Route of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.

Route of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.

Enbridge, feds won’t appeal ruling against Northern Gateway pipeline

B.C. First Nations remain staunchly opposed to Enbridge's $7.9 billion pipeline (with interactive timeline)

VANCOUVER – First Nations in British Columbia remain staunchly opposed to a proposed pipeline linking the province’s north coast to Alberta’s oilsands after the federal government and Northern Gateway announced they will not appeal a Federal Court of Appeal decision on the project.

Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, said the two announcements Tuesday make no difference to First Nations that would be negatively impacted by the $7.9-billion project, which he described as being “on life support.”

SEE INTERACTIVE TIMELINE

Shortly after Northern Gateway announced it would not appeal the court decision made in June, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said the government also has no plans to file an appeal.

Speaking outside the House of Commons, Carr reiterated the court’s decision saying the previous Conservative government did not do its job to properly consult with aboriginal people.

“So we’re not going to contradict the court’s judgment in this case,” Carr said, adding the government is considering its options, including the possibility of more consultations with First Nations.

Northern Gateway president John Carruthers said in a statement issued earlier Tuesday that meaningful consultation, not litigation, is the best path forward for a project he said would economically benefit First Nations and Metis, and includes 31 aboriginal equity partners.

“In order to encourage investment and economic development, Canadians need certainty that the government will fully and properly consult with our nations’ indigenous communities,” he said.

However, Phillip said that while consultation is a serious constitutional and legal undertaking, industry and governments have not made the financial investments needed to give it much weight.

“We’re moving out of the era of consultation to consent-based decision making reality so I think this focus on adequate or inadequate consultation is somewhat behind the curve. I think the bar is much higher than consultation, regardless of quality and scope,” Phillip said.

“The government of Canada, under Prime Minister (Justin) Trudeau, has committed to fully embrace the (United Nations) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which is very much about free, prior and informed consent.”

The Northern Gateway project by Calgary-based Enbridge (TSX:ENB) would include two pipelines, one carrying oilsands bitumen from Alberta to a port in Kitimat, B.C., and a second carrying condensate — a form of natural gas used to dilute the bitumen – from Kitimat back to Alberta.

Eight First Nations, four environmental groups and a labour union launched legal challenges against the approval, which were consolidated and heard by the Federal Court of Appeal last October.

The appeal court quashed approval of the pipeline, saying Ottawa neglected to discuss subjects of critical importance to First Nations by ignoring many of the project’s impacts and offering only a “brief, hurried and inadequate opportunity for consultation.”

The proposal, which has been in the works since 2005 and would require the construction of more than 1,100 kilometres of pipeline, first got the green light from the Canadian government in 2014. However, it has been mired in legal uncertainty ever since.

Residents of Kitimat objected to it in a non-binding plebiscite that year, but widespread opposition led the Union of B.C. Municipalities to pass a resolution against it back in 2010.

Art Sterritt, an elder and spokesman with the Gitga’at First Nation in Hartley Bay, said the company’s continued promise of economic benefits from Northern Gateway are “ridiculous.”

“People are being offered the opportunity to buy in on a pipeline. Anybody can buy in on any company,” he said of the 31 aboriginal equity partners.

Most of them are in Alberta, and many already have pipelines running through their territories, Sterritt said.

“The reality is the people who really have something to lose, the people that own the resources, the people who have title to the land in British Columbia, are telling Northern Gateway to get lost.”

Little consultation has occurred so far, but more talk won’t mean First Nations will accept the pipeline they’ve rejected all along, he said, echoing Phillip’s comments.

“They can come along and talk till they’re blue in the face. The reality is this is an industry that will endanger everything that we stand for on the north coast.”

Camille Bains, The Canadian Press

 

Just Posted

Kitimat’s Water Quality Advisory, which has been in place for just over a week, has been lifted. (Black Press file photo)
Water Quality Advisory in Kitimat lifted

The district has been under a Water Quality Advisory since June 2

On June 16 at 6 p.m., the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a public presentation and discussion with Happipad, a social enterprise, to talk about solutions for affordable housing Kitimat. (Happipad photo)
Affordable housing to be focus of Kitimat Chamber of Commerce meeting

Figures indicate the average Kitimat household needs to make more than $92,000 a year

(District of Kitimat logo)
Hirsch Creek Bridge restricted to single lane traffic

The district is restricting the bridge traffic to legal highway loads only

Artist’s illustration of the proposed Kitimat LNG facility at Bish Cove near Kitimat. (Kitimat LNG illustration)
Haisla Nation surprised by Woodside pull out from Kitimat LNG project

Haisla Nation council states its main focus is now on developing the Haisla-led Cedar LNG project

(Northern Health logo)
Pop-up vaccine clinic tomorrow at the Save-on-Foods parking lot in Kitimat

The clinic will be this Friday, June 11 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Most Read