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Maude Barlow signs Solidarity Accord against the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline

Vancouver – Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow is in Vancouver today to celebrate the third anniversary of the historic Save the Fraser Declaration. At the invitation of the Yinka Dene Alliance, Barlow and the Council of Canadians are joining other allies in signing onto and launching the new Solidarity Accord.

The Save the Fraser Declaration is an Indigenous law banning tar sands pipelines and tankers from crossing B.C., signed by representatives of over 130 First Nations. The Yinka Dene Alliance notes that “The Save the Fraser Declaration is an exercise of Indigenous law, Title, and Rights, and has status under First Nations law, Canadian law, and International law.”

The new Solidarity Accord adds the voices of a broad range of non-Indigenous allies to those of the Save the Fraser signatories in opposing the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and oil tanker expansion in British Columbia's coastal waters.

“Going after these pipelines is the most important fight we can have right now. If we allow these pipelines to go ahead, it’s going to mean that the industry is setting energy policy in Canada,” said Barlow. “These pipelines will result in a massive expansion of the tar sands instead of the sustainable energy future we need.”

A federally appointed Joint Review Panel of the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is due to issue its decision on the Northern Gateway pipeline before the end of this month. While the Joint Review Panel’s decision will be an important announcement, Harper's cabinet will make the final decision, which is expected in mid-2014.

Northern Gateway involves two 1,200-kilometre underground pipelines. One pipeline would move 525,000 barrels a day of bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands to Kitimat on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, to then be transported on the ocean by 225 super tankers a year. The other would move 193,000 barrels a day of condensate, which is used to dilute the bitumen from the tar sands so that it can flow through the pipelines.

The Yinka Dene Alliance and the Coastal First Nations have opposed the pipeline, as has the Council of Canadians and numerous other groups.

“I am honoured to sign this historic document as it is crucially important that community and civil society stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples in their resistance to these pipelines,” said Barlow in a statement (included below in full) upon signing the Solidarity Accord. “We recognize and respect First Nations’ decisions to ban tar sands pipelines and tankers from their territories and we offer our support and solidarity in upholding the Save the Fraser Declaration.”

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Twitter: @CouncilOfCDNs
http://canadians.org/pipelines

MAUDE BARLOW SOLIDARITY ACCORD STATEMENT

On behalf of the Council of Canadians, we are so grateful to be here with you all to celebrate the third anniversary of the Save the Fraser Declaration. It is wonderful to see the strength and resilience of the Yinka Dene Alliance, hundreds of First Nations, and all of your allies. What is even more inspiring is that this strength does not solely exist in this declaration or in this room, but also in the streets, in the media, and in all of our communities where people are saying “no” to tar sands projects. This declaration is part of a powerful story that your leadership has written and is continuing to write.

We are so honoured to have the opportunity to be written into this story. It is no question that we would sign onto the Solidarity Accord that is being launched today. We stand by you all and will continue to do so as Indigenous communities fight the deplorable actions of the Canadian government. It saddens us that colonization continues today in many forms, including the ongoing land grabs and undermining of Indigenous governance and leadership. As Indigenous people assert their rights and assert their self-determination, you are all setting the example for what our movements for justice can and should look like.

Celebrating the declaration and launching this accord is a moment in which we can visibly see our movement growing. We are so thankful for your tireless work and leadership, and are so happy to be one of the names on this Solidarity Accord because we know that there are so many people who stand with you.