(Vancouver, BC) If proven to be true that Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) has taken cash in exchange for their approval of the controversial and contentious Northern Gateway Pipelines Project in Northern BC, it will certainly be among the most explicit questionable acts in the history of Métis people fighting for their rights in Canada.
The First Nation and environmental opposition is almost insurmountable against Enbridge who is proposing to build their Northern Gateway Pipelines Project from the tar sands in Alberta over streams, rivers and watersheds to the pristine waters off the west coast digging mainly through First Nations land claims being negotiated in the ongoing treaty process.The BC Métis Federation has learned that MNBC representatives were in Calgary this week to further negotiate with Enbridge and we assume to shore up MNBC support for the Northern Gateway Pipelines Project.
BC Métis Federation President Henry stated, “I do not understand how many of our Métis people stand by while MNBC continues to try and sell our rights o the highest bidder. MNBC leaders have completely mishandled consultation with their communities for this project. Read the Northern Gateway application submission specially Volume 5 (www.northerngateway.ca) that identifies Aboriginal consultation. You have to click on the Project Details tab and then click on the Regulatory Consultation and Application to see how Enbridge and MNBC have carried on their work over the years. According to the current documents in Volume 5A Aboriginal Engagement pages 279 – 283 MNBC has been acting on behalf of North East Métis Association, Tri-River Métis Association, Prince George Métis Community Association, North West BC Métis Community Association, and New Caledonia Métis Association. ”
President Henry further added, “The Enbridge project application describes the work with MNBC as extensive have completing a number of discussions over the past number of years, including an Enbridge investment in an independent Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Study. Perhaps this is the work the new MNBC environmental company has completed or is engaged with that was announced by MNBC last November. Regardless what is clear to the BC Métis Federation is that there is absolutely no MNBC information or reporting for their MNBC members about any of these ongoing discussions. This questions who was involved allegedly in representing all Métis people and what were the outcomes? Was this discussed with the Métis communities and families potentially most affected if the pipelines are built?”
President Henry further added, “Most people do not even understand the regulatory process on such megaprojects. The Northern Gateway Pipelines Project is now before the Joint Review Panel and the consultation has essentially been limited as the National Energy Board Joint Review Panel will be asked to make a determination on the merits of the project based in the work submitted by Enbridge as of this last year. We all see MNBC has now registered as an intervenor at most Joint Review Panel hearings and we have attached a word for word copy of the MNBC presentation by MNBC Director of Natural Resources Mr. Gary Ducommun. He continues to suggest MNBC speaks for all Métis and moreover that a decision to either support or not support the project will be made at the upcoming MNGA in March. Ironically MNBC just posted 15 resolutions for the MNGA and not one speaks to this issue. We believe MNBC has been provided significant resources to date from Enbridge and they have completely misled Enbridge and the Federal Joint Review Panel about their mandate. ”
President Henry concluded, “I hope Métis people review the online documents on the Northern Gateway website and understand the MNBC mishandling of consultation has now limited every Métis person in BC. The ability for more input and to intervene is closed and MNBC meeting with Enbridge in Calgary earlier this week is likely a strategy meeting to see how MNBC can now sell support for the project after the fact to Métis people. The BC Métis Federation is not against all industry development but any project consultation must be community and family based so people can make an informed decision. I am not aware of the hundreds of so called people Mr. Ducommun claims that MNBC consulted or any resources MNBC provided to their communities to assist them better understand the project. Most Métis people have no idea that they have already been co-opted into the Northern Gateway project as supportive with no real ability to affect the outcome now. I am sure MNBC has already signed on in support and only they can clarify what they have actually done.
This MNBC mismanagement and inability to govern important issues properly will negatively affect the Métis in this province. I can only imagine the damage to Métis and First Nations relationships as I know first hand the strong majority First Nation opposition to this project. I also know there is great concern about the role MNBC is playing to potentially support the project in light of the lack of First Nation protocol and questions of First Nation land ownership. MNBC and Enbridge better realize that they do not speak for all Métis people in BC if any deal has been signed. People time to get more involved, review the facts and consider all action. This is just another bad example of how bad governance will hurt the Métis people.”
[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/BCMF-Press-Release-February-11th-2012.pdf” style=”download”]BCMF Press Release February 11th, 2012[/ilink]
[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/Métis-Nation-of-BC-Oral-Hearing-January-111.pdf” style=”download”]Métis Nation of BC-Oral Hearing January 11[/ilink]
[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/DennisOuelette-Prince-George-Citizen.pdf” style=”download”]DennisOuelette – Prince George Citizen[/ilink]
BC Métis Federation
Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2
You can now follow BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry on twitter @keithhenryMetis