Battle looms over Enbridge project

  • Feb. 7, 2014 7:00 p.m.

The Haida Nation is getting ready for a major fight to stop the Enbridge pipeline and tankers, and island politicians agreed it should take the lead role when they met at the protocol table Feb. 5 in Sandspit. “We are getting prepared for the battle of our lives here on Haida Gwaii. We are going to need all Haida Gwaii to rally to do what we are prepared to do,” Haida Nation president Peter Lantin told those attending, including leaders from every community except Masset. Mr. Lantin said everyone knows the Enbridge project will be approved by the federal government, and islanders need to be prepared for what comes next. “What’s the plan? We know it’s coming, what is our plan? The Haida Nation has talked about it, we haven’t talked to our neighbours about itÂ…The Haida Nation wants to share our problems with this table,” he said. The Enbridge project was opposed by all islanders who made presentations to the Joint Review Panel when it met in Old Massett and Skidegate in 2012, and by 98 percent of those who made presentations to it elsewhere. Nevertheless, the panel approved the project subject to a lengthy list of conditions, and the federal government, which is avowedly in favour of the project, is expected to give it the green light in a matter of months. When that happens, the Haida Nation is likely to challenge the project in court, possibly arguing that there was not the sort of meaningful consultation the Canadian constitution requires. “When it comes to Enbridge, the Haida Nation is going to be engaging in a broader coastal legal strategy with other First Nations,” Mr. Lantin said, “We will do everything we can possible to let them know we won’t stand for it. The Haida Nation will take the leadership role.” That sounded fine to the other community leaders attending. “The CHN is going to lead the way and we are all going to assist, that’s our strategy,” regional district director Evan Putterill said, ending the discussion about Enbridge and its project.

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