(Vancouver, BC) The BC Métis Federation is releasing a statement to our 7300 Métis constituents and partners communities in response to the Government of Canada’s decision to approve the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project yesterday subject to meeting the 209 conditions.
The Government of Canada has approved the Enbridge project that will enable approximately 525,000 barrels per day of raw bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands to the coast of British Columbia in Kitimat. In December 2013 the National Energy Board (NEB) completed their environmental regulatory review and identified 209 conditions that Enbridge must meet prior to and during the construction of the project.
BC Métis Federation took a position in April 2012 against the project through an official resolution. This position was reinforced when BC Métis Federation submitted a letter of comment during the NEB review process in August 2012. Since this time BC Métis Federation has attempted to support this position through various correspondences to the Government of Canada and Enbridge. BC Métis Federation leadership was invited to meet with the Government of Canada appointed Special Representative on West Coast Energy Infrastructure Mr. Douglas Eyford in October 2013. This led to additional conversations in January 2014 between BC Métis Federation and the Government of Canada. Most recently BC Métis Federation facilitated Métis community forums regarding the Enbridge project to better understand the 209 conditions and how Enbridge was proposing to address these as they relate to the concerns of Métis people represented by the BC Métis Federation.
BC Métis Federation President Henry stated; “I am deeply concerned about the affects of this Government of Canada decision yesterday to approve the project. There was immediate public reaction and I expect significant civil and legal challenges yet to be deployed by various First Nations, municipal, and environmental groups in British Columbia. I know the majority of Métis people, as well of British Columbians, remain in opposition and BC Métis Federation leadership is carefully examining our next steps.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry added; “The Provincial Government remains steadfast that Enbridge has yet to meet their five conditions. In addition a number of First Nation leaders are preparing for their next steps in terms of legal and other means. Our leadership will also seek further dialogue with various Aboriginal leadership and Government to ensure no misunderstandings about the concerns of our members.”
BC Métis Federation President further added; “The other Métis organization in British Columbia, Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC), has now released a public statement today in support of the Enbridge project. BC Métis Federation has documented the dysfunction of the decision by MNBC when they announced signing the equity agreement with Enbridge on behalf of all Métis people in British Columbia in May 2012 with no mandate or support. MNBC continues to suggest they represent the majority of Métis people in British Columbia because of these very deals with companies like Enbridge. Deals where compensation for impacts to our Métis community is going to a provincial political organization and will be spent on millions in MNBC debt with no support for the families and communities actually impacted. Moreover it is incredible for MNBC to suggest their represent the majority of 70,000 Métis people in British Columbia when in fact during their last province wide election MNBC had a mere 600 voters and many of the MNBC elected positions could not even field a candidate.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry further added, “Our position has not changed since April 2012 when we passed our resolution and defined by three issues. Our position was defined by the fact that Enbridge and the Government of Canada have not properly consulted Métis people most affected by the project, we respect the legal territorial claims by First Nations, and all proposed benefits must be for the Métis members and land owners most directly affected. Today these issues are yet to be full resolved. Furthermore the 209 conditions identified by the NEB strengthen our position as a number related to Aboriginal communities and people. In my view the challenge will be establishing the criteria for Enbridge and the Government of Canada that benchmark how these conditions are being met. Therefore BC Métis Federation will continue to advance this conversation in a respectful and forthright manner to ensure Enbridge and the Government of Canada have no misunderstandings about what our Métis constituents support or not and how we define when the conditions are met. We are a long way off from this today.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry concluded; “The Government of Canada decision was predictable. As Métis people consider your next steps and I urge patience and careful planning with our leadership. As individuals you have every right to assert your views at attend protests. BC Métis Federation leadership will explore all avenues and we believe there are more options available to address our concerns and interests. BC Métis Federation is reviewing options based on our recent project meetings, resolution in 2012, and future discussions with our community that will be planned in the near future.”
Bruce Dumont Statement on Northern Gateway
ABBOTSFORD, BC, June 17, 2014 /CNW/ – “We’re pleased with today’s announcement by the federal government to allow the Northern Gateway project to proceed. As President of Métis Nation BC that represents 34 Métis Chartered Communities and many of the nearly 70,000 self-identified Metis in British Columbia, I know first-hand the enormous economic and social opportunities our resource sector can provide to Métis people in BC.
“There are some 17,000 Metis working in the resource sector today in wide-ranging fields from lawyers and accountants to pipefitters, electricians, welders, consultants and engineers. These are good, well-paying jobs that support families and communities, including our Metis communities.
“My organization is mandated to develop and enhance opportunities for Métis communities by implementing culturally relevant social and economic programs and services. Allowing the Northern Gateway to proceed goes a long way toward helping support those initiatives.”
Bruce Dumont is President of Metis Nation BC.
SOURCE Métis Nation BC
Keith Henry, President BC Métis Federation
You can now follow BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry on twitter @keithhenryMetis