NEWS RELEASE · 16th May 2013
Uninvited and Unwelcome: First Nation Asks Enbridge to Leave Territory Following Botched Consultation
Gitga'at First Nation reminds Enbridge that Northern Gateway pipeline and oil tanker project is not welcome in Gitga'at territory
HARTLEY BAY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
The Gitga'at First Nation has instructed Enbridge to leave its territory after the company and a team of oil spill response surveyors showed-up uninvited, during the nation's annual food harvesting camp, a time of rich cultural activity and knowledge sharing.
Enbridge representatives were instructed to leave Gitga'at council chambers and Gitga'at territory, Wednesday morning, after councillors voiced their displeasure at not being consulted on an Enbridge oil spill response survey.
The dust-up comes on the eve of final oral arguments before the Joint Review Panel, which is reviewing the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.
"Despite an ongoing review process, Enbridge has entered our territory and begun project work before their proposed oil tanker and pipeline project has even been approved," said Arnold Clifton, Chief Councillor of the Gitga'at First Nation. "This is disrespectful to the Gitga'at First Nation, the review process, and the people of British Columbia, who oppose oil tankers in our coastal waters."
"Four years ago when Enbridge CEO Patrick Daniel and Northern Gateway President John Carruthers visited Hartley Bay, we treated them respectfully, but informed them in no uncertain terms that their project is not welcome in Gitga'at Territory. We reminded their staff of that today," said Clifton.
Enbridge signaled its intention to enter Gitga'at territory by sending an after hours fax without proper contact information, less than a week before their arrival, and without prior consultation. The fax also mistakenly included a letter addressed to Chief Councillor Conrad Lewis of the Gitxaala First Nation, which the Gitga'at returned to Enbridge.
"It's hard to imagine a company screwing-up its relationships with First Nations more than Enbridge has," said Marven Robinson, Gitga'at Councillor.
"This incident shows not only the failure of Enbridge to meaningfully consult, but also indicates an insensitive, scatter-shot approach to dealing with First Nations. We remain resolved to protect our territory and people from this project."
200 hundred years ago....
Comment by Janice Robinson on 18th May 2013
The Hudson Bay Company slimed itself over the Rocky Mountains, with booze, Indian "guides," treachery and trinkets. They too were unvited and unwelcome.
Canada and the U.S. of A. are "nations' of the uninvited. They didn't care then, and they don't care now.
Yes. Here comes Enbridge. How do you feel about Mandarin as Canada's second language in a hundred years?
Comment by Don Camsell on 17th May 2013
It would be useful to remind Enbridge of what the consequences of trespassing would have been 200 years ago!
Diplomacy and Leadership
Comment by Neil on 16th May 2013
Nothing surprises me anymore with Enbridge. I can't imagine how ugly that would have been if Chief Clifton, his council and CEO Torng were not committed to respect in the face of disrespect, and stewardship of our seas and lands in the face of crass commercialism. Congrats Gitga'at, fight the good fight!
Comment by Gary Edwards on 16th May 2013
Where does Enbridge get this utter arrogance from.
I will say they are very fortunate that the First Nations are still using diplomacy. If these bastards came into my yard uninvited there would be a big measure of physical hell to pay.
Is there some kind of deal that was made by Clark if she got elected? That's what this appears to me.