July 2, 2014 - No. 62
Decision to Proceed with
Northern Gateway Pipeline
No Means No!
Pipeline Approval in Contempt
of the Rights of First Nations
Mass action in Prince
George against the approval of the Enbridge Pipeline, outside of MP
Dick Harris' office,
June 19, 2014. (A. Thomas)
• No Means No! Pipeline Approval in Contempt of
the Rights of First Nations and Canadians
• No to Northern Gateway! Yes to a New
Direction for the Economy! - Peggy Morton
Swearing In of New
• First Nations Remind Government of
Wawangajing -- Ring of
• New Report Raises Social and Environmental
Decision to Proceed with Northern Gateway
No Means No! Northern Gateway Approval in Contempt of
the Rights of First Nations and Canadians
immediate mass action to oppose the approval of the Northern Gateway
June 17, 2014. (M. Bush)
On June 17 the Harper dictatorship announced its
approval of the
Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project, subject to the 209
conditions set out by the Joint Review Panel (JRP) in its conditional
approval of the project, December 19, 2013. The
pipeline would ship up to 525,000 barrels
per day of diluted bitumen (dilbit) to Kitimat, BC. A twinned line
would have the capacity to import and ship 193,000 barrels of diluent
per day east to Alberta.
The Harper government's approval of the Northern Gateway
violates the right of First Nations and Canadians to decide and is in
contempt of the clear expression by Canadians and First Nations that
they have not given their approval to this project. It lacks any legal
or moral authority and is in contempt
of the government's constitutional duty for consultation and
accommodation of the First Nations. A coalition of 160 First Nations
have said 'no,' together with 31 municipal governments, two regional
districts, the Union of BC municipalities and six unions which have
passed resolutions against the project.
Harper and former Minister of Natural Resources Joe
Oliver made it
clear that they would approve the pipeline even before the JRP had
completed its hearings.
Following the JRP decision, the Harperites declared that
"consult" with First Nations before announcing their final decision.
Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford has now declared that Enbridge
must do more to engage Aboriginal groups, showing the lawlessness of
the Harperites who have abandoned
even the pretense that they will act to fulfill their legal and moral
obligations. The obligation to consult First Nations lies not with
private monopoly interests, but with the Crown. The Northern Gateway
pipeline does not have the approval of the First Nations directly
affected and is therefore completely illegitimate.
From start to finish, the approval process has excluded
participation by Canadians. The Harper dictatorship made its decision
on the basis that the benefits to the oil monopolies and other private
interests trump the rights of First Nations, the risks to Mother Earth,
the fisheries and the entire coastal economy.
The decision further endorses the shipping of raw resources, depriving
the Canadian economy of the main bulk of the added-value. This not only
means the loss of the majority of jobs which are in the upgrading,
refining and associated manufacturing of the raw resources, but also
that the transferred-value from social
programs will not be realized and returned to the social institutions
that create the value.
The people of BC, First Nations and Canadians have
by holding rallies and other events to express their No! Constitutional
challenges and other legal challenges have already begun. More than
186,000 people have signed on at Let BC Vote (www.letbcvote.ca) to demand that
of BC should decide. The
BC government has also stated that the BC government's position remains
No, because only one of BC's four conditions has been met. The Union of
BC Indian Chiefs together with other Aboriginal organizations and 28
First Nations have announced they will "vigorously pursue all lawful
means to stop the Enbridge
project," stating that the project and the federal process to approve
it, violated their rights and laws.
Nothing in this announcement will change the fact that
Northern Gateway pipeline has been banned from the territory of the
First Nations that are signatory to the Save the Fraser Declaration. It
will not change the fact that the people of BC have not agreed to put
the future of their rivers and coastline,
fisheries, and coastal economy in the hands of Enbridge, whose only aim
is to enrich the owners of capital. It will not change the demand of
Canadians that the shipping raw resources be stopped as this deprives
the Canadian economy of the main source of added-value -- the
refining and the petrochemical
industry. It will not stop the work to enforce the resounding No! which
Canadians, especially the people of BC and First Nations have
expressed. It will intensify the work to Stop Harper! and force him to
Defend Our Climate Rally,
Vancouver, May 10, 2014.
1. The JRP was established to fulfill the requirements
of the National Energy Board Act and the Canadian
Environmental Assessment Act.
Under the new environmental assessment framework contained in the 2012
spring omnibus budget bill, Cabinet has final decision-making power
the Northern Gateway pipeline but is "bound" by the 209 conditions laid
out in the JRP report, with a decision required within 180 days of the
No to Northern Gateway!
Yes to a New Direction for the Economy!
Defend Our Climate Rally,
Calgary, May 10, 2014.
The Harper government has announced its approval of the
Gateway Pipeline. In approving the project, the Harper dictatorship has
upheld the demand of private monopoly interests including the oil and
gas cartels and financial institutions that there be no impediment to
their extracting and shipping the
greatest amount of oil and gas in the shortest possible time. The
Harper government has declared that any block to the narrow aims of the
resource monopolies is contrary to the national interest and even
national security, while the destruction of manufacturing is considered
a "private business decision."
