OPINION: Environmentalists’ next opponent? First Nations – by Gary Mason (Globe and Mail – January 18, 2019)


When Justin Trudeau announced he was buying a pipeline last May, the condemnation from leading environmental organizations was swift and fierce. And according to the country’s most renowned eco-warriors, no group had been betrayed more by the move than First Nations.

Greenpeace said the government had put itself on a “collision course” with Indigenous rights. The Wilderness Committee, the David Suzuki Foundation and Stand.earth, among others, reiterated similar talking points:

By acquiring the Trans Mountain pipeline and the rights to expand it, Ottawa had trampled on constitutional privileges enjoyed by the country’s aboriginal community and had lost its trust in the process. There was only one problem with this line of attack: It wasn’t true.

There is far more support for pipelines among Indigenous groups in British Columbia and Alberta than there is opposition to them. That was something that was always lost amid the hysterical cacophony that passed for debate on the Trans Mountain pipeline issue.

Before bowing out of the project, Kinder Morgan had signed 43 mutual-benefit agreements with aboriginal communities along the pipeline’s route – deals worth more than $400-million. There were other Indigenous organizations in the North fighting the Liberals’ tanker ban and trying to build their own pipeline project to tidewater. Some bands in Alberta, who were making hundreds of millions from the oil and gas business, also wanted the pipeline.

For the rest of this article: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-environmentalists-next-opponent-first-nations/

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