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Barlow expresses solidarity with Gitxaala Nation in fight against oil tankers

Gitxaala Nation

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has tweeted a message of solidarity with the Gitxaala Nation.

CBC News reports, “The Federal Court of Appeal has granted leave to the Gitxaala Nation to apply for judicial review of the Northern Gateway pipeline project’s approval. …The court application argues that the federal Conservative cabinet did not consider the Gitxaala’s aboriginal rights and title in approving the oil pipeline proposed by Calgary-based Enbridge. …Band lawyer Rosanne Kyle says the pipeline would interfere with the Gitxaala’s aboriginal title, and their economic, cultural and spiritual way of life.”

If the 525,000 barrels per day tar sands pipeline project were to proceed, as many as 230 supertankers annually could move through Gitxaala Nation territory on the north coast of British Columbia. The Gitxaala have aboriginal rights including title in the area where these tankers would go through. Gitxaala means people of the salt water. They have noted the catastrophic effects an oil spill would have on the region’s narrow coastal channels especially given a large part of their diet comes from the sea.

Acting Chief Clarence Innis says, “Canada has violated its own constitution. Section 35 of the constitution says the federal government has a duty to consult with First Nations and they haven’t done that.”

Barlow has previously commented, “I’ve seen the growing strength of First Nations not only to these pipelines but to all exploitation of their lands and rights. I feel a strong determination and it speaks to a different future, one in which aboriginal title and rights are central to any decisions about the future.”

And she has said, “If the Harper government approves this and other export pipelines, Canada is clearly signalling its dependence on extreme forms of energy into the future. We are signalling our utter failure in helping to avoid runaway climate change by starting the conversion to a sustainable energy future.”

The Canadian Press notes, “The Gitxaala says it’s unlikely the court will hear the case for months because several other lawsuits have been filed and other parties are involved.”

The Council of Canadians supports the Gitxaala Nation and other nations pursuing legal challenges against the Northern Gateway pipeline.

Further reading
The Gitxaala Nation’s legal challenge against the Northern Gateway pipeline
Haisla Nation, Gitxaala Nation, groups file challenges against Northern Gateway project