Harper government approves Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project

WINNIPEG–The Harper government is expected to announce its decision on whether to green light Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline after financial markets close Tuesday.

APTN National News
The Harper cabinet has approved construction of Enbridge’s highly controversial Northern Gateway pipeline project, setting the stage for a confrontation that could spread from courtrooms to the mountains to the coasts of British Columbia.

The Harper government said the project still needed to meet 209 conditions set out by the National Energy Board’s (NEB) joint review panel. The pipeline received the NEB’s blessing in December as long as it met those conditions. In a statement, Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford said Enbridge has “more work to do” on consultation with First Nation communities.

“Today consitutes another step in the process. Moving forward, the proponent must demonstrate to the independent regulator, the NEB, how it will meet the 209 conditions,” said Rickford, in the statement.

Enbridge’s proposed $7 billion Northern Gateway pipeline project would ship Alberta tar sands bitumen to the B.C. coast where it would be loaded onto tankers destined primarily for Asian markets like China. The pipeline would run 1,178 kilometres from Bruderheim, Alta., to Kitimat, B.C, and pump 525,000 barrels per day onto tankers.

It has been a highly controversial project that has already triggered federal court challenges from First Nations. A pipeline opposition rally is planned in Vancouver for Tuesday evening. Shortly after the Harper government announced its decision, 23 B.C. First Nations and eight tribal councils and First Nation political organizations issued a statement saying they were going to court to stop the project.

“We unequivocally reject the Harper Government’s decision to approve the Enbridge Northern Gateway tanker and pipelines project and First Nations will immediately go to court to vigorously pursue all lawful means to stop the Enbridge project,” said the statement. “We will defend our territories whatever the costs may be.”

Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs president Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said the pipeline will meet unprecedented opposition from First Nations.

“For First Nations who have unceded Title and Rights over our territories we will do everything necessary and whatever it takes to stop this project,” said Phillip. “We are prepared to go to unprecedented lengths to conserve and protect our territories and waters from heavy oil.”

Assembly of First Nations regional chief for B.C. Jody Wilson-Raybould said the battle over the pipeline will be a “defining moment” in Canadian history.

“It is extremely unfortunate and frustrating that the federal government has seen fit to approve Northern Gateway in the face of overwhelming public opposition including First Nations whose Aboriginal title and rights and other concerns have not been satisfactorily addressed,” said Wilson-Raybould.

Heiltsuk Nation Chief Marilyn Slett said Ottawa’s decision is just “another round” in the pipeline fight.

“This decision represents the end of another round in a long fight to protect our lands, waters and resources. We will not back down,” said Slett.

Enbridge CEO Al Monaco said that the company welcomed Ottawa’s decision and is not worried about the threatened court action from First Nations. Monaco said the court challenges would be heard by the Federal Court of Appeal which would be working on a set schedule.

“This is not an endless process as some are suggesting,” said Monaco, during a conference call with reporters. “There is a definitive timeline that this won’t go on forever in terms of endless legal battles.”

Monaco said that it will take the company about 12 to 15 months to meet the required conditions and officials would use that time to reengage with First Nations along the pipeline route.

“Reengaging the First Nations is a big priority for us,” he said. “What is crystal clear is that safety and environmental protection have to come first.”

Monaco said Enbridge would be “continuing to engage with BC communities and Aboriginal bands to build further trust where we have not been able to do to date.”

B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak said Enbridge still had to meet four of the five conditions required by the province for its backing.  B.C.’s outstanding conditions include the need for “world-class” spill recovery on land and in the water, a better relationship with First Nations and a cut of the revenues for provincial coffers. The first condition hinged on the project getting federal approval.

“There is still much work that needs to be done,” Polak told reporters Tuesday, following the announcement.

Monaco said Enbridge would be holding talks with the B.C. government and meet its conditions, which are in addition to those set out by the NEB.

Federal opposition parties also blasted the federal government and each said it would be an election issue during the next federal election in 2015.

NDP leader Tom Mulcair said an NDP government, if elected in 2015, would not let the project go forward.

“This rip and ship approach by the federal government is the antithesis of sustainable development,” said Mulcair.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau also criticized the Harper government’s decision on Northern Gateway and says a Liberal government would kill the project.

“I will not be approving this pipeline,” said Trudeau.

The majority of Indigenous communities along its route opposed the project and have vowed to stop it. Enbridge, however, has signed about 26 equity agreements with individual First Nation and Metis communities in Alberta and B.C.

