Yinka Dene Alliance

Yinka Dene Delegation to Ottawa: Enbridge Pipeline and Tanker Opposition Mounts as Risks Multiply

March 13, 2012

First Nations, Unions, Business and Environmental Interests Deliver Message in Ottawa-Destructive Oil Pipelines and Tankers Not in Canada’s Interest

OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – March 13, 2012) - A diverse delegation from British Columbia, including First Nations leaders and business, environment and labour groups, are in Ottawa today to send a message that opposition is steadily growing to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project.

The delegation said the Enbridge project will not be permitted to proceed, according to declarations based on First Nations Rights and Title. The proposed project would trample First Nations rights, threaten thousands of jobs across Canada, and prevent Canada from tackling global warming.

“We will defend our Rights, no matter what bully tactics the federal government throws at us,” said Saik’uz First Nation Chief Jackie Thomas, of the Yinka Dene Alliance. “Our decision has been made: Enbridge will never be allowed in our lands.”

Beginning in January, an additional 40 First Nations people or groups signed Declarations banning the project, using their own constitutionally-recognized laws, for a total of more than 130 opposed Nations. Four more major B.C. municipalities have also passed recent resolutions against the Enbridge project, adding to the broad resolution of the Union of B.C. Municipalities against tankers. Also, more than 30,000 Canadians have signed a petition opposing the pipelines and tankers since January 6th when the government began its campaign to marginalize opponents. Meanwhile, the Communications, Energy and Paperworks (CEP) Union of Canada, representing 150,000 Canadian workers, including most of the workers employed in the tar sands, is also opposed.

“Canada does not need the Gateway pipeline” said David Coles, President of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union. “Gateway is contrary to our need for jobs, the economy, environmental protection and First Nations rights; these four pillars have to be the priority.”

A recent study estimates that roughly 200,000 manufacturing jobs have already been lost due to Dutch Disease, a syndrome related to the rapid increase in tar sands exports. This problem will escalate with tar sands expansion. In addition, there are thousands of local jobs put at risk by the Enbridge pipelines and tankers.

“The commercial fishing and tourism industries employ 45,000 people in B.C. Enbridge and the federal government want us to risk these sustainable jobs, the fisheries resources, our way of life and our communities for a mere 217 jobs,” said Arnie Nagy, United Fisherman’s and Allied Workers’ Union, which is against the proposed Enbridge pipeline and supertankers.

The delegation met with MPs from the three opposition parties. Nagy and Michael Uehara, President of the multi-award-winning King Pacific Lodge, a tourism leader, requested meetings with Ministers Oliver and Kent, and were refused, yet did meet with Randy Kamp, MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director of Environmental Defence added, “The proposed Gateway project is a gateway alright: a gateway to a future where we destroy our coast with oil supertankers, radically increase the pollution coming from the tar sands and double down on a path toward dangerous levels of climate change.”

The delegation referred to a new report by Environmental Defence and Forest Ethics called Our Nation, Their Interest: The Case Against the Northern Gateway Pipeline and Tanker Project. The report documented why Enbridge’s proposal is not in the interest of Canadians, from an economic and environmental perspective, despite efforts from the industry and federal government to convince citizens otherwise. It found that the pipeline would carry 100 million tonnes of carbon pollution each year and is premised on a scenario of dangerous inaction on climate change. The report can be found at www.environmentaldefence.ca/ournationtheirinterest.

The delegation follows new evidence revealed under Access to Information that federal bureaucrats warned the government about the heightened legal risk due to its own failure to provide adequate resources for First Nations to engage in the regulatory process for Enbridge Northern Gateway.

Contact Information:

Chief Jackie Thomas
Saik’uz First Nation
Yinka Dene Alliance
250-567-8048

Environmental Defence
Stephanie Kohls
416-323-9521 ext. 232; 647-280-9521 (cell)

Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, Canada
Dave Coles
President
613-299-5628