January 11, 2012 11:45 ET
Integrity of any review process has been permanently botched
NADLEH WHUT'EN, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Jan. 11, 2012) - The Yinka Dene Alliance, a group of five First Nations who are leading opponents of the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project, are outraged by statements by Prime Minister Harper and Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver attacking opponents of the pipeline as foreign "radicals" who are fighting against Canada's national interest.
The First Nations are accusing the federal Minister of Natural Resources of disrespecting the federal government's own laws and the rights of First Nations in his attack on opposition to the pipeline.
"The fix is in with this government. How can any Canadian trust that the Enbridge review process will be conducted fairly and independently with Harper breathing down the review panel's neck?" said Chief Larry Nooski of Nadleh Whut'en First Nation, a member of the Yinka Dene Alliance. "We have had deep concerns about this Enbridge review process from the very beginning, because it doesn't respect First Nations rights - that's why we're not intervening at the review panel."
"It is ludicrous for the federal minister to parrot tar sands lobbyists by directly attacking our communities that have decided the Enbridge project is too dangerous, and against our laws," said Nooski. "We're not foreign - these are our lands. To imply that our decision against Enbridge has been manipulated is deeply disrespectful of First Nations people, and our many neighbours who have joined our cause and support our decision to refuse this pipeline."
First Nations are also offended at the suggestion by the Prime Minister, Minister Oliver, and petro-lobbyists that foreign money is interfering in the process, Chief Nooski added, saying: "First Nations people are so opposed to this pipeline that we're pulling money out of our own pockets and community members are doing everything that we can so that our voices are heard. We are also proud of the wide-ranging support we've received from our neighbours across the north, and from environmental groups - whether their funding comes from Canada or the U.S. Non-First Nations communities are joining with us like never before. We have made a decision, in our Save the Fraser Declaration, to ban these pipelines and tankers. Tens of thousands of British Columbians have signed petitions specifically supporting our decision. The Enbridge project has unified us and we are not going to stop until we win this together."
The Save the Fraser Declaration has been signed by 66 First Nations, and more than 130 First Nations resolutely oppose the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines and tankers.
Nadleh Whut'en First NationChief Larry Nooski250-613-7102
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