An analyst says the shelving of TransCanada Corp.’s Energy East pipeline means it’s more vital than ever that three other pipelines to oil export markets proceed as planned.
AltaCorp Capital analyst Dirk Lever said Friday that Canadian producers will have to transport any new oil production over the next year or so using railcars because the pipelines leaving Western Canada now are essentially full.
He said the next capacity increase is expected to come with Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 replacement project, which is under construction and will add 370,000 barrels per day of capacity to the United States by early 2019.
But that additional room will only just accommodate new output from oilsands expansions and the situation will remain tight until the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline to the West Coast proposed by Kinder Morgan is in service, which is expected to add 590,000 barrels per day by late 2019.
TransCanada hasn’t yet approved its Keystone XL pipeline into the U.S., but Lever said its 830,000-barrel-per-day capacity will likely provide enough room for Canadian oil production growth until about 2030, when the industry expects Canadian production to reach five million barrels per day.
He said Energy East could come off the shelf if any of the other pipelines don’t go ahead, or if market conditions change to encourage higher production growth.
The pipeline would have transported more than a million barrels of oil every day. (Reuters)
Pipeline company opts to kill 2 eastern-based energy projects
TransCanada says it won’t proceed with its Energy East pipeline and Eastern Mainline proposals.
Russ Girling, the Calgary-based energy company’s chief executive officer, said in a statement that National Energy Board and Quebec officials will be informed TransCanada won’t go forward with the applications.
“We appreciate and are thankful for the support of labour, business and manufacturing organizations, industry, our customers, Irving Oil, various governments, and the approximately 200 municipalities who passed resolutions in favour of the projects,” Girling said in a release.
“Most of all, we thank Canadians across the country who contributed towards the development of these initiatives.”
The proposed Energy East project would have carried more than one million barrels of oil every day from Alberta and Saskatchewan across the country to be refined in Quebec and New Brunswick and then exported. It would have added 1,500 kilometres worth of new oil pipelines to an existing network of more than 3,000 kilometres, which would have been converted from carrying natural gas, to carrying oil.
The company says it will take a $1-billion charge to write down the project on its books in its next quarterly results. But the full price tag for the project would have been much higher, with some estimates at as much as $16 billion.
The company first proposed the project in 2013, when oil prices neared $100 a barrel. But the project’s future had come in doubt since then as the economics changed, and regulatory and environmental hurdles started piling up.
As recently as last month, TransCanada suspended its application to the National Energy Board (NEB) and hinted it might decide not to pursue the project in light of the regulator’s new, tougher review process.
TransCanada shares were slightly higher on Thursday, an indication that investors weren’t surprised by the news, considering TransCanada announced last month it would undergo a “careful review” of the process.
“We were not assigning much of a probability of the project proceeding as scheduled,” TD Bank analyst Linda Ezergailis said in a note to clients after the cancellation was announced.
Energy East was an oil pipeline, but the Eastern Mainline project, which was also killed on Thursday, would have transported natural gas along the north shore of Lake Ontario.
New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant said in a statement that the company’s decision not to move forward with Energy East is “not good news” for those who wanted to see the pipeline built, including the provincial government.
“Like many New Brunswickers, we are disappointed. The project would have created jobs in New Brunswick and helped the Canadian economy,” Gallant said.
His counterpart in Alberta, Premier Rachel Notley, echoed those sentiments, saying, “We are deeply disappointed by the recent decision from TransCanada. We understand that it is driven by a broad range of factors that any responsible business must consider. Nonetheless, this is an unfortunate outcome for Canadians.”
The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association expressed its disappointment with the decision, and blamed governments for forcing the company’s hand.
“The loss of this major project means the loss of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars for Canada, and will significantly impact our country’s ability to access markets for our oil and gas,” CEPA said.
“Pipelines are the only viable way to move large quantities of oil and natural gas to markets, safely and responsibly. With global demand for energy expected to rise and extensive supply potential in Western Canada, Canada will be missing out on a significant economic opportunity if governments do not see value in pipeline projects such as Energy East.”
Kellie Leitch arrives at the Conservative summer caucus retreat in Halifax on Sept. 13. (Photo: Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)
The Huffington Post Canada | 12/06/2016
Conservative leadership hopeful Kellie Leitch is pledging to “lock up” and monitor Canadians who unlawfully protest pipeline projects if she becomes prime minister.
Leitch made the promise in her latest incendiary press release, sent hours before a bilingual debate in Moncton, N.B., in which she affirmed support for the Energy East pipeline project.
