Campaign Blog

Enbridge Court Argument Claiming Aboriginal Support “Delusional” say First Nations leaders

Posted Jul 20

Vancouver, Coast Salish Territory – (July 20, 2015) – First Nations leaders across British Columbia are reacting with anger and disbelief today upon learning that Enbridge has, in documents recently filed with the Federal Court of Appeal, claimed that most impacted Aboriginal groups support its Northern Gateway pipelines and tankers proposal. First Nations leaders say Northern Gateway’s attempt to speak on behalf of First Nations is disrespectful and that the company’s claim is out of touch with reality.

“Let’s be clear, First Nations have overwhelmingly rejected the Northern Gateway project” stated Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs. “When Enbridge chooses to join us in the real world it will see there’s a wall of deeply committed First Nations that have said Northern Gateway is never going to happen.”

First Nations whose territories comprise a majority of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker routes, and many downstream First Nations potentially impacted by the threat of oil spills, have publically declared opposition to the project, yet Northern Gateway claims in its written argument to the court that: “Most affected Aboriginal groups are supportive of the Project and are looking forward to the social and economic benefits it will bring if allowed to proceed.”

“It is completely inappropriate for Northern Gateway to purport to speak to a court on behalf of First Nations in such a self-serving manner” said Grand Chief Ed John of the First Nations Summit. “This is another unfortunate example of Northern Gateway trying to charge ahead without regard for the clear rejection of the project by First Nations.”

The members of both the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the First Nations Summit have passed resolutions in opposition to Northern Gateway.

Chief Karen Ogen emphasized on behalf of the Yinka Dene Alliance that the First Nations in court against Northern Gateway have broad support: “We stand with the representatives of more than 100 First Nations that have signed the Save the Fraser Declaration rejecting Northern Gateway, and fully support the members of the Yinka Dene Alliance and other First Nations in court challenging the project.”

The eighteen consolidated legal challenges to the federal approval of Northern Gateway are scheduled to be heard at the Federal Court of Appeal in Vancouver on October 1-2 and 5-8, 2015.

The Week to End Enbridge raises close to $100,000 for First Nation legal defence

Posted Jun 24

The PullTogether campaign is celebrating a successful week of events across the province that brought the grassroots campaign to a total of over $500,000 raised for First Nations legal defence against the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. The province-wide fundraising effort, led by Sierra Club BC and Raven Trust, supports the legal fees of the Heiltsuk, Kitasoo-Xai’xais, Gitga’at, Haida, Gitxaala, Nadleh Whut’en and Nak’azdli Nations who are in court to stop Northern Gateway.

“When we hosted a spaghetti dinner over a year ago we had no idea how far this would go,” said Anne Hill of North West Watch in Terrace, B.C. “We’re blown away by how far this fundraising has spread, people from all walks of life in every corner of the province coming together to support the First Nations on the front lines of the effort to stop this pipeline.”

The Week to End Enbridge pushed the campaign over the half million milestone, after dozens of events across B.C. raised nearly $100,000 in just one week. Fundraising events included everything from a paddle in the ocean, to barbeques, yoga, and a bluegrass concert. Small businesses played a big role, with proceeds from chocolate bars, an eco-tourism lodge and even carrot sales being contributed to First Nations legal defence.

Every vote counts in the Kitimat plebiscite

Posted Mar 27

Things are heating up in Kitimat as Enbridge door-knocks and advertises to get the ‘yes’ vote while Douglas Channel Watch, a local volunteer organization, stands up to defend their community from crude oil tankers and pipelines.


In just 17 days, Kitimat residents will vote in a plebiscite on the Northern Gateway Pipeline.

Enbridge is pulling out all the stops to buy support. Paid Enbridge employees have parachuted into Kitimat and are knocking on doors, trying to convince people to vote Yes. They are running full page ads in newspapers across the region.

Who is speaking up for wild salmon and the future of our watersheds and coast?

