Enbridge Claims that 60% of Aboriginal Communities Support Claim Unfounded

 (Vancouver, BC) Enbridge Inc. released statements yesterday to the media suggesting that the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project now had 60% support by Aboriginal communities in British Columbia and Alberta. There are serious questions within the Aboriginal communities about how this Enbridge stated figure was arrived at and clearly from the article posted in the Vancouver Sun yesterday it appears Enbridge has included the Métis communities as part of this equation.

Enbridge representative Paul Stanway stated that Enbridge estimates that over 30 years, the 10-per-cent stake in the pipeline would generate revenues of about $280 million. The equity position was allocated on a basis of population and the impact the pipeline would have on communities. Stanway said that not all communities will receive the same number of ownership units. The Enbridge offer, which expired on May 31 at midnight, was made to those first nations and Mètis communities with reserves or traditional territories within 80 kilometers on either side of the proposed pipeline route.

The BC Mètis Federation has been steadfast in seeking a Métis voice regarding the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project. In April BC Mètis Federation leaders decided to oppose the Enbridge project for three reasons. First there has been a complete lack of proper Métis consultation due to the incompetence of a provincial organization known as the Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC). Second the BC Métis Federation recognized the need to ensure respect for First Nations territories and a need to ensure communications in relation to decisions that affect their claimed lands. Third the environmental and cultural risks did appear to be worth the benefits given the limited information for Métis people. It is important to note that this position of opposition was a direct result of BC Métis Federation surveys and community meetings held throughout BC. Today the BC Métis Federation can state that there is over 90% opposition from Métis people throughout BC.

Despite the obvious Métis community and family concerns MNBC signed the Enbridge equity deal announced May 26th with absolutely no mandate from Métis people or communities in British Columbia. It appears the Métis population count is considered in full support now given the Enbridge statements yesterday and this is a significant point as British Columbia has approximately 60,000 self identified Métis people. In some of proposed corridor locations, the Métis population count is greater than the local First Nations. Therefore how Enbridge Inc. reported a 60% Aboriginal community support should be taken into serious evaluation. BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry stated; “The Enbridge Inc. suggestion about support including Métis in British Columbia is absolutely false and misleading the public. MNBC has been provided hundreds of thousands of dollars by Enbridge Inc. and never visited most of their Métis communities they work with to discuss this project. MNBC announced support on behalf of Métis people in BC while the fact is they do not represent all Métis people, and those they represent never had an opportunity to provide direction to MNBC. Their own natural resources committee called the actions by MNBC in May as illegal yet I am sure there is a strong component in this Enbridge equation to assume MNBC represents the collective will of the Métis people in BC.”

President Henry added; “MNBC is a provincial political non-profit board with no established territory and no right to claim any of the lands within the proposed pipelines corridors. There are several Métis community organizations and families who exercise traditional harvesting practices along the proposed project route and these are the people who stand to be impacted, not a provincial board who has offices in Abbotsford. The only recognized settlement is in Kelly Lake where the Métis people have purchased their own lands and they continue to assert their rights to a territory that is well defined. The Kelly Lake Métis Settlement Society has completely opposed the project as this pipeline is proposed to go through their territory right at the Alberta/British Columbia border.”

BC Métis Federation President Henry concluded, “One by one Métis communities in BC are stating their opposition and calling into question MNBC public statements. These are communities who have a current relationship with the MNBC and do not agree. The BC Métis Federation knows there is strong First Nation opposition and this MNBC support could further negatively impact future First Nation/Mètis relationships. The BC Métis Federation will be releasing a report by the end of June that further provides evidence of Métis views regarding the proposed project. MNBC does not represent the views of the large majority of Métis people in BC and Enbridge Inc. should be called into question about their methodology of how their self claimed 60% is arrived at. Furthermore MNBC has yet to be transparent about how much funding Enbridge Inc. and the Federal Government has provided to them for community consultation over the past three years. It appears MNBC benefitted substantially despite n not completing proper Métis community consultation and with this equity signing MNBC is positioning themselves to benefit the 11 board members only without any clear understanding or transparency about how past and future benefits would be managed. MNBC has a proven record of mismanagement and is millions in debt. These are serious issues and Métis people throughout BC continue to watch this issue unfold dumbfounded at the fact that MNBC is a provincial political organization that has no territory along the proposed route that will be impacted.”

For more information about the BC Métis Federation please view the website.

Media Inquiries:
Keith Henry
BC Métis Federation
#300-3665 Kingsway
Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2
Office 1-604-638-7220
Cell 1-778-388-5013
Email k.henry@bcmetis.com

You can now follow BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry on twitter @keithhenryMetis
Download this Letter in PDF format
Coastal First Nations responds to Enbridge equity agreement numbers

8 Responses to Enbridge Claims that 60% of Aboriginal Communities Support Claim Unfounded

  1. Richard Lucier-larson June 6, 2012 at 8:57 am #

    Tansi All;

    Read the claims by Enbridge in this mornings Times Colonist paper.

    I believe a traditional comment on this is , “mustus omi”

    Richard Lucier-larson
    A proud Member of the BC Metis Federation.