“We will not tolerate acts of vandalism or violence from those who would illegally stand in the way of the economic prosperity of our people,” the Tory MP said in the release. “There is a place for legitimate protest, but we will lock up the agitators and activists who resort to vandalism and violence when they do not get their way.”
She promised to create a “new force” comprised of “specialized components” of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Canada Revenue Agency and Global Affairs Canada. Such a group would “coordinate investigations, freeze bank accounts, and lay charges” against illegal protesters.
And she also pledged to “classify environmental lobbying as a political activity to ensure transparency in funding and get international money out of the process.” Canadian charitable foundations can currently maintain their tax exempt status as long as no more than 10 per cent of their resources are dedicated to political activities.
“We will lock up the agitators and activists who resort to vandalism and violence when they do not get their way.”
“If people choose for their own reasons not to be peaceful, then the government of Canada, through its defence forces, through its police forces, will ensure that people will be kept safe,” Carr said.
Jim Carr, right, Minister of Natural Resources, speaks as Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, appear at a press conference in Richmond, B.C., on Sept. 27. (Photo: Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)
In question period Friday, B.C. NDP MP Randall Garrison urged the defence minister to remind his colleague the “federal government has no such authority to use our military against pipeline protests.” Transport Minister Marc Garneau said Liberals see peaceful protest as a “cornerstone” of Canadian democracy.
Elizabeth May ready to go to jail fighting pipeline
The $6.8-billion Kinder Morgan project is expected to yield more protests from indigenous groups and climate change activists who argue the federal government lacks the “social license” to greenlight the project.
“If there are blockades as construction begins, I’m more than prepared to be there to block construction and be arrested and go to jail,” May said in an interview last week. “This is not an issue where you compromise.”
Tyler Fourth, a Standing Rock Sioux, dances while working a checkpoint at Sacred Stone Camp near Cannonball, ND on Friday, September 9, 2016. Fourth is cautiously optimistic about the situation but has no intention of leaving yet, saying “it’s not over till it’s over.”
‘Spirit camps’ the future of anti-pipeline protests
The caravan rumbled east on a back road in rural North Dakota, pickup trucks and hippie vans inching through the grey-green hills, searching for a passage through the shifting blockade. Overhead, a helicopter circled. Police trucks whipped by on the ground.
The Water Protectors of the Oceti Sakowin, Red Warrior and Sacred Stone spirit camps, near Cannon Ball, ND, set out that day to shut down construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, a US$3.8-billion project that aims to connect the Bakken oil fields with a transport hub near Patoka, Illinois. If completed, Dakota Access could handle some 570,000 barrels of oil per day. That’s nearly half of North Dakota’s entire daily production. But though much of the pipe is already in the ground, the project itself—like Keystone XL before it—is in jeopardy.
While the world watches as their movement is live-streamed on social media, indigenous protesters have banded together with major environmental groups like the Sierra Club and 350.org to fight Dakota Access. For now, they’ve battled the pipeline’s owners — including Canada’s Enbridge Inc. — to a standstill. Protesters have confronted construction teams on pipeline sites near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, south of Bismarck. Lawyers for the tribe have tied the project up in litigation and campers are now clashing with police.
On Thursday, police in riot gear used sound cannons, bean bag guns and pepper spray to drive protesters from a camp on private land directly in the pipeline’s path. The hours-long confrontation, watched live on Facebook by tens of thousands of viewers, was the most heated yet of the increasingly prominent occupation. More than 140 people were arrested, according to the Morton County Sheriff’s office. Several cars were set on fire. Despite the setback, the protesters have vowed to carry on. “We won’t step down from this fight,”Dave Archambault II, one of the organizers, said in a statement Thursday night.
Protestors march to a construction site for the Dakota Access Pipeline to express their opposition to the pipeline, at an encampment where hundreds of people have gathered to join the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s to protest against the construction of the new oil pipeline, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, on September 3, 2016.
The protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline are in many ways an outgrowth of the ones fought against Keystone XL. But they are also something bigger and something new. The camps that have sprung up in the Plains south of Bismarck have drawn what some are calling the largest gathering of Native American tribes in history. Thousands of people, from what organizers say is more than 200 tribes, have come from all over the United States — and some from much further — to join the occupation. Hundreds have vowed not to leave until they win.
One organizer has called this moment the beginning of a new Native Civil Rights Movement. Whatever is happening here, organizers are hoping it will spread. They want Standing Rock to become the new normal on pipeline sites — in the United States, and in Canada too.
