Indigenous fight against pipelines grows

More indigenous leaders sign pledge to fight oilsands and pipelines

WINNIPEG – Some indigenous leaders say Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has a fight on his hands with new pipeline projects connected to the oilsands in Alberta.

The federal government has approved the Line 3 pipeline expansion from Alberta to Wisconsin, as well as Kinder Morgan’s proposal to triple the capacity of its Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, of the Union of British Columbia Chiefs, says the Kinder Morgan project is unacceptable because of the environmental risk from a higher number of tanker ships.

Phillip said a few hours before the federal decision that the battle against the project will ramp up in the courts and elsewhere.

Phillip was in Winnipeg where many Manitoba chiefs signed on to a declaration that they will not allow pipelines, rail cars or other projects connected to the oilsands through their territory.

Derek Nepinak, head of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, said governments and businesses must realize they cannot undertake projects in indigenous territory without full consent.

Phillip called Trudeau a “serial liar” and accused him of breaking a promise to respect indigenous concerns.

“He’s been absolutely consistent in reneging and breaking the promises he made to us,” Phillip said.

“The struggle will simply intensify. It will become more litigious. It will become more political and the battle will continue.”

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.