Métis Nation Economic Development Northern Gateway Summit 2012

Dear Métis people and communities;

The BC Métis Federation was first to report this last week about the recent meeting MNBC representatives attended in Calgary with Enbridge. It has become clear why MNBC representatives continue to meet with Enbridge given the announcement of the Northern Gateway Pipelines project summit now scheduled for March 14th and 15th in Grand Prairie, Alberta presented by Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC), Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA), and Métis National Council (MNC).

MNBC, MNA, and MNC have put their organizations front and center to host a summit to discuss the project, procurement, access to capital, etc. The scheduling of this summit presents the true picture of what MNBC, MNA, and MNC are supporting regarding the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines project. By stark contrast MNBC officials have attended as interveners in the ongoing Joint Review Panel process that is reviewing the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project in behalf of the National Energy Board. MNBC officials have stated repeatedly that MNBC has not taken any position regarding this deeply divisive project. In fact MNBC has stated a decision would be made at the upcoming Métis Nation Governing Assembly (MNGA) March 9th and 10th in Richmond. Clearly MNBC, MNA, and MNC are supporting the project in light of this summit although the mandate of any of these organizations is questionable at best and any public presentations at the Joint Review Panel are not straight forward.

The true risk here is twofold. First in terms of how Enbridge will consider this summit a form of consultation and there will be an accurate record of all discussions that will be entered in their consultation process by Enbridge. This has a direct impact on all Métis communities when future decisions are made by the Joint Review Panel in consideration of the potential impacts on Métis people. The Métis people of Kelly Lake have historic connections in Northeast BC as well into Grand Prairie. The Kelly Lake Métis Settlement Society (KLMSS) was not made aware of this event in any manner prior to this announcement and would not have supported any such event at this time. The lack of protocol and meaningful consultation by Enbridge has driven most all of the First Nations in British Columbia to fight this project aggressively and to many observers, they really are not that surprised by this action. KLMSS will be in discussions with various First Nation leaders to consider how to address this summit given the surprise position of the MNBC to present this event right in their backyard with absolutely no consultation. These acts showcase the absolute contempt MNBC has for any community input on display once more.

The second risk is the position and legitimacy of MNBC to support the project without community understanding, awareness, and mandate. MNBC has never been mandated to sign any agreements with Enbridge regarding the Northern Gateway Pipelines Project and why did MNBC leaders agree to “present” this summit? It appears MNBC (as well as MNA and MNC) are deeply committed as presenters and raises the question whether or not they have already signed the Northern Gateway Pipelines Project “equity deal” without being honest with the Métis people in BC and elsewhere? I have repeatedly stated that most Métis people in BC are not in favour of this project for a variety of reasons. The number one Métis concern at this time focuses on the importance of respecting the position of the First Nations in BC who have legitimate claim to the land and have committed to fight the project at every step, regardless of any Prime Minister statements.

This is another example of the lengths MNBC, MNA, and MNC will go to in the midst of the overall Aboriginal controversy facing the project from Alberta, British Columbia, and North West Territories. These organizations do not have any “land” and there is no legitimate need to have a Northern Gateway Pipelines Project summit as the Joint Review Panel process will take the next two years to complete. There most certainly will be legal opposition by various environmental and First Nation interests that will further delay and result in the stopping of this project. Any summit about future Northern Gateway Pipelines Project work that could be decades away, if ever, is only a cash grab by MNBC, MNA, and MNC.

I strongly encourage all Métis people to understand the seriousness of what could unfold here and not to consider attending or supporting this summit. The lack of leadership by MNBC, MNA, and MNC will put Métis people in direct conflict with the majority of First Nations who are determined to stop this project by any means. It appears MNBC, MNA, and MNC are making decisions in complete isolation of many of their own Métis people, including Kelly Lake who rejects any participation. Finally MNBC actually has their Métis Skills and Employment Center listed as “workforce development”, the same place that is currently up for sale.

I hope Métis people will review our online questionnaire regarding your position on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project located on our website and complete so the BC Métis Federation can take your voice forward. The survey is open until the end of February and we continue discussions with key First Nation leaders to consider mutual interests. The decision by MNBC, MNA, and MNC to act as presenters for this Summit is very concerning. Time to get involved by registering your position through our online poll and do not attend this summit.

Thank you,

Keith Henry
cc BCMF Board of Directors
BCMF Members
Métis People of BC

[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/BC-Metis-Federation-Letter-to-Metis-People-of-BC-February-16th-2012.pdf” style=”download”]Click here to download this letter in PDF format.[/ilink]
[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/Metis_Gateway_Summit_2012a-11.pdf” style=”download”]MNBC/MNA/MNC Gateway Summit[/ilink]

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