The Standing Rock Sioux Reservation begins 40 minutes south of Bismarck in a hilly stretch of the Great Plains where actual tumbleweeds still blow across the roads. The protest camps straddle the reservation’s northern border. Oceti Sakowin, the largest of the three camps, sits in a hollow between two hills on the banks of the Cannonball River. From the highway it appears as if from nowhere—a riot of colour in a sea of yellowing grass.
The camps have drawn as many 8,000 people at a time, according to organizers. But the pipeline protests started modestly. In fact, according to Jonathan Edwards, they all began with a video game.
Edwards lives in McLaughlin, SD, the largest town on the Standing Rock reservation. Last December, he was hanging out with friends, “and we were playing Call of Duty or something, and somebody was scrolling through Facebook and saw a small little article about the (pipeline).”
By that point, plans for Dakota Access were in their final stages and construction was nearly underway. The pipeline is a catch-up of sorts. Oil production in North Dakota has exploded in the last 13 years, from fewer than 30 million barrels a year in 2003 to more than 429 million barrels in 2015. But the infrastructure didn’t keep up. For years, more than half the crude oil leaving North Dakota has moved by rail. Dakota Access, owned by a consortium of energy companies, including Enbridge and Energy Transfer Partners out of Texas, was supposed to solve that problem.
The pipeline company held public hearings in North Dakota starting in May 2015. But Edwards said he had never heard of the project before reading about it last December. He was shocked to discover that if completed the pipeline would cross under Lake Oahe, on the Missouri river, just a few kilometres outside the Standing Rock border. “So we did a little research about it, found out it’s an actual thing, and just basically started organizing a few local people to see what we could possibly do to … defeat it.”
Law enforcement officers line the street in front of the Morton County Courthouse in Mandan, N.D., as Dakota Access Pipeline protesters stand on the opposite side of the street on Monday, Oct. 17, 2016.
Indigenous opponents of Dakota Access have two broad complaints. One is that the pipeline crosses through traditional tribal territory, home to sacred sites. The other is that, by passing under the Missouri River, the pipeline would put the tribe’s water supply at risk. The protest’s main slogan, whispered among supporters like a benediction, is “Water is life.”
Edwards and his friends were well positioned to make a stink. His uncle Vernon runs the local radio station. His sister Honorata works for the local newspaper. But in the early going, interest was paltry. “Not a lot of people showed up at the local meetings,” he said. That began to change after his sister reached out to Joye Braun, an activist from a nearby reserve who played a significant role in the fight against Keystone XL.
Braun, in her words, “heard the call” from Standing Rock in late January. The grassroots of the tribe, she said, felt they weren’t getting enough information about the project. “So we sold a bunch of cinnamon rolls and got gas money and all headed up here to Standing Rock to see what we could do.”
At a meeting in late February, Braun pitched the idea of a ‘spirit camp’ — a hub for prayer and action that could serve as a focal point for opponents of the pipeline. Ladonna Brave Bull Allard, who now runs the Standing Rock tribal historic preservation office, offered a chunk of land that directly abuts the nearest pipeline site, to the campers. And on April 1, Braun and her cousin Wiyaka Eagleman pitched their tents and the Sacred Stone Spirit Camp was born.
There are several theories on how that tiny campout of two people grew into the large occupation it is today. Ruth Hopkins, a columnist for Indian Country Today, thinks coverage in Native media contributed, as did a series of protest runs—including one from Cannon Ball to Washington D.C.—put on by local youth.
By the summer, several large environmental groups helped “amplify” the message, according to Josh Nelson, campaign manager for Credo Action. The movement gained celebrity support, including from actress Shailene Woodley (who was arrested while protesting in North Dakota in October) and Leonardo DiCaprio.
The camps grew steadily through the summer. The original Sacred Stone Camp on Allard’s land eventually sprouted two shadow camps on land owned by the Army Core of Engineers outside the reservation. But they only truly mushroomed in September. The major reason for that influx, organizers believe, was a violent clash between protesters and private guards that went viral online.
Journalist Amy Goodman, left, speaks with supporters in Mandan, North Dakota before learning the rioting charge filed against her was dismissed by a SouthCentral district judge Monday, Oct. 17, 2016.
