Is the Trudeau government cynically trying to pass over liability to First Nations?
‘The bottom line is that there is no certainty in this investment,’ says Judy Wilson
Steel pipe to be used in the oil pipeline construction of the Trans Mountain expansion project at a stockpile site in Kamloops, B.C. (Dennis Owen/Reuters)
An Indigenous group is urging other First Nations to not invest in the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, arguing it is not a sound investment.
The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) has penned an open letter to some leaders who are exploring the idea of partial ownership in the project.
It warns of potential financial risks tied to the proposed pipeline expansion if it gets the ultimate green light from Ottawa.
“The bottom line is that there is no certainty in this investment,” said Judy Wilson, secretary treasurer with the UBCIC. She co-signed the letter with Grand Chief Stewart Phillip.
“A lot of the communities may not have the full financial information and a lot of things they should know if they are going to be investing.”
Chief Judy Wilson with the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs says that she chooses the health of the southern resident killer whales over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. (Chantelle Bellrichard/CBC)
The letter outlines concerns around ballooning constructions costs of the project, citing total cost estimates upwards of $15 billion.
“When people start doing the actual number crunching they’ll see there’s no real return,” said Wilson, referencing last year’s buy-out by the federal government. MORE
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip shown Oct. 23, 2018. Photo by Michael Ruffolo
Indigenous leaders and environmental groups vowed the Trans Mountain pipeline would never be built after the National Energy Board issued a second go-ahead to the federal government Friday.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, said it’s “ludicrous” that economic interests are considered more important than killer whales.
‘In this country, jobs are more important than justice.’ – Grand Chief Stewart Phillip @UBCIC #TransMountain #pipeline #NEB #CdnPoli
“Indigenous people are not going to stand idly by and watch the destruction of the sacred killer whale population along the coast of B.C.,” Chief Philip vowed. “The thought of killer whales disappearing … is absolutely unthinkable.” MORE
A Trans Mountain pipeline crossing in Stewart Creek, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Dec. 12, 2018. MIKE PEARSON /THE CANADIAN PRESS
Work on a Trans Mountain pipeline crossing in a British Columbia stream has destroyed salmon habitat, raising concerns about the Crown corporation’s ability to build infrastructure through waterways if the expansion project proceeds, a scientist says.
Mike Pearson says the “amateur hour” work on the Stewart Creek crossing in Chilliwack will reduce food sources for coho and chum salmon and limit their ability to hide from predators. The fish are part of the diet of endangered southern resident killer whales.
“There was no consideration given whatsoever to the habitat, which is just not acceptable,” said Pearson, a biologist with 30 years’ experience, in an interview. MORE