One of the flashpoints in the battle over the pipeline is expected in the province’s interior where the Unisto’ot’en camp has dug in near the project’s route. The camp, led by the Unist’ot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en people, has dug in for several years on the Northern Gateway’s proposed pipeline route and sits about 1,000 kilometres north of Vancouver.

Art Sterritt, executive director for the Coastal First Nations, says the pipeline will face resistance from the moment the first bits of earth are moved for its construction.

“Anybody tries sticking shovels in the ground, there’ll be First Nations there to stop them,” said Sterritt, whose organization represents an alliance of First Nations along the province’s north and central coast.

The alliance includes Wuikinuxv Nation, Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xaixais, Nuxalk Nation, Gitga’at, Metlakatla, Old Massett, Skidegate, and the Council of the Haida Nation.

Sterritt said the battle of over the pipeline will be a “defining moment” on the issue of Aboriginal rights and title.

“We are not going to lay down for this,” he said.

Coastal First Nations believe the risk posed by a raw bitumen tanker spill outweighs any of the economic benefits promised by the pipeline project.

Enbridge has been pushing for the pipeline since March 6, 2002, when initially announced its plans to flow Alberta tar sands bitumen to the B.C. coast. Three years later, in 2005, the company announced it had a deal with PetroChina to build the pipeline. After an about five year pause, the Calgary-based firm filed its application with the National Energy Board for the project in March 2010. That same month, Coast First Nations declared a ban on supertankers off their coasts.

The project has also created headaches for the B.C. provincial government, which announced in July 2012 that it could not support the project unless it met five conditions, which included a cut of the revenues. Ottawa, which has been a consistent backer of the project, has done all it can to assuage fears over potential spills and announced new pipeline safety rules this past May. This was preceded by a March 2013 announcement on changes to safety rules for oil tankers and for pipeline spill liability inland.

Ottawa also launched a renewed push to woo First Nations last year and tapped Vancouver Doug Eyford to canvass communities and recommend ways for the federal government to improve its relationship with recalcitrant First Nations.

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2 thoughts on “Harper government approves Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project

  1. HUMAN
    NATURE; How Cultures & Traditions can be used to try &
    explain Bullying & Info Deprivation to Protect the Power of
    DISTINCTION may HELP RECOVERY? LINE UP for IPOs re; China – Canada
    INVESTMENT TREATY’s derived ENTERPRISES, just got Shorter.

    reading about the fears of retaliation of the Native Canadian women
    at the Special House of Commons Committee on
    Violence Against Indigenous Women, by powerful chiefs &
    councils for questioning & improving the chiefs/councils plans &
    decisions, etc., it has been suggested that it might be easier to
    minimize any potential for negative stereotyping of Native chiefs &
    their councils by:

    1) the
    most vulnerable Native community members (95% – 99% of the members of
    Native communities),

    2) non
    Native funders of Native communities


    3) et

    pointing out once again, but, with greater emphasis, that the most
    vulnerable community members, both; Native & non Native, are
    slowly & painfully becoming aware of the threat that is posed to
    the bullying, information depriving despots (Death-Pots) by way of
    the sharing of the relevant information, in forums that have

    the fear of retaliation.

    therefore, in regard to the recent, June 5, 2014, comments by the
    grand chief of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians Gordon
    Peters about negative “stereotypes”, it has also been suggested
    that Mr. Peters needn’t be concerned as Native & non Native
    Canadians have made:

    1) the
    distinctions between the bullying despots & the most vulnerable
    community members


    2) the
    distinctions between those chiefs & councils that want/need their
    community members to start getting the relevant information,
    including the information & questions in The WAD Accord & its


    chiefs & councils who need to keep their community members in the
    dark in order to supplicate the most “vulnerables” to
    limited beliefs & “hopes”


    maintain, &/or, enhance their abusive powers.

    Mr. Peters can take some solace in knowing that he may be able to
    learn more about which bullying, information depriving despots are
    presently being “de-stereotyped”.

    of the chiefs & councils may even graciously admit that some of
    the more abusive aspects of human nature are being used &
    rationalized by despots by claims that the abuse of their power is
    based upon tradition, &/or, culture that excludes the
    comprehension of the abuses by non Natives. Doesn’t this suggest that
    unless you are in the position of being able to be bullied, etc.,
    then you are incapable of, &/or, should be prohibited from
    helping those who are being bullied by providing the information &
    safe forums for the discussion, sharing, improving information,
    plans, etc. before they become a decision that are acted upon &
    the human costs are added up? There are many

    of this “helping” precedent in other human communities

    the globe.