On Sept. 3, Ladonna Allard was speaking to a journalist when her phone rang. “Amy Goodman (from Democracy Now) was sitting in the camp interviewing me…when they called me and said ‘Ladonna! The bulldozers are here’,” Allard said. Dakota Access crews were digging up a pipeline site on a ranch just north of the reserve. “I said ‘I’m on my way. And I hung up my phone and Amy said ‘I’m following you.’ ”
Cody Hall, a spokesman for the Red Warrior camp, was also there that day. “We had one of the elder ladies come driving by,” he said. “She saw the bulldozers. She yelled, ‘We need everybody to come out! The bulldozers are on sacred land!’ So, the campers scrambled onto horses and into cars and raced up the highway.”
What happened next was captured on film and posted online from multiple angles, but it remains nonetheless the subject of bitter dispute. Protesters from the camps confronted the workers, first from outside the fence, with shouts like “Criminals!” and “Go get your money somewhere else.” Eventually, they surged through the wire and came face to face with a team of private security guards.
After everything was over that day, the Morton County Sheriff’s office released a statement decrying the protest as an “unlawful … riot.” The sheriff said guards were attacked with wooden posts and flagpoles, and a dog was trampled by a horse. The protesters maintain the guards attacked them, and they were sprayed with some kind of caustic chemical. Hall said dogs bit about 12 people. One worker threw a demonstrator to the ground.
Regardless, the footage — of snarling dogs straining toward men and women with their hands in the air — provided a defining visual for the growing camp. “What I saw was (like) the images of America from the 1950s and 1960s, where they used dogs on black people,” said Hall. “It threw me right back to that time in history.”
Wulff Cole, a member of the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde, in Oregon, drove 25 hours to join the camp because of that footage. “When I first heard about that I said, ‘I have to be there or I’ll never forgive myself.’” Organizers say that after the confrontation with the dogs, the camps ballooned in size.
By mid-October, Oceti Sakowin looked like a cross between a summer camp and a music festival. White tipis shared space with green army tents and flags in a cavalcade of shades. There were converted buses, port-a-potties, a legal clinic, horse paddocks and campfires. Near the central hub, heaps of donated clothes sat near stacks of wood and supplies of rice, beans and other staples.
“The first night I was here, I sat at the fire, listened (to the speeches) came back to my tent and I cried all night,” said Lavina Lawrence, who has been living at the camp for more than six weeks. “It’s just…the love of the people, the healing, the energy, is just so strong. It’s overwhelming.”
Organizers of the Standing Rock movement insist the camp and the protests are peaceful. Not everyone agrees. One judge in a civil suit filed by Dakota Access wrote in a recent ruling that “to suggest all of the protest activities to date have been ‘peaceful’ and law-abiding defies common sense and reality.”
In the communities surrounding the camps, meanwhile, there’s a sense of fear. Several people said they were afraid to speak on the record because they feared retaliation from the camps. One woman said her friends were organizing a class on concealed weapons for those intimidated by the protesters. Santana Hettich, who lives nearby, actually spent several weeks at the camp this summer, but she said she wouldn’t go back now. “I supported it…I wanted to stand with them because I’m Native American,” she said. “Now I just think there are too many people there for the wrong reasons.”
Camp organizers blame those fears on local media and local police.
Members of the Pikuni Blackfeet Nation march into Sacred Stone Camp near Cannonball, ND
The sheriff’s office did not return a request for comment. But in recent press conferences the sheriff and other county officials have defended their officers as “incredibly professional and unbelievably restrained.”
What is clear is that it wouldn’t take much—from either side—for something truly awful to happen here. The police are heavily armed and overworked; sheriffs have been called in from all over North Dakota, and now eight other states, to bolster the Morton County crew. “I think the whole county is on edge,” said Jeremy Stenerson, who lives in nearby Flasher. “Emotions are escalating and I think that just increases the chances of an accidental trigger pull or some silly accident that sets it all off.”
Last Saturday, protesters slipped from the camps, up the highway and into the fields where the pipeline will go. They popped the tires on a pickup truck then used bike locks and chains to attach themselves to the vehicle, hoping to block the construction path. A few hours later, hundreds more demonstrators marched up the highway and into the fields where they met a line of officers armed with pepper spray and other weapons.
Marching with the protesters that day was Kabale Niquay, a member of the Atikamekw Nation in Quebec. Niquay drove down to Standing Rock from Manawan, northwest of Quebec City, in mid-September. His Facebook page is full now of photos from inside the camps and at the demonstrations. In one, he poses in a camouflage jacket, a bandana pulled over his face. “A good day,” he wrote in French, “to go the front.”
Niquay said he came to support this protest in solidarity with the local Dakota and Lakota people. “All nations are rising up,” he said. But he’s also hoping to drum up support for a spirit camp of his own next summer, in Quebec, in opposition to the Energy East pipeline.
