You are here

Coastal First Nations pull out of this week's Northern Gateway Pipeline Joint Review Panel hearings

February 4, 2013


(Prince Rupert, BC) February 4, 2013 – Coastal First Nations can’t afford to participate in this week’s Joint Review Panel (JRP) on the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline in Prince Rupert.

 This is a David and Goliath scenario, said Art Sterritt. “It seems the only party that can afford this long and extended hearing process is Enbridge and, perhaps, the Federal Government. The average citizen can’t afford to be here and the Coastal First Nations cannot afford to be here.”

Sterritt, the executive director of the Coastal First Nations, said pulling out was a difficult decision because the Emergency Response Panel is dealing with important issues. “We planned to ask questions that included: does diluted bitumen sink; how quickly can a spill be responded to and how effective can cleanup be; how long will spilled oil remain in the ecosystem and what are the costs of a spill cleanup and who will pay.”

It is clear that more scientific study is needed on emergency preparedness, he said.  “Despite the lack of information it is continuing with the process. Ultimately this means the JRP will not have the information it needs to make an informed recommendation and that in turn means the Federal Government will be making decisions not based on science.”

The funding disparity isn’t the only JRP issue the Coastal First Nations is unhappy with.  “We are dismayed with the nature of the hearing process itself. Enbridge witnesses are not answering questions or their answers are self-serving and non-responsive. We see cross-examination answers by Enbridge witnesses which are crafted with, or provided by, other persons sitting behind these witnesses who cannot be cross-examined. This does not seem fair to us at all.”

We had agreed to participate in this process on the basis that the JRP was going to be a decision-maker on whether or not the project would go ahead.  Then the Federal Government unilaterally changed the decision-making process, he said. “This was blatantly unfair and smacks of double dealing – something we as First Nation have become accustomed to with this government.”

Coastal First Nations will continue to monitor these proceedings and we will do what we can to participate given our limited resources, Sterritt said. “We are profoundly disappointed with the nature of this process. Taken together these problems undermine the legitimacy and authenticity of the hearing process, our pursuit of the true facts and, ultimately, a just result.”




this is B.C. not NG pipeline. They should be sitting down to our table. Be told to stay out of our waters and absolutly no pipeline permitted.
For our government to get a backbone.

Do I find this surprising? NO, it was a matter of time, is it fair that OUR Native Peoples can nor afford to continue on in this particular matter, which so directly impacts on them NO? Real Basic the wealthy corporations had all the time and resources needed to simply wait out the side of Common Decency...Once again our Gov is letting proper hearings that allow all of those most affected just slip away under the carpet...WE live in a very sad and corrupt system...Tragic...

If the First Nation people is not at the JRP hearing , there is no point to continue. They must be there and get answers that are of vital importance for our environment.

The First Nations' stance on exploiting our resources and jeopardizing our environment for the sake of the time-proven lie, "jobs and economy" resonates with my own value system: my own perception of the state and times we are in - not simply as "Canadians" but as a human species.

What has emerged, notably in the last year, is a collage of world-issues, all interrelated, and all embracing the following themes: transparency vs. deceit in government, expression vs suppression of truth in mainstream media, accountability of both government and industry in being custodians of the planet, vs "pimping" the environment for short-term financial gain.

The Era of Fossil Fuel is over. It has to be over for the survival of life on this planet. The era of Environmental Negligence is over. It has to be over for our survival as a species. The era of Government and Media's unholy alliance with Money is over. The back-room deals mediated by money and deceit spell short-term gain for the 'privileged' and permanent loss for the society of Mankind.

All who have conscience and voice, no matter what nation, culture or belief-system you adhere to, need stand up and be counted at this time. The earth we stand on - whether you consider it a God-given gift, a long-standing and painful evolution of Nature, or an accidental universal 'fluke' - yields the abundance and the life-sustaining elements that we depend upon, every single day of our lives. It's an unacceptable travesty that governments - particularly those who hide behind the veneer of "family values" and "morality", would take such a gift, such a blessing, and exploit it for the stupidity of short-term financial gain. It's an insult to the 'God' they worship, it's an insult to the people who elected them, and it's an insult to the untold generations of people who will inherit an earth in turbulent disarray.

The time for change is NOW. The time to ACT is NOW. If you can't hear the voice of the earth crying out in pain, you are simply a negligent parent letting your own child fall down an infinite stairway of despair. This is more than a First Nations' issue, more than a 'Canadian' issue - this is an issue of being a true human being on this precious planet, in this amazing day and age.

My thanks to those, including the voices of the First Nations, who are rising to the occasion to protect what we cannot afford to lose.

This whole process with the Harper Govn't is a scam .. that pipeline will be be shoved through ! It will take a revolt to stop it . Count me in !!

Your announcement yesterday was courageous and should signal to all British Columbias and Canadians that we are living in an undemocratic country and all of our people are being played like children in a school yard or seniors on drugs in a seniors home. As we put all our hopes and energy into this 2yr Panel Process thinking the members of the panel couldn't possibly vote in favor of mass environmental destruction, cultural suppression and extinction, petrostate monopolies, climate change exceleration....our National Govt is
promoting and committing Ecocide..crime against the environment before our very eyes! It is like the story of the Emporer with no Clothes! No one can believe what is before their own eyes!
Thank you for for finally calling out an expensive, exhaustive and farcical process. Meanwhile back in Ottawa Harper is happy to have less of us working on stopping him fr his resource sell off scheme to foreign interests who will have rights to sue Canada but Canada has no rights to sue them!
Please let's pay attention to what Harper has done and is doing to sell off unprotected natural resources! BC Barb

I totally agree with you as I listened yesterday to the cross examination. Thank you for standing up for what is right for our environment and our children.

I agree completely with the reasons for non participating. But the voices that would have been recorded in the transcripts of the hearings for all to read now and in the future will be lost. That is a big loss!

Add new comment

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.