EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - May 2, 2012) - The Yinka Dene Alliance (YDA) is joining Alberta First Nations to rally on the steps of the Alberta Legislature at 12 noon today, with a message for the Alberta government: their territories will not serve as the export route for tarsands oil. The First Nations are speaking out in response to Premier Alison Redford's strong statements in support of the project, and for Ottawa's plans to push it through.
"Premier Redford may have eked out a surprise election win, but we've got a surprise for her," said Chief Martin Louie of Nadleh Whut'en, a member of the YDA. "Her gang-up attempt with Ottawa to force pipelines and tankers onto the people of BC is going to fail. Albertans remember what it's like to have Ottawa force a plan down your throats that you don't want. When you have a huge majority of people in BC saying no…it means no."
A large delegation of First Nations from across northern BC that have banned the Enbridge pipeline through their lands arrived yesterday on the Freedom Train, named in recognition of the First Nations' nationwide fight to be free from the threat of oil pipelines and tankers, and to be free to govern their lands according to their own laws. The train is currently making its way across Canada, on its way to Enbridge's annual shareholders meeting in Toronto on May 9.
To date, the YDA has received the support of over 5000 people from across Canada who signed a petition that was delivered to the Alberta Premier's office today, calling on government to respect First Nations decision to refuse the pipeline. Recent opinion polls confirm that First Nations opposition to the Enbridge pipeline has wide public support, backed by two out of three British Columbians.
"We can't sit by and watch as our relatives in northern Alberta are harmed by even more unmanaged tar sands development which these pipelines will allow," said Chief Jackie Thomas of Saik'uz First Nation. "This isn't just about us. We are part of an unbroken wall of opposition from more than 130 First Nations from the Pacific Coast to the Arctic Ocean who are saying we will not allow these pipelines to be built. We will use every lawful means at our disposal to guarantee it. There's no way around us. There's no way to get this oil out."
The First Nations, joined by local non-First Nations allies, will march through downtown Edmonton to the Enbridge tower before having ceremonies and a feast later in the evening. The Freedom Train will leave Edmonton tonight and continue onto Saskatoon, Winnipeg and the Enbridge shareholders meeting in Toronto on May 9.
For photos, maps of event locations and a full itinerary for the tour, visit www.freedomtrain2012.com/schedule-events.