Lax Kw’alaams is boycotting Enbridge hearings in Prince Rupert

First Nation group in Prince Rupert decides that the Enbridge hearings are a sham, and they will not participate.

The chief of the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation, Gary Reece, announced on Thursday morning that that his nation will be boycotting the National Energy Board hearings on the Enbridge pipeline.

Reece calls the whole process “a sham,” and that his people have already made their views on the project at the anti-Enbridge protest in Prince Rupert over a week ago.

“We are not in favour of [Enbridge], we are totally against it. And we will do anything in our power that it doesn’t happen; to keep them from coming into out territory. Our people have spoken loud and clear,” says Reece at a small press conference in Prince Rupert.

Over the past several weeks, the Harper Government has criticized environmental groups and other pipeline opponents for receiving funding from groups in the US, framing it as a case of foreign interference in a Canadian matter. The Conservatives have also called opponents “radicals” who are hijacking the regulatory process to further their own agenda.

Reece says that this kind of rhetoric coming from a sitting has undermined the impartiality of the process and that the Tories have already decided what the conclusion of the National Energy Board process will be. The hearings are deeply flawed, says Reece, and Lax Kw’alaams wants nothing to do with them.

“The government has already made it clear that they support Enbridge and the pipeline coming into our territory. So to me, it seems very flawed and we’re not going to take part in them,” says Reece.

But Stephen Harper doesn’t sit on the National Energy Board, and the point of an arms-length regulatory body is to prevent undue political influence from swaying its decisions. Doesn’t matter says Reece.

“To me the National Energy Board is part of the government . . . When the government makes a decision and you’re working for the government, you take direction from the government.

Lax Kw’alaams has a lot to lose if there was ever a spill as the community relies heavily on fishing to support itself. Reece says they have already a taste of what could happen when the Queen of the North Sank and the resulting chemicals from the wreck made abalone unfit to eat. During meetings with the company in the community, Reece says that the company wasn’t able to address their concerns.

“If [a spill] ever happens, then what are we going to be left with? One of the questions we asked to Enbridge was: how are you going to compensate my people if there’s ever an oil spill? The couldn’t answer that,” says Reece.

Although Lax Kw’alaams may be not participating, the other large First Nation in the Prince Rupert area is. Metlakatla intends to plan to make a lengthy presentation at the Rupert energy board hearings, which will be the first of the meetings to allow oral evidence to be given by organizations registered as interveners.

Reece wouldn’t go as far as to say that Metlakatla is making a mistake by taking part in in the hearings, but says its their decision but Lax Kw’alaams sees the process as too flawed.

For the company’s part, representatives for Enbridge say that they respect Reece’s decision but otherwise have no comment.

 

Just Posted

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Hydaburg makes it three in a row

Hydaburg came back from 10 points down in the second half to beat Aiyansh

Break-in at Prince Rupert BC Liquor Store

A man was arrested by RCMP after a break-in on Feb. 18

Most Highway 16 closures for avalanches in years after multiple dumps of snow

Highway 16 has had four closures between Terrace and Prince Rupert due to 35 mile avalanche area

Beverley Clifton Percival joins Port of Prince Rupert’s board of directors

The newest board member worked as a negotiator for the Gitxsan Treat Society

MVP of the Week: Liberation in swimming and skiing

Prince Rupert’s 17-year-old Kobi Franes has a passion both in the pool and on the slopes

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Shop Prince Rupert winners

In the past years, more than $250,000 has been spent at Shop Prince Rupert merchants

Virtue and Moir end ice dance careers with Olympic gold

Virtue and Moir’s gold medal win at the Olympics makes them the world’s most decorated figure skaters

Canadians find living in small spaces teaches creativity

Canadian families choosing to live in small spaces to bring closeness to children

B.C. Ferries aims to improve passenger perceptions

CEO acknowledges corporation is sometimes seen in a negative light

SAR suspends search for missing man at Sun Peaks

RCMP will continue to search for a missing man near Kamloops but SAR has suspended their role

Lottery will help save children’s lives

Each ticket gets you a chance to win a lot of money, while helping a lot of kids

B.C. RCMP officer officially cleared in car wash shooting incident

A report found the Salmon Arm officer fired 14 bullets at the man’s truck

Most Read