Yinka Dene Alliance

Harper and China: BC First Nations Send Letter to Chinese President on Eve of Visit

February 6, 2012

NADLEH WHUT'EN, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 6, 2012) - As Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrives in Beijing to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao, the Yinka Dene Alliance of First Nations in the interior of BC have written an open letter (http://ow.ly/8U7S7) to President Hu to remind him of Canada's troublesome record when it comes to aboriginal rights.

They have also issued an open letter to the Chinese people: http://ow.ly/8UdkR

Of immediate concern in the letter is the government's plan to approve the Enbridge pipeline and tankers project, despite the fact that First Nations have clearly refused consent for the pipeline to cross their traditional territories.

The letter, signed by five chiefs, tells the Chinese government of the legal uncertainty associated with the Enbridge pipeline and tankers project:

"We have learned that Sinopec, and a subsidiary of China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC), are among the companies that have signed preliminary, non-binding agreements with Enbridge in relation to this pipeline. The Canadian government's hearing process to review the Enbridge project cannot be relied upon to provide certainty to project investors, because it does not respect our rights to our land. Investors should not place confidence in Canada's system to review oil pipeline projects until the underlying question of our land rights has been resolved."

The Yinka Dene Alliance includes Nadleh Whut'en, Nak'azdli, Takla Lake, Saik'uz, and Wet'suwet'en First Nations in northern BC who have banned the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines from their territories, which cover 25% of the proposed pipeline route, as indicated in this map: http://ow.ly/8U7Ny