Riders of all ages gather on the hilltop at Sacred Stone Camp near Cannonball
Niquay isn’t the only Canadian to have joined the Standing Rock protests. Cars with Manitoba, Ontario and Alberta plates are littered throughout the Oceti Sakowin camp. Others, meanwhile, have noticed from afar. Jonathan Edwards spoke recently with a First Nations group in British Columbia. They were looking for advice, he said, on setting up their own anti-pipeline camps.
Edwards hopes this does launch something larger, all across North America. But he hasn’t lost site of his original goal. “I know what my role is here, which is to do whatever I have to do to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.”
Vicky Granado, a spokeswoman for Energy Transfer Partners, said the plan is still to have the pipeline ready for service by the end of this year. Meanwhile, the company has always maintained that it did everything right here. Dakota Access obtained all necessary easements and rights of way, its lawyers wrote in one court filing, it obtained all federal, state and local permits to cross the Missouri River at Lake Oahe, and it conducted extensive consultations with affected tribes.
Despite that, the federal government still ordered a temporary halt to pipeline construction within two miles of Lake Oahe in September. That moratorium remains in place, for now.
As for the campers, some have vowed to stay through the winter, if necessary. Last Saturday, police arrested more than 120 protesters after a day of heated clashes that saw several people pepper sprayed. The next morning, the campers pushed out again, moving out in the pink dawn to set up a new camp on private land, directly in the pipeline’s path.
The company vowed in a statement that trespassers who refused to leave would be removed — and on Thursday they made good on their promise.
The protesters are unbowed. “I don’t think they really understood who the people are descended from who they’re trying to lay this pipeline through,” said Edwards. “I mean my mother’s last name was Shoots The Enemy. She’s deceased now. But I don’t think she got that name weaving baskets.”
Katzie First Nation Chief Susan Miller (left) and her sister, Debbie Miller, stand with protesters outside the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain hearings in Burnaby, B.C. on Wed. Jan. 20, 2016. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.
First Nations in opposition of Trudeau government’s approval of pipelines
By Elizabeth McSheffrey | National Observer
First Nations chiefs across Canada haven’t discussed the details of the plan yet, but they aren’t ruling anything out if the Trudeau government approves the construction of a major pipeline project that crosses their territory without their consent. Several are still waiting on the results of court cases before they make their move, and others are already preparing for the worst.
“You may see hordes descending upon Parliament Hill,” said Chief Susan Miller, of the Katzie First Nation in B.C. “We have had some discussion around what civil action would look like, and I think the more we work together, that’s what brings out the hordes. It’s an impressive sight, to see thousands of people coming out for a common cause.”
Last year, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau campaigned on a promise to renew nation-to-nation relations with Indigenous communities, and has repeatedly told Canadians since then that “governments grant permits, communities grant permission.” And after thehistoric signingof a pan-continental Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion, Indigenous leaders have renewed their resolve to hold him to those promises with all resources available to them.
“In that crowd, you’re not just going to see First Nations people, you’re going to see your neighbour next door who doesn’t support this either,” Chief Miller, whose community is fighting Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion pipeline, told National Observer.
“We’re just the vessel to push that all through, and I think when the numbers speak like that, the government can’t continue to disregard [us].”
Tsleil-Waututh spokesperson Rueben George, Coun. Charlene Aleck, and manager of cultural relations Gabriel George open the signing ceremony for the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion in Vancouver, B.C. on Thurs. Sept. 22, 2016
Youth action in Ottawa in October
Nearly 90 Indigenous leaders in Canada and the U.S. have already signed the Treaty Alliance, which aims not only to protect their territories from pipeline, tanker, and rail projects, but to move society towards cleaner, leaner, living as well. Major proposals they take issue with include Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion (from Alberta to B.C.), TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline (from Alberta to New Brunswick), and Enbridge Northern Gateway (from Alberta to B.C.)
But the presence of non-Indigenous allies, including a number of environmental organizations, at its signing ceremonies in Montreal and Vancouver, add weight to Chief Miller’s claim: Indigenous activists in North America are not alone.
“We strive to act in solidarity with Indigenous folks,” said Gabriel D’Astous, a recent graduate of the University of British Columbia and pipeline protest organizer for Climate 101. “They’ve been on the front lines and blocking tar sands projects that threaten the earth and water, and have been defending their rights and lands for years and decades now.”
