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Three chapters raise funds for First Nation legal challenges against Northern Gateway pipeline

Pull Together Nanaimo

The Council of Canadians Mid Island chapter is organizing an event on December 18 to raise funds for legal challenges by the Gitxaala, Heiltsuk, Haida, Kitasoo/Xai’xais, Nadleh Whut’en, and Nak’azdli Nations against the proposed 525,000 barrels per day Northern Gateway pipeline between Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimat, British Columbia.

This follows events in November in which the Council of Canadians Victoria and Vancouver-Burnaby chapters raised $1,230 for the Pull Together fund.

The Nanaimo Daily Star reports, “Nanaimo artists and activists will harness the power of the arts to lend support to five First Nations groups mounting a legal challenge to an oil pipeline from Alberta to coastal British Columbia. Artists in Solidarity, a group of concerned Nanaimo artists, the Mid Island chapter Council of Canadians and the Mid Island Television Society are behind Nanaimo’s Pull Together concert to help fund a battle against the Enbridge Northern Gateway proposal.”

The article highlights, “The show will include live music, dance and multimedia at the Harbour City Theatre. The lineup includes: Tongue and Groove, Hub City Ramblers, Waiting for James, Vesta Fire, Kwan’wah’tala Galis, Patrick Aleck and Dancer artists Jamie Black and Samantha Letourneau accompanied by musicians April Laurie, Mariko Ihara and [Council of Canadians activist] Paul Manly.”

And it quotes Manly who says, “We want to show our solidarity with the First Nations who are standing up against this proposed pipeline. …There are so many reasons to oppose Northern Gateway including lack of proper consultation with First Nations, the climate effects of rapid expansion of the tarsands, piping raw bitumen across hundreds of fish-bearing rivers and streams, shipping raw bitumen through dangerous waters and the export of raw materials and Canadian jobs.”

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has stated, “Stopping the Northern Gateway pipeline is one of the most important fights we have right now. If we allow Northern Gateway to go ahead, it will mean a massive expansion of the tar sands, more harm to the land, water and climate, and yet another delay for the clean energy future we need. First Nations are the rightful stewards of their lands and should be the ones to decide if and how they are developed. The Council of Canadians will stand with them in the coming battles to stop this pipeline.”

The Gitxaala Nation asserts that the National Energy Board’s joint review panel did not properly consider Aboriginal rights and title or weigh the adverse effects of having as many as 230 supertankers moving through their territorial waters on an annual basis. Their legal challenge says the panel failed to properly assess the evidence before it according to established legal standards, the consultation process was inadequate, and that the panel made its conclusions without providing reasons, notably not explaining why it found the pipeline would have ‘no adverse effects’ on aboriginal culture or the environment.

Pull Together seeks to raise $300,000 for the legal challenges. To date, it’s raised $282,000. An anonymous donor is matching every dollar raised for this fund.

For a blog noting Council of Canadians actions in opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline, please click here.