The oil and gas monopolies operating in Alberta are
pushing for the
continued frenzied expansion of the oil sands. New production is to be
exported as diluted bitumen without upgrading or refining. With
increased production from conventional oil reservoirs using fracking
and other technologies, the Canadian
Association of Petroleum Producers and Marketers (CAPP) forecasts
Canadian crude production from all sources at 6.4 million barrels/day
by 2030, from 3.5 million barrels per day in 2013. Oil sands production
is forecast at 4.8 million barrels a day by 2030.
This forecast was reduced by 400,000 barrels a day
recently when the
French monopoly Total announced it was shelving plans for a new plant,
a move attributed to uncertain markets. Such fluctuations show that
decisions concerning resources cannot be left to private interests
based on their narrow private calculations
and the global rivalries of the resource monopolies.
The frenzied expansion of the oil sands was supposed to
secure source for the U.S. war machine. But the U.S. is awash with oil
from the fracking of shale oil, at least for the moment. Consequently
President Obama has refused to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline
Project, which would expand access
to the U.S. markets, and has returned to considering the oil sands a
reserve which will be there when needed. This is causing much
consternation in the Calgary oil company towers, with predictions that
oil sands production post 2020 has no market.
The oil and gas monopolies operating in Canada and the
which they are merged insist that a pipeline to ship bitumen from the
oil sands to Asia is a must. The Northern Gateway would not only
provide a market for 525,000 barrels a day from the oil sands, it would
make a statement to the U.S. They
not only want to open new markets in Asia, they want to use the
pipeline as a bargaining chip with the next U.S. administration.
Jim Prentice, until recently Senior Executive
Vice-Chairman of CIBC, and now the front-runner for leader of the
Alberta PCs and Premier of Alberta, laid out the demands of monopoly
private interests in a speech to the Ottawa Economic Club.
"Allow me to put it another way: if we drift along these
years, if we arrive at the table with the new American administration
in 2017 without pipelines completed or under construction; without one
or two [Liquid Natural Gas] terminals under construction along the BC
coast; without the agreement
and participation of First Nations as full economic partners; without
action to show leadership and further address the environmental impact
of our energy production -- if we arrive at the table as a country with
no way to sell its oil to anyone but the Americans, and no interest in
improving its environmental performance
in a world increasingly concerned with carbon, does anyone in this room
here today think we'll be taken seriously? Does anyone think the new
administration will feel compelled or inspired to hear us out on the
benefits of further economic and energy integration?"
The approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline is not a
economic prosperity. In itself it would give rise to very few jobs,
with about 1,500 construction jobs for three years and 228 direct jobs.
By shipping raw bitumen, the potential for developing the economy based
on upgrading, refining and petrochemicals
is lost. The main source of added-value is lost to Canada while
existing coastal industries including the fisheries and tourism are put
Another serious consideration is that Enbridge has shown
be reckless in the extreme in its pursuit of private profit and unfit
to be given such approval. For example, in 2013 the National Energy
Board found that Enbridge had no back-up power to operate emergency
shut-down systems in 117 of its 125
pumping stations, in violation of long-standing regulations. Enbridge
also disclosed that 83 pumping stations did not even have emergency
shut-down buttons, also in violation of long-established requirements.
The Workers' Opposition
rejects this direction for the economy which
is based on the dictate of private monopoly interests that have
completely taken over the public authority. A new direction for the
economy can and must be established which will give rise to a vibrant
integrated all-round economy where resource
extraction bolsters manufacturing and the creation of strong
communities with social programs, public services and infrastructure.
The rights of First Nations must be respected and
upheld. The rights
of the workers who build resource extraction projects, and mine and
extract the resources and transport them must be upheld. Public safety
must be protected and no more crimes like Lac-Mégantic
muzzling of scientists must
be ended and resources for research greatly expanded to ensure that
development will not cause short-term or long-term harm to Mother
Earth, and the cumulative effects of extraction are fully accounted for.
The wrecking of manufacturing must be stopped.
Canada's manufacturing cannot be considered a "private business
decision." The steel, heavy machinery and other components of these
projects should be manufactured in Canada from resource to finished
product and replacement parts.
Canadians and First Nations have asserted their right to
exercise control over resource development so that development is
consistent with the public interest, strengthens the socialized economy
and contributes to humanizing the natural and social environment. The
time is now for a new direction!
No to the Northern Gateway Pipeline!
1. Keynote address on Canada/U.S. relations to the
Ottawa Economic Club, February 12, 2014:
Swearing In of New Ontario Government
First Nations Remind Government of
Replica of the 1764 Covenant Chain Confederacy Wampum Belt, made by Ken
Maracle of the Six Nations, March 2014.