Douglas Channel Watch is a group of local volunteers based in Kitimat who are dedicated to protecting the environmental integrity of Douglas Channel and its watersheds for present and future generations and have come together because of a love for their home. They are working day and night for the next couple weeks to spread the word about the risks of supertankers and crude oil pipelines.

They need your help.

Together, let's raise our voices and secure a sound future for all.

On April 12th Kitimat residents will vote on the plebiscite question to support or oppose the project and the 209 conditions set out by the National Energy Board.

You can say "NO" to Enbridge by signing their petition, donating, or signing up to volunteer for the campaign.

Every dollar donated to Douglas Channel Watch will go directly into purchasing leaflets, newspaper ads, radio spots and signs in the leadup to the April 12 vote.

Click here now to donate to Douglas Channel Watch.

Enbridge has deep pockets but the people of British Columbia have big hearts. Let's show Douglas Channel Watch that we have their backs.

Hold the Wall with the Yinka Dene Alliance

Posted Jan 24

Will you Hold the Wall?

The Yinka Dene Alliance of First Nations is committed to using all lawful means to stop this devastating project from ever being built through our territories, and has joined with other First Nations to create a powerful and unbroken wall of opposition. They are asking you to stand with them to Hold the Wall:

Northern Gateway Lawsuit: Enbridge Pipeline Block Sought By Environmentalists

Posted Jan 22

he Northern Gateway pipeline project is headed to court, after several environmental groups and at least two First Nations filed lawsuits in the Federal Court of Appeal.

Stephen Hume: NEB’s Northern Gateway approval is Act II in the Theatre of the Absurd

Posted Dec 19

Act II of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway melodrama got underway with a whiff of comedy on Thursday afternoon.

For starters, the National Energy Board’s website apparently couldn’t handle traffic from the interested multitudes.

Like many Canadians, I tried to download a digital copy of its long-awaited decision. I was kicked back to a generic paragraph announcing the decision so many times that I gave up trying to open the link to the report and turned instead to the news feeds.

A bit amusing that for such a big deal — Canada’s entire economic future supposedly hinges on the outcome — Ottawa is so inept at basic digital technology. This doesn’t instil confidence in bold promises of technological solutions.

Energy workers union backs First Nations against Northern Gateway

Posted Dec 6

Canada’s largest private-sector union has thrown its support behind First Nations in opposing the Northern Gateway pipeline project, vowing to hit picket lines in solidarity if the project goes ahead.

On Thursday, Gavin McGarrigle, the union’s B.C. area director, signed a new solidarity accord on behalf of the union at a Vancouver media event marking the third anniversary of the Save the Fraser Declaration. The declaration, signed by representatives of more than 130 First Nations, aims to ban oil tankers and pipelines from crossing British Columbia or the ocean migration routes of Fraser River salmon. In a short speech, Mr. McGarrigle said the province needs a “good jobs revolution” with large investments in green jobs, along with significant improvements in public transit and passenger rail networks.

Major gaps in tanker-safety plan, experts warn

Posted Dec 3

The federal government has major gaps to fill to keep its promise to establish a world-class safety system for oil supertankers plying Canadian waters off the coast of British Columbia, an expert panel reports.

Northern Gateway pipeline review panel refuses to consider new data on dangers to whales

Posted Nov 21

The report from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans identified critical habitats along the B.C. coast and warned of potential dangers to the species that is officially recognized as “threatened.”

“Even with very low odds and excellent safety records, catastrophic events can lead to undesirable outcomes,” the report, published last month, said.

Pipeline hurdles remain high, despite premiers’ friendly meeting

Posted Nov 6

It took more than a year, a B.C. election, much back and forth at the official level, and an 11th-hour flutter that threatened to derail the whole process on the eve of success.

Still, there stood B.C. Premier Christy Clark and Alberta Premier Alison Redford in Vancouver Tuesday, finally on common ground in support of B.C.'s five preconditions for the construction of any heavy oil pipeline through this province.

