John Ivison: First Nations deserve to be consulted on Trans Mountain — and they have been


It is a grim irony that a Liberal government elected on a promise of renewing relations with First Nations based on “trust, respect and the true spirit of co-operation” is now being accused by some Indigenous chiefs in British Columbia of provoking a new Oka crisis.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, believes Justin Trudeau’s promise to build the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion ignores the inherent right of Indigenous people to free, prior and informed consent for resource projects.

“If the federal government tries to ram through the pipeline, it could mean going back to one of the darkest times in modern Canadian history: the Oka stand-off with the Mohawk Nation,” he wrote this week in an opinion article in the Globe and Mail, invoking the violent conflict that took place in Quebec in 1990 and that still makes federal politicians break out in cold sweats.

Indigenous leaders in B.C. who support the pipeline say the prospect of another Oka is real. “That’s one of my biggest fears,” said Keith Matthew, a former chief of the Simpcw First Nation in the central interior of B.C.

John Ivison: On Trans Mountain, Trudeau must do or do not. There is no tryJohn Ivison: Failure to push through Trans Mountain could be the end for Trudeau

“There are threats and intimidation that mean a lot of Aboriginal leaders are afraid to speak up. It’s not politically correct to say, ‘I support economic development,’” said Ellis Ross, a Liberal MLA in Victoria and a former chief councillor of the Haisla Nation.

Matthew said leaders like Phillip have misled many Indigenous people about the role of pipelines and resource projects.

“He’s full of crap. A lot of elected leaders have a responsibility to look after the welfare of their people. Stewart Phillip has none of those responsibilities. He stands on his soapbox because he doesn’t have to answer to anyone. Quite honestly, he’s hurting a lot of people in rural communities who depend on these major projects,” said Matthew.

Ross also condemned a “vocal minority” who want to block Trans Mountain.

“What really bugs me most of all is that that these leaders opposing the project do not care about individuals suffering in poverty. These leaders are getting all their perks and are leading the opposition to people digging themselves out of poverty,” he said.

Matthew is now a private business-owner but was part of the negotiating team that hammered out a mutual-benefit agreement on behalf of the Simpcw with Kinder Morgan, a process that took 18 months.

Trans Mountain crosses 92 streams as it runs through Simpcw territory, and there were concerns about the impact on the environment, the consequence for the First Nation’s titles and rights, and the financial benefits that might flow to them from the 20-year agreement.

The upshot was a referendum among the Simpcw that yielded 80-per-cent support for the negotiated agreement — free, prior and informed consent, by any measure.

Phillip has called Trans Mountain “a learning moment for Canada,” and, one way or …read more

Source:: Nationalpost – News

It is a grim irony that a Liberal government elected on a promise of renewing relations with First Nations based on “trust, respect and the true spirit of co-operation” is now being accused by some Indigenous chiefs in British Columbia of provoking a new Oka crisis.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, believes Justin Trudeau’s promise to build the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion ignores the inherent right of Indigenous people to free, prior and informed consent for resource projects.

“If the federal government tries to ram through the pipeline, it could mean going back to one of the darkest times in modern Canadian history: the Oka stand-off with the Mohawk Nation,” he wrote this week in an opinion article in the Globe and Mail, invoking the violent conflict that took place in Quebec in 1990 and that still makes federal politicians break out in cold sweats.

Indigenous leaders in B.C. who support the pipeline say the prospect of another Oka is real. “That’s one of my biggest fears,” said Keith Matthew, a former chief of the Simpcw First Nation in the central interior of B.C.

John Ivison: On Trans Mountain, Trudeau must do or do not. There is no tryJohn Ivison: Failure to push through Trans Mountain could be the end for Trudeau

“There are threats and intimidation that mean a lot of Aboriginal leaders are afraid to speak up. It’s not politically correct to say, ‘I support economic development,’” said Ellis Ross, a Liberal MLA in Victoria and a former chief councillor of the Haisla Nation.

Matthew said leaders like Phillip have misled many Indigenous people about the role of pipelines and resource projects.

“He’s full of crap. A lot of elected leaders have a responsibility to look after the welfare of their people. Stewart Phillip has none of those …read more

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