One year after the federal government formally approved the Enbridge Northern Gateway tankers and pipelines project, with 209 conditions, opposition to the project has not wavered. From June 13-21, during the "Week to End Enbridge," people from all walks of life will again join together across BC to say "No" to this dangerous mega-project.
The Yinka Dene Alliance has always said that we will use all lawful means to defend our lands and waters from this risky project. Two of our member nations, Nak'azdli and Nadleh Whut'en, will be in court this fall alongside six other First Nations, four non-profits and Canada's largest private sector union, Unifor, seeking to overturn Northern Gateway's approval.
The Week to End Enbridge features dozens of events in every corner of our province supporting the Pull Together campaign, which is aimed at raising funds for First Nations' legal defence to stop the Northern Gateway project for good. We have already seen small businesses and farmers playing a big role, generously chipping in their narrow profit margins to this BC-wide effort to block Northern Gateway.
Here in Prince George, the Sea to Sands Conservation Alliance is hosting a concert and dance to raise money for Pull Together, featuring music by Black Spruce Bog. The Prince George fundraising concert for Pull Together takes place Friday, June 26, at the Moose Hall on Douglas Street, Prince George. Doors open at 7:30pm. More info: http://pull-together.ca/event/prince-george-dance-with-sea-to-sands-conservation-alliance/.
Many of the events during this Week to End Enbridge will be fun and family-oriented -- everything from paddling on the water, to author readings, to salmon BBQs. You can have a good time doing good while stopping a pipeline.
Even in the face of the continued threat of tar sands pipelines and tankers, looking back at the past year since Ottawa approved the Northern Gateway project, there is a lot to celebrate. Through our shared purpose in protecting our communities from this reckless mega-project, First Nations and our northern communities have been brought closer together. And continued uncertainty and legal risk associated with the project have continued to discourage investors from giving Enbridge the commercial support it needs to proceed with the pipeline.
Over the past year, British Columbians have raised over $400,000 to support First Nations legal challenges against Northern Gateway. And last month, new Alberta Premier Rachel Notley indicated that her province's government would no longer actively push for the pipeline.
All in all, it's been a tough year for Enbridge.
Back in 2010, the member nations of the Yinka Dene Alliance took decisive action, based in our own Indigenous laws, and banned Northern Gateway from our territories and watersheds. Tens of thousands of British Columbians have pledged to stand with us to uphold our decision. Northern Gateway does not have -- and will not gain -- social licence from the people of British Columbia.
The court battle is on this fall to overturn the conditional federal approval of the Enbridge project. The planned Week to End Enbridge events will go a long way toward ensuring that First Nations have the funds needed to do so.
This week we're sending a message so loud they're going to hear it in the corporate boardrooms and in the halls of power in Ottawa.
No means no. Northern Gateway will never be built.
Geraldine Thomas Flurer is with the Yinka Dene Alliance and John Orlowsky is with the Sea to Sands Conservation Alliance.