admits that would be difficult.

“We’re such a diverse group” and councils are held to “a higher level of accountability” by their people because “we represent our families and our distant families.”

Not all members accept that direction. Cheam Chief Ernie Crey accused environmentalists of “red-washing” their protests against the $7.4 billion expansion of the Edmonton-Burnaby pipeline and said it’s cancellation would cost B.C.’s Indigenous peoples hundreds of millions of dollars in jobs, business opportunities, training, and other benefits.

Chamberlin predicted future protests against the project will continue and spread to “different locations,” including near Merritt, for one.

“What we’re going to see is massive disobedience,” said Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan.

And Ta’ah Amy George, a Tsleil-Waututh elder, who has been fighting Kinder Morgan for eight years, said, “I’m going to fight to the end,” because she was old, had survived the residential schools and didn’t fear repercussions. “What more can you do to me? Well, call the Canadian Army, OK, I’ll stand out front. I’m going to stand up for my grandchildren, for my water and for my air.”


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