The two figures represent the
Crown (left) and First Nations. (www.canadiancrown.com)
At the swearing-in ceremony for the Liberal cabinet of
Wynne, Gary Sault, an elder of the Mississaugas of the Credit,
presented both the Premier and Lieutenant-Governor David Onley with a
replica of the British and Western Great Lakes Covenant Chain
Confederacy Wampum Belt. The original wampum
belt was presented by the British to the 24 First Nations who were
present at the Treaty of Niagara in 1764. This act ratified the Royal
Proclamation of 1763 which codified the relationship between the Crown
and these First Nations as one of equal allies, based on mutual
respect, self-determination and peace.
The Covenant Chain wampum belt symbolizes the
the First Nations and the Crown as one that is as strong as the links
in a chain and that both parties have a social responsibility to pay
attention to this relationship and to "polish the chain" to keep it
from tarnishing. The British also presented
the Twenty-Four Nations wampum belt to honour the First Nations who
attended the Treaty of Niagara.
In turn, the First Nations presented the British with
Wampum. It symbolizes the Crown and the First Nations travelling in
separate vessels down the same river, representing the principle of
non-interference in each others' affairs and a commitment to act in
peace and friendship toward each other.
The Two-Row Wampum.
In presenting the wampum belt to the Lieutenant-Governor
Premier Wynne, Elder Gary Sault stated, "This wampum is a reminder that
it’s 250 years [since] the Treaty of Niagara ... So we visit you with
this wampum to stir the fires so that you can once again start to
polish that great Covenant Chain."
His remarks underscore that more than 100 years before Confederation,
the Crown and the First Nations codified relations on a
nation-to-nation basis and the wampums are constitutional "documents"
that have utmost significance for First Nations in their relations with
the Crown, despite the fact that since the Royal
Proclamation of 1763 the Crown has violated the spirit of these
arrangements and abused this relationship. Sault's important and
symbolic statement did not receive any mention in the monopoly media.
Sault's comments point to the resolve of First Nations
their rights as independent sovereign nations and to hold Canadian
governments to account for the ongoing crimes committed against
Indigenous peoples in Canada for the more than 250 years since the
Royal Proclamation. This includes the Wynne
government, which has trampled First Nations’ rights such as in the
case of the Grassy Narrows First Nation's long standing fight to
prevent the Ministry of Natural Resources from giving out permits to
clearcut the forests on their territory, a case that is now before the
Supreme Court of Canada.
Wawangajing -- Ring of Fire
New Report Raises Social and
On June 19, the Wildlife Conservation Society of Canada
(WSC) and Ecojustice released a report entitled Getting it Right
in Ontario's Far North: The Need for Strategic Environmental Assessment
in the Ring of Fire (Wawangajing).
The report identifies environmental, economic and political risks
that endanger the peoples of the Far North of Ontario if development in
this area the First Nations call Wawangajing proceeds within the
unplanned and narrow framework set unilaterally by the private monopoly
interests that are driving the discussions about exploiting the
region's mineral resources. The report follows
the majority government win by the Wynne Liberals, whose campaign
platform included a promise to spend $1 billion on infrastructure to
develop the Ring of Fire. Premier Wynne also promised to set up a
development corporation for the Ring of Fire within 60 days of taking
office that will include both the provincial
and federal governments, First Nations and private companies.
Map of Wawangajing,
the Ring of Fire. Click to enlarge.
The report notes that with the increasing intrusion of
other resource extraction companies into Northern Ontario, First
Nations in particular are vulnerable to decisions being made by
outsiders who want to come into their territories and carry out mineral
exploration without their involvement and consent.
This is unsustainable from an environmental, ecological and social
point of view, the authors state.
The report points out that there is no actual plan to
Ring of Fire. Everything is left to various mining companies and First
Nations to come to individual agreements on a piecemeal basis. The
authors of the report, lawyer Anastasia Lintner at Ecojustice, and Dr.
Cheryl Chetkiewicz, Associate Conservation
Scientist at the WSC, highlight that there has been no integrated
planning process in the Ring of Fire to date so that the project could
be put in perspective. There is a plan to build a road, but no serious
environmental and social assessment that would take into consideration
the long term effects of the Ring of Fire
project on the First Nations and their communities and the overall
future of Ontario. The report emphasizes that the First Nations
concerned must be "decision makers in the process or any development
will be mired in delays and conflict." The authors of the report
conclude that First Nations are presently at the receiving
end of decisions by the provincial and federal governments to push
these developments forward, often at the expense of their well-being.
A planned approach that would involve First Nations at
all stages is
necessary. Also required is a thorough assessment of the consequences
of such a project on First Nations communities and their futures as
well as the environmental consequences for one of the largest areas of
boreal forest in the world.
At a minimum the Government of Ontario must consider a
Strategic Environmental Assessment (R-SEA) which has been recommended
by the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario and would build on the
recommendations of the Far North Science Advisory Panel, states the
report. Such an approach
would enable a discussion as to "where, when and in what form
development is appropriate" as opposed to imposing unilateral decisions
on First Nations and other communities and forcing them to bear the
negative impacts of new economic projects.
The full report can be downloaded from www.ecojustice.ca.
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