In an interview on national television this morning a leader of the Yinka Dene Alliance spoke with quiet conviction about their opposition to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. The Alliance were in Toronto in order to attend Enbridge’s AGM to explain again why they will not let the pipeline through their traditional territory.
I was drinking my first cup of coffee for the day and didn’t catch the dignified woman’s name. She quietly explained that they represented over 130 First Nations groups in the province of BC and had gathered support from other indigenous people as they travelled from Vancouver to Toronto. Not just indigenous Canadians support their action, over 100 000 have taken the time to sign petitions against the scheme. Her words were striking when she said, “We are the wall. Enbridge shall not pass.”
“We are going to stop this pipeline, and we are proud to have the vast majority of people in BC standing behind us."Market Wire
While many Canadians who live east of BC wonder what the big deal about a pipeline is, once they see the place they can understand. The proposed oil pipeline would pass through numerous water sheds, steep mountains that are subject to earthquakes and end at the pristine cold water of the North Pacific. Supertankers in the hundreds would navigate a narrow twisting channel to load the crude.
The Yinka Dene Alliance marched in Toronto to attend the Enbridge’s AGM to take their places in the front row seats. They participated in the question period. While Enbridge had reported that some First Nations groups had signed on to the project and that the indigenous people were split in their resolve to stop the project, they later were forced to retract that statement.
A proposal by the investment firm NEI Ethical Funds to have the project risks more carefully considered was defeated.
As the Federal Conservatives have changed the laws of the country in the face of mounting opposition to this project, grass roots opposition to it has come together. A listing of BC First Nations groups in opposition can be found on the WestCoast Environmental Law page. Other indigenous groups from provinces and territories have also signed on. The charity Forest Ethics has hived off its advocacy section in order to advocate for the environment. The list of opponents include many from all walks of life.
The oil spill in the Kalamazoo River was from an Enbridge pipeline. The clean up was a coverup in many ways. Much of the crude oil remains covered by floating mats.
If you build it, it will leak.