Clark, celebrating the deal, underscored that she'd not backed off any of her initial expectations. The five conditions remain the ones she laid out on July 23, 2012.

Michael Smyth: Alarm bells ring with new report of B.C.‘s oil-spill system

Posted Oct 6

British Columbia is not prepared for a large coastal oil spill and the spill-prevention-and response system needs a major upgrade, especially before any new oil pipelines are approved.

That will be the bottom line in a new report on the province's oil-spill system to be released this week by the Christy Clark government.

Emotion mounts over feds’ scramble for pipeline support in BC

Posted Sep 15

"Frankly, it's a national shame," Tom Rivest, a biologist and co-owner of Great Bear Nature Tours in Port Hardy, said.

Rivest echoed what many told the Vancouver Observer on Friday as reporters talked with a wide range of people about a recent announcement that a "parade" of federal ministers are coming to BC next week to try and win support for  pipeline projects from First Nations and other opponents.

Oil spill would ‘overwhelm’ resources, B.C. bureaucrats warn incoming minister

Posted Aug 25

Officials in British Columbia privately warned the province lacks the ability to manage oil spills from existing and future oil traffic, and even a moderate spill would overwhelm their ability to respond, documents show.

Ottawa's decision to deal with coastal oil spills from a base in Quebec would make it much harder to contain spills, and Transport Canada and the Coast Guard lack the needed "environmental expertise" to manage them, officials said the documents obtained by The Canadian Press under freedom of information laws.

EPA: Enbridge nearly tripling oil spill dredging

Posted Jul 31

Enbridge Inc. will nearly triple the amount of contaminated sediment it dredges in Michigan's Kalamazoo River to clean up after a July 2010 oil pipeline spill, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday.

First Nations group calls for B.C. to reject Northern Gateway pipeline work permits

Posted Jun 27

A B.C. First Nations group says it will not support Premier Christy Clark’s liquefied natural gas strategy unless the province withholds drilling permits for the proposed $6.5-billion Northern Gateway oil pipeline.

Enbridge has applied for provincial permits in 32 locations in northern B.C. along the proposed oil pipeline route to carry out work this summer meant to provide more information about below-ground conditions.

Pipeline fails to meet conditions: Clark

Posted May 18

Enbridge's Northern Gateway oil pipeline has failed to meet the British Columbia government's five conditions for approving the project, the government stated Friday.

Enbridge lawyers question opponents at Northern Gateway pipeline hearings

Posted Apr 9

Lawyers for Enbridge Inc. are getting their turn to question opponents of the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline as hearings examining the project continue in Prince Rupert. Enbridge spokesman Ivan Giesbrecht says company lawye| rs want more detail about research methods and evidence presented at the joint review panel hearings by groups critical of a twinned pipeline between Alberta and B.C.’s West Coast.

Dilbit Sinks in Enbridge Oil Spill, but Floats in Its Lab Study

Posted Mar 14

A recent industry-backed study of diluted bitumen, the Canadian crude oil that would be shipped through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, contradicts what environmentalists have said for years—that diluted bitumen, or dilbit, sinks in water and is much more difficult to clean up than conventional crude oil.
Instead, the study found that dilbit floats when it spills into water, a claim that contradicts what happened during a major dilbit spill in Michigan's Kalamazoo River in 2010. The cleanup of that spill already has cost more than $810 million, and the Environmental Protection Agency is still struggling to figure out how to remove the submerged oil.

Natural resources minister ‘aligned priorities’ with pipeline lobby

Posted Mar 6

The federal natural resources minister and the industry lobby group that represents oil and gas pipelines are "aligned on priorities, particularly on the need to expand markets," according to an internal government memo.

Documents reveal pipeline industry drove changes to ‘Navigable Waters’ act

Posted Feb 22

When the Harper government included a radical overhaul of the Navigable Waters Protection Act in the last omnibus bill, outsiders scratched their heads and wondered out loud where that idea had come from.  Documents obtained through the Access to Information Act show it came, in part, from the pipeline industry.

