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Solidarity with Aroland and Ginoogaming First Nations’ court challenge vs. TransCanada pipeline ‘integrity digs’

The Council of Canadians expresses its solidarity with the injunction motion launched by the Aroland and Ginoogaming First Nations against pipeline ‘integrity digs’ in Treaty 9 territory in northwest Ontario.

Their media release notes, “The physical work that our First Nations are seeking to stop – at least until the duty to consult and accommodate our constitutionally-protected rights is met – is called ‘integrity digs’. TransCanada intends to bring in heavy equipment and dig up a lot of land and expose the buried pipeline in a 30 km stretch that runs through our traditional territories. TransCanada says it needs to do this to check and possibly repair the pipeline. TransCanada’s notice to the NEB says it intends to start the integrity digs work on January 18, but it has agreed to hold off until January 25. It also says it will continue this work up to July 18 2017.”

It adds, “One issue in the injunction motion is whether TransCanada is seeking to do the integrity digs work more to prepare the pipeline to be converted to carry crude oil for the Energy East project – which is far from being approved – as compared to any need to do the work to maintain the physical integrity of the pipe to carry natural gas, which is what is may be carrying now. …The fact that no one has made it clear to us if this work is for Energy East is not a burden that we should bear, and is not an excuse to allow this work in defiance of our rights now.”

The lawyer for the First Nations, Kate Kempton, says, “The integrity digs work will likely cause impacts on aboriginal and Treaty 9 rights to harvest (hunt, fish, trap, gather plants and medicines, etc.) and to protect burial grounds and other cultural heritage sites and values. They will cause impacts to the First Nations’ culture, sacred relationship to the land that is at the core of their identity as indigenous communities, and on their ability to continue to survive with the land. Canadian law should require the First Nations’ consent before such activity can proceed in accordance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

The Council of Canadians calls on its Toronto-area supporters to be present in Ontario Superior Court on Wednesday January 25 to stand with the Aroland and Ginoogaming First Nations.

For more on our campaign to stop the Energy East pipeline, please click here.