ANISHINABEK NATION HEAD OFFICE (May 29, 2018)— Grand Council Chief opposes the recent agreement-in-principle that the Government of Canada has reached in order to expand the Trans Mountain Pipeline.
“This is a highly unusual and very foolish decision to make – why is the government paying an international company when there are many needs in this country? There are immediate domestic issues and needs that should come before international priorities such as this one. If they’re prepared to open their chequebooks for something that will not contribute to a sustainable future, then they should be prepared to cut a big cheque for women’s rights; health care; Indigenous rights; child well-being,” says Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee.
An agreement-in-principle with Kinder Morgan was reached that will allow Canada to purchase the Trans Mountain Pipeline, the expansion project, and related infrastructure, which includes the Kinder Morgan’s British Columbia terminal, and will allow for construction to move forward this summer.
The Canadian Government will spend $4.5 billion to buy the Trans Mountain Pipeline. In a statement released earlier today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau believes the pipeline to be a ‘vital project in the national interest’ that will create and protect jobs in BC and Alberta. The pipeline project is expected to create 15,000 jobs.
The original 1,150-kilometre pipeline was built in 1953 and runs between Strathcona County (near Edmonton), Alberta, and to the marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C. where oil is loaded onto tankers for export.
According to Finance Minister Bill Morneau, the federal government does not plan to be a long-term owner. Once the sale is complete, Canada will continue construction and eventually work with investors to transfer the project and related assets to a new owner.
The expansion project would entail a twinning of the existing pipeline that will add 980 kilometres of new pipeline and nearly triple its current capacity. Grave environmental concerns stem from the increased volume of fuel transported through the pipeline. The added density of the fuel will increase temperature and pressure, increasing the risks of the pipeline bursting and spilling oil into the surrounding territory’s air, water, and land.
“It’s time that those pushing for reconciliation step up and act in good faith and include us in the process. We echo the sentiments of our provincial and national organizations about the right to free, prior and informed consent, as per the United Nations Declaration. We should be looking to other forms of energy, not exposing our future generations to more fossil fuels,” adds Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee.
The Anishinabek Nation is the political advocate for 40 member communities across Ontario, representing approximately 60,000 people. The Anishinabek Nation is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.