First Nations group quits Enbridge hearings, citing lack of cash Read more: http://www.vancouversun

Posted Feb 5

Coastal First Nations has pulled out of a critical Northern Gateway hearing on Enbridge’s marine oil spill response plans, saying the hearings have drained the organization’s financial resources and are providing few answers.
“We might as well keep our powder dry and save it for court,” CFN executive director Art Sterritt said Monday, expressing dissatisfaction over the cost of attending the hearings and over what he called “a difficult time” getting answers from Northern Gateway applicant Enbridge.

All Opposed To Enbridge? 1,159. All In Favour? 2

Posted Feb 4

They held community hearings in 16 different towns and cities across British Columbia. They listened to presentations from everyday British Columbians for hour after hour, day after day. And when they wrapped up the community hearings in Vancouver on Friday, the three-person National Energy Board panel had heard from 1,159 speakers opposed to Enbridge’s proposal to bring an oil pipeline and tankers to B.C.’s coast and from just two in favour.

VIDEO: Elizabeth May speaks about “The Great Pipeline to China”

Posted Feb 3

ELIZABETH MAY is the Leader of the Green Party of Canada.  In speaking about Enbridge, she says " They call it the Northern Gateway pipeline, I call it the great pipeline to China. This is all about getting bitumen crude our of Canada to the Chinese refineries. If Canada ratifies the China - Canada Investment treaty the People's republic of China will have the right to bring action against us if we turn down this project for billions of dollars potentially."

Kalamazoo River spill survivor testifies at Vancouver Enbridge hearings

Posted Jan 30

Freelance photographer Michelle BarlondSmith was living with her husband in a trailer park along the Kalamazoo River in July, 2010 when an Enbridge pipeline burst, leaking 3.3 million litres of diluted bitumen into the water.

Enbridge hearing now closed to public in Kelowna

Posted Jan 25

The public hearings into the Enbridge Northern Gateway project are now no longer open to the public.  One of the organizers trying to get the public to come to the hearing is in shock.  "How does the JRP (Joint Review Panel) justify turning a public hearing into a closed meeting.? The public is owed an explanation," says Dianne Varga.

Why it Takes a Whale to be Heard: Public Blocked From Enbridge Hearings in Vancouver

Posted Jan 18

The most striking part of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway community hearings in Vancouver is that they’re not open to the community at all.  Only a limited number of people get to present their position to the federally appointed Joint Review Panel, and the rest of the public aren’t welcome to watch them, despite thousands of Vancouverites who are passionate about this proposed pipeline and what it means for our future.

Risk assessments of oil spill inadequate, Enbridge pipeline review panel told

Posted Jan 17

In a downtown Vancouver courtroom, lawyers in a criminal negligence case presented a defence that sounded very familiar to opponents of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project. The lawyer’s argument was that poor technology and bad weather were responsible for the 2006 sinking of the Queen of the North.

Presenters In Victoria Tell Review Panel To Say No To Enbridge — 253 Times

Posted Jan 15

“This didn’t occur to me — I mean that I would react this way. I’m an ex-Marine. I don’t do this,” Bill Gaylord said, choking back tears, as he addressed the panel reviewing Enbridge’s oil tanker and pipeline proposal last week in Victoria.

Presenters In Victoria Tell Review Panel To Say No To Enbridge — 253 Times

Posted Jan 15

“This didn’t occur to me — I mean that I would react this way. I’m an ex-Marine. I don’t do this,” Bill Gaylord said, choking back tears, as he addressed the panel reviewing Enbridge’s oil tanker and pipeline proposal last week in Victoria.

Public shut out of NGP process, but won’t be silenced

Posted Jan 15

This week Vancouverites will get the chance to address a federal review panel and speak out against the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline. Unfortunately, these “public” hearings won’t be nearly as accessible as they ought to be.