Climate change, including record-breaking temperatures, drought and forest fires viewed as a major security threat to Indigenous peoples across Canada
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Sept. 30, 2015) - First Nation Chiefs from Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec are visiting Musqueam Territory today, to appear before the 47thAnnual Chiefs-in-Assembly of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. The delegation will be speaking with BC Chiefs about the formation of a national alliance to confront tar sands pipelines, including the TransCanada Energy East pipeline.
The idea of a new First Nations political alliance comes at a time when the future of pipelines is in the national spotlight, with federal political parties clashing over pipeline policy, and Democratic presidential nomination frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, recently announcing she will not support TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline.
"The Mohawks of Kanesatake were inspired by the efforts of First Nations out West like the Yinka Dene Alliance (YDA) who successfully built a wall of Indigenous opposition to halt the threat posed by the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline," said Grand Chief Serge Simon of the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake. "We are now working to extend that wall of opposition out East to stop the TransCanada Energy East tar sands pipeline."
The Energy East pipeline and tanker project would run between Alberta and New Brunswick, repurposing an aging 40 year old natural gas pipeline, and transporting 1.1 million barrels per day of crude oil, threatening hundreds of waterways with a toxic spill.
"All of these pipeline struggles across Canada are connected," said Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. "Even if the pipeline does not burst on your territory or contaminate your sacred waters - even if the pipeline is built on the other side of Canada - we will all suffer the climate change effects from increased tar sands production. Our communities are already feeling the damaging effects of climate change and things are going to get much worse if we can't stop these pipelines."
"Given the risks that the Energy East pipeline presents for our lands, waters, plants and animals as a result of its contribution to climate change, how can we have any faith in a National Energy Board (NEB) process that tells us that we are not even allowed to speak of such climate impacts? It is pure madness. We are not against all forms of development but we will oppose unsustainable forms of development that jeopardize our traditional way of life," said Chief Arnold Gardner of Eagle Lake First Nation from Treaty 3 in Ontario.
The UBCIC Chiefs will be asked to support a resolution today that signals their support for the delegation of Chiefs and all other First Nations seeking to protect their lands, waters and future generations from the dangers that the TransCanada Energy East pipeline poses.
For more information on the Indigenous alliance building, as well as facts on the dangers of pipelines and tar sands expansion, including catastrophic climate change, visit: www.westmeetseast.ca.