D’Astous and his team are organizing a youth rally in Ottawa on Oct. 24 to urge the Trudeau government to reject the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion, which has been opposed by at least 21 municipalities and 17 First Nations in Western Canada. He said he, and many of the other protesters, are willing to be arrested in what he hopes will be the largest youth civil disobedience action of its kind in Canada.
Youth have been a powerful force in pipeline protests across the country, including this demonstration against the Trans Mountain expansion in Vancouver, B.C. on Aug. 17, 2016. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.
Preparing for pipeline protests
While First Nations, environmentalists and other key stakeholders across North America argue that oilsands expansion increases the risk of catastrophic oil spills, threatens critical marine and terrestrial ecosystems, and pushes international climate targets out of reach, energy companies argue that they will revitalize struggling Canadian economies by bringing energy to overseas markets. Industry also argues that they are using state-of-the-art technology that promotes responsible development of resources such as the vast oilsands deposits in Alberta – considered to be the world’s third largest reserve of crude oil after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
All of the major pipeline companies say they are also trying to work collaboratively with First Nations. For example, Kinder Morgan says it has signed more than 20 “mutual benefit agreements” with Indigenous communities along the route of its Trans Mountain corridor. These would be confidential agreements that could include education and training for pipeline construction jobs as well as improvements to community services, infrastructure and other benefits.
Greenpeace — one of the loudest environmental organizations speaking out against pipelines — doesn’t buy industry’s logic. Since the start of the year, it has trained 800 protesters across Canada with new skills in non-violent action, civil disobedience, and media communications during 40 training sessions conducted in B.C., Alberta, Ontario, Nunavut, and Quebec.
Calls requesting the training sessions peaked after the National Energy Board (NEB) conditionally recommended the Trans Mountain expansion in May, said trainer and organizer Earyn Wheatley, and have been steady since the conflict of interest scandalinvolving former Quebec premier Jean Charest, TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline, and the NEB was brought to light over the summer.
“I think there could be unprecedented mobilization and action in opposition to these pipelines if the projects go forward in the way that they have been,” the Greenpeace staffer explained. “That’s definitely a core interest of people who are coming to participate in these trainings — they’re very concerned about those pipelines, and many are saying that the NEB process has been very problematic.”
The organization plans to hold 15 more protest training sessions before the end of the year, with those in Quebec targeting Energy East, and those in B.C. targeting the Trans Mountain expansion, which is due for a decision from the federal government on Dec. 19. Teagan Stacey, a graduate of these trainings, has even started her own non-violent ‘kayaktivist’ group called the BC Seawolves, which will stand in solidarity against Trans Mountain with Greenpeace and First Nations.
“We’re showing the government that we’re not going to let this go through, and if they think they can push it through where members of this oppose it, we’re going to make sure it’s stopped,” she told National Observer. “We recognize this has huge implications for the rest of our country, and the rest of the world through tar sands expansion. All of that we bring with us out in the water.”
Kayaktivists target the Kinder Morgan terminal in Burnaby, B.C. during a protests against the company’s Trans Mountain expansion on Sat. May 14, 2016. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.
First Nations happy to have cross-Canada allies
While not all Indigenous nations in Canada are opposed to oilsands expansions, and some have signed on in support of pipelines crossing their territories, those who oppose the energy projects are happy to have allies across the country. They’re also happy to serve as allies to others, said Tsleil-Waututh First Nation spokesperson Rueben George, who recently visited the Standing Rock Sioux fighting the Dakota access pipeline in North Dakota.
He said their movement, which has recently prompted a halt in construction of the controversial pipeline, has been guided by their elders, cultural, and spiritual values, and the movement in Canada will be too.
“I know [our] elders, community and leadership have been doing the same thing,” he told National Observer. “Campaign promises were made to boost not only the health of First Nations and nation-to-nation negotiation, but economics as well. Doors are opening for that. I’m excited about that.”
Chief Terry Teegee of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council in Prince George, B.C., who met George at the Treaty Alliance signing in Vancouver on Thursday, said he too, is excited about the shifting relationship between First Nations, governments, and the rest of Canada. What’s happening in North Dakota at the Standing Rock Sioux camp will most certainly be replicated across the provinces, he explained, “if it comes to that.”
“I think [pipeline approval] will be for I believe, many First Nations, a tipping point of our relations with government and corporations where we’ll have to stand up for what we feel is right, and protect our rights and title, and Mother Earth,” he said at the signing. “We very much appreciate the outside help. It feels great knowing we have allies out there.”
This article was originally published by By Elizabeth McSheffrey in the National Observer on September 27th 2016
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