  2. Metis Against Enbridge June 6, 2012 at 9:47 am #

    There release is a play on words. The 60% is the percentage on the two reserves that support this project. As for the Metis its 1% and only those that are working in the MNBC office including directors, and those that stand to profit like Sid Peltiers helicopters.
    This quite evident by the lack of any consultation. They signed the agreement based upon their survival and to bail them out from a majorly bad school purchase. They care not of the environmental damage and loss of a first nation/metis way of life

  3. Tim St. Denis June 6, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    Welcome to the world of Aboriginal politics!
    There are many FN groups just like us who have a dictator / fascist governing style and whose leaders have been bought off. We know it and the government knows it. Why do we think they cared less that a school was bought with no consultation? They know all about Aboriginal politics. Keeping the groups divided and squabbling keeps them down. Their worst case scenario would be having us united and organized. 60,000 organized Metis could do a lot of damage to BC and Canadian politics. It would not be in their best interest to have an organized group like the BCMF rising from the ashes like a Phoenix. Come on folks we have an answer to our unity issue right here on a silver platter. What are you waiting for?

    • Marlene June 6, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

      Progress and worldly developments….. well I like to drive my car rather than the transportation of yesteryear, but I could adjust to it if the scenario where to change in that direction. The thing that bothers me about this issue is; I don’t like is being told I was consulted and had an opinion/option about my future when I didn’t. That is not sound leadership its intimidating dictatorship gone amuck

  4. Joe June 6, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    I’m reminded of Rafe Mairs comments in the Tyee in January:

    “A rupture of the Enbridge is inevitable. We must stop calling these ruptures “risks” — they are mathematical certainties. The consequences will be calamitous.”

    Rafe reminds his readers that since 1998 Enbridge and its subsidiaries have had over 800 spills!

    What about jobs? Mair argues that “The plain fact is that we get next to nothing and bear the consequences of the rupture or spill to come. ”

    Rafes further comments included, “Here is the terrible aspect to it all. Canadians and especially British Columbians will be at each others’ throats. There will be violence God only knows how serious. This will, of course, be attributed to those who oppose this dreadful policy. But it is the oil sands backers who are asking for it. Blame the victim is the cry! Neither government cares a damn for us or for our environment….”

    Nor does the MNBC care for Metis people I add…

  5. Earl Belcourt June 6, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    60% my a—. In truth the MNBC couldn’t get the employees to agree with them if it wasn’t for their bullying and manipulating tactics.
    Let’s keep united with the BCMF.

  6. Katrin June 8, 2012 at 2:32 am #

    I have been doing a bit of research on which communities Enbridge has included and found this which I think you will also find interesting. The Prince George Metis Community Association along with the New Caledonia Metis Association are chartered members of the Metis Nation British Columbia (MNBC). Both are listed separately in Enbridge’s Aboriginal engagement report and so is the Metis Nation British Columbia.

    In the report Enbridge states:”The Métis Nation British Columbia represents 37 Métis chartered communities in BC. Geo-referenced mapping for the Métis Nation British Columbia regions was unavailable at the time of this Update, so these regions’ maps in relation to the pipeline RoW have not been included.” Not once did they mention where the 37 communities are yet they do tell where the Prince George and New Caledonia communities are.

    Since Prince George and New Caledonia are registered memberships it appears that Enbridge has decided that this can also include the MNBC. This really doesn’t make sense, why include MNBC when they are dealing with the two communities that are registered with them already.

    I am including the web sites where I have found this information

    Enbridge Northern Gateway Project Update to Section 52 Application Volume 5A Aboriginal Engagement Volume 5B Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge June 2011 Pages 5-279 – 5 -288 http://www.northerngateway.ca/assets/pdf/application/Volume%205A%20-%20Aboriginal%20Engagement%20Update%20-%20June%202011.pdf

    Metis communities within the Metis Nation British Columbia http://mnbc.ca/contact/communities.asp

  7. Keith Henry June 8, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    Thank yo Katrin,

    I have been reading the online application as well. I have major concerns about the manner in which Enbridge has approached and offered consultation with MNBC in relation to the communities. There is actually a few more in this application but there is a flaw for certain.

    Here is the flaw, proponents are to consult with the people who might be impacted. In this case I argue that any Metis communities and families who assert their Aboriginal right and title. Remember Kelly Lake Metis Settlement has asserted titled over a defined territory despite public assumptions that there is no Metis land in BC.

    Therefore how can either Enbridge or MNBC defend a provincial office consultation process that is so disconnected from the people most affected? Yes MNBC will suggest they represent all but when the facts are presented does MNBC have records of their own internal consultation? Moreover did these communities ever have any real say or give a mandate to a provincial board? I highly doubt it.

    Enbridge has no excuse either. They are a multi-billion dollar company who should know how to do Aboriginal consultation. Why have they invested so much money through a provincial office? How did their representatives ensure or measure any claim by MNBC that they could really speak for all Metis people in the pipeline corridor? This is a very serious issue in my view and one that we will bring further clarity to the regulators.

    Sorry Katrin but I cannot fully answer you because the process on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project application does not make sense.

    Take care

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