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Resistance to Pipeline Expansion Spreads to Ottawa

by Andy Crosby

No Pipelines_Ottawa Photo: Andy Crosby
No Pipelines_Ottawa Photo: Andy Crosby
No Pipelines_Ottawa Photo: Andy Crosby
No Pipelines_Ottawa Photo: Andy Crosby
No Pipelines_Ottawa Photo: Andy Crosby
No Pipelines_Ottawa Photo: Andy Crosby
No Pipelines_Ottawa Photo: Andy Crosby
No Pipelines_Ottawa Photo: Andy Crosby
No Pipelines_Ottawa Photo: Andy Crosby
No Pipelines_Ottawa Photo: Andy Crosby

Dozens gathered outside the Prime Minister’s Office in downtown Ottawa on Nov. 27 in support of the Unist’ot’en and Grassroots Wet’suwet’en in British Columbia. The Indigenous communities are actively resisting pipeline expansion on their territories.

According to a press release issued by the Unist’ot’en Camp, “The Unis’tot’en have made it clear that no proposed pipelines will proceed in Unist’ot’en territories and that corporations, investors, and governments have no jurisdiction to approve development on their lands.”

On Nov. 20, surveyors from Can-Am Geomatics, a company working for Apache Canada, were intercepted and issued an eagle feather by Toghestiy, Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief. According to the press release, “In Wet’suwet’en law, an eagle feather is used as a first and only notice of trespass."

The $1-billion Pacific Trails Pipeline (PTP) project proposal is a partnership between Apache Canada, Encana Corporation, and Enron Oil and Gas Resources. Approved by the BC government, the “463-kilometer pipeline would connect a liquefied natural gas terminal in Kitimat to Summit Lake near Prince George in northeastern BC, with the aim of transporting up to 1 million cubic feet of natural gas per day extracted through hydraulic fracturing of shale gas (fracking), to international markets through supertankers,” according to the press release.

The Unist’ot’en clan say they are against all pipelines slated to cross through their territories, including Enbridge Northern Gateway, PTP, Coast Gas Link, Kinder Morgan’s northern proposal, and others.

The Wet’suwet’en are made up of five clans who view it as a responsibility to manage and protect their territories for future generations. According to the press release, “neither the Unist’ot’en People or the other Grassroots Wet’suwet’en are associated with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en.”

“The federal and provincial governments, as well as Indian Act tribal councils or bands, have no right or jurisdiction to approve development on Unist’ot’en lands” according to Toghestiy. "By consulting only with elected Indian Act tribal councils and bands, the Canadian government breaks its own laws as outlined in the 1997 Supreme Court of Canada Delgamuukw decision which recognizes Hereditary adjudication processes.”

Thirteen solidarity demonstrations took place across the country, including in California and Trinidad.

According to Freda Huson, spokeswoman for the Unist’ot’en Clan, the land was never ceded or surrendered. “Pacific Trails Pipeline’s proposed route is through two main salmon spawning channels which provide our staple food supply,” she said. “We have made the message clear to Pacific Trails, Enbridge, and all of industry: We will not permit any pipelines through our territory.”


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