May 31, 2018
First Nation Chiefs from across Canada said that without the consent from First Nations along the route, there will be no Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline and tanker project, regardless of who the owner of the project is.
“Now’s the time for Canadians to speak up about what kind of country they want to live in – a petro-state or one that cares about First Nations and climate change?” said Grand Chief Serge ‘Otsi’ Simon of the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake. “The Trudeau government will be judged harshly by historians for its actions in support of the project but all of us will be judged harshly if we let it happen.”
Thousands gathered in Vancouver on unceded Coast Salish territory to reject the announced purchase and clearly say: “Not in our name.” A thousand people in Montreal delivered the same message last Sunday.
Since early March, more than 200 people, young and old, have been arrested for blocking the gates of Kinder Morgan. Behind them stand over twenty thousand Coast Protectors who have signed up to do whatever it takes to stop the project. And a recent poll even suggests that 12 per cent of British Columbians are ready to engage in civil disobedience to stop the project. In addition, 14 legal challenges to the project remain outstanding before the Federal Court of Appeal.
“The Trudeau authorization of a publicly funded corporate bail out of the Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker project will lead to yet another victory by the Indigenous-led movement that has already stopped the Northern Gateway and Energy East tar sands pipeline projects. There is certainty that Indigenous people hold Title and Rights,” said Chief Judy Wilson, Neskonlith, Secwepemc Nation, and Secretary-Treasurer of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC). “Trudeau’s false assurances are not fooling anyone, and Canadians are well aware that he has placed liability onto everyone in this country. Kinder Morgan got our message that without consent of the many Nations along its path, the pipeline would not be built – now it’s time for the Trudeau government to get the message.”
Approximately 100 First Nations in B.C. are affected by the proposed new pipeline and enormous increase in tanker traffic but only 30 have signed agreements with Kinder Morgan, leaving more than two thirds who have not provided any form of consent. Six have filed legal challenges to the project. In addition, 150 Indigenous Nations in Canada and the US who have signed the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion in opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline and all other attempts at allowing even more tar sands production, including Enbridge’s Line 3 and TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipelines.
“The government’s purchase of the project reveals the desperate state of the oil industry and its government facilitators as new fossil fuels projects find it impossible to achieve any kind of social license” added Assembly of First Nations’ Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart. “This was never going to be an easy fight – Indigenous People and our allies have to dig in for the long haul in this battle on many fronts to keep the tar sands in check: at the source and along the Kinder Morgan route, but also along the proposed Enbridge Line 3 pipeline where Tribes in Minnesota are ready to stop it and all along the Keystone XL route.”