Most of the Aboriginal communities in B.C. and Alberta along the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline route have signed on to an equity package with the company, Enbridge declared yesterday
The company issued a statement on June 5 saying that by the May 31 deadline almost 60 per cent of eligible Aboriginal communities have agreed to be part owners in the proposed project, a deal that is expected to provide about $280 million to communities over the first 30 years of the project.
“Through equity ownership, Aboriginal people will be able to generate a significant new and stable revenue stream that could help achieve the priorities of their communities – such as improved health care, education and housing,” said Enbridge spokesperson Paul Stanway in the company’s release.
Stanway later told the Sentinel that the news should put an end to a long-standing criticism of the project.
“It ought to put to bed the argument that we often hear from opponents of Northern Gateway that there’s no Aboriginal support for the project. Clearly that’s not the case,” he said. “Clearly it’s not correct to say [there’s] this wall of opposition and no support for the pipeline.”
Haisla Chief Councillor Ellis Ross said that he’d be curious to know more about who has signed up for equity packages, suggesting that many either have limited exposure to the pipeline’s risks, or have taken the agreement due to their community’s crushing economic situation.