Read this story and watch a video from The Vancouver Sun on the reaction of a number of prominent First Nations leaders to BC Premier Christy Clark’s recent posturing on improving BC’s take from the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. (July 30, 2012)
First nations opposed to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project are accusing B.C. Premier Christy Clark of selling out British Columbians and putting a price tag on the future of aboriginal people.
The Yinka Dene Alliance, a group of five first nations in the B.C. Interior, issued a statement Saturday, saying it rejects Clark’s “sales pitch.”
The B.C. government said last week it won’t support the $6-billion Enbridge project until five environmental and fiscal conditions are met, including B.C. getting a much larger share of economic benefits, such as resource royalties or other tax revenue.
Another condition was that legal requirements for aboriginal and treaty rights must be addressed and first nations be allowed to benefit from the project.
However, the aboriginal groups said the premier is bargaining with land that will never be for sale at any price.
“It is absolutely unacceptable for our premier to play a game of The Price is Right while putting our lands, our waters and our futures at risk to devastating oil spills,” said Terry Teegee, tribal chief of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council.
“This is our lives, the well-being of our families that she is playing with. We won’t let her sell our lands out from under us.”
Chief Martin Louie of the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation said the government can’t “put a price tag on our future,” adding the alliance is committed to fighting the project.
“Clark has admitted that B.C. will take 100-per-cent of the risks from tankers and most of the pipeline risk. For her to turn around the next day and start bargaining for royalties — that’s knowingly trying to sell all British Columbians out,” said Louie.
On Friday, Clark refused to sign on to any national energy strategy until B.C.’s dispute with Alberta and the federal government over the Northern Gateway oil pipeline is resolved.
The Enbridge project would carry oilsands crude, or bitumen, from northern Alberta to Kitimat, for shipment to Asia.