    potential sponsors of this “helping process” understand the

    of identifying, investigating, prosecuting & enforcing

    prevention of the abusers from continuing their abuse. Similarly, the
    potential sponsors can assist the most vulnerable community members
    to ascertain the amount of compensation they are due for previous
    abuse. These sponsors who are being considered have also observed &
    understand that the political abuse of the RCMP is causing a great
    deal of morale problems within the non union service (see; Paul
    Palango; “Dispersing the Fog”). Therefore, it is for the
    aforementioned reasons that the potential sponsors would like to be
    considered to help the most vulnerable community members eliminate
    their fears & help the most vulnerable develop the natural
    resources that are accessed by way of the community’s lands. These
    are also the lands that have already been secretly “negotiated”,
    &/or, are in the process of being secretly “negotiated”
    within Canada by way of the despots & without the full due
    diligence sharing of the information with the most vulnerable
    community members.

    are several reasons why some of these foreign corporate sponsors
    might be considered. They are:

    basically, to understand & perhaps prevent bullying despots from
    making secret arrangements whereby, in


    a) the
    despots’ cooperation to endorse the last minute “new”

    environmental & safety standards, etc. for their projects that
    may be derived from the C – CI Treaty, the EU –

    CET Agreement, the TP Partnership, et al


    b) the
    “protection” provided by the bullies for the potential

    participants/ investors from the most vulnerable community

    the potential foreign participants/investors may exclusively &
    secretly reward the bullies financially & thereby, further
    legitimize the bullies power & control by way the bullies’

    of fear


    some of the potential foreign participants are as disgusted with the
    “unethical” & “inhumane” arrangements of corporate Canada
    & their representatives in the government of Canada as many
    Native & non Native Canadians, et al, are. One potential
    participant said:

    not that we are racist when it comes to dealing with Canadians, it’s
    just that we can’t stand the way that you suck up to us”.

    is to say; while corporate Canada & its political representatives
    “suck up” to the “coveted” foreign investor, the “Canadians”
    also “shi…”, uh, “purge down”. It may be regrettable that
    this bullying is just part of human nature?

    job is to identify & to minimize, &/or, eliminate it.

    while the most vulnerable Native community members may be looking for
    a much “better” deal that protects their rights to live &
    express themselves in the absence of fear, isn’t it reasonable to
    assume that they can also expect to start getting the aforementioned
    relevant information for their humble consideration, including The
    Compensation that is embodied in The W.A.D. Accord?

    does the “much better deal” by way of these “foreign”


    1) the
    elimination of the bullying by the information depriving despots,


    enabling the employment opportunities that can equal those non Native
    Canadians & then use the “better deal” to shrink the

    disparity between:

    95% – 99% of the communities’ most vulnerable members


    the 1%
    – 5% of the existing political & financial bullies, both;

    & non Native


    3) et

    aren’t the above reasons why The W.A.D. Accord (aka; The

    Question) was developed in the first place? That is to

    The Accord was developed in order to ensure that the most

    community members are getting the relevant information & are
    getting the opportunity to consider, to discuss, to ask questions
    about it, to improve, to create alternatives, to reject, etc., the
    information & questions in The Accord, including The Compensation
    that is embodied in it?

    By way
    of closing, now that Mr. Peters’ concerns about negative

    have been laid to rest, the most vulnerable community members, et al,
    might also consider some of the other areas of information that they
    are continuing to be deprived of that can be, &/or, are being
    abused by the the aforementioned bullies in order to strengthen
    their, the bullies’, “legitimacy” besides:

    1) the
    on going land settlements & treaty rights negotiations,

    2) the
    development of Aboriginal self-governance


    3) et

    finally, how do you, the readers in North America, China, the

    Union, the Trans Pacific nations, et al, think that these

    nature issues can be redressed by The WAD Accord?

    I look
    forward to reading about your questions, your comments, your
    improvements, etc., regarding the above & the information listed


    E.H. Smith


    – “Qui



    more Information & Questions re; The Relationship between Human
    (Nature) Rights & Economics in the C-CI Treaty, the CET

    TP Partnership, et al, via The W.A.D. Accord,


    “David Smith, Sidney, BC”,


    “David E.H. Smith” to access RECENT ARTICLES, LETTERS &


  2. It will be a defining moment for the whole country. Do we care about the things that are important, or do we accept what some gang of goons in Ottawa wants to shove down our throats? Do we have any principles? Do we care about our descendants? All these questions, and more, need to be asked, and answered, by each of us. I stand strong with FN and everybody needs to do that. Contribute funds for legal battles. Volunteer. Do anything we can to support this.

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