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The Coast Keepers takes a close look at how the Kitasoo/Xai'Xais, Heiltsuk, Nuxalk, and Wuikinuxv Nations are stewarding our marine territories.
Full length release coming June 30th!
On World Oceans Day, June 8, Coastal First Nations say renewed federal support for ocean protection will help protect BC’s ocean health, economy and First Nation cultures
Vancouver (June 8, 2016) – On World Oceans Day, Coastal First Nations say the Federal Government’s renewed commitment to ocean protection and co-management is an important step toward reconciliation with First Nations governments and protection of British Columbia’s marine health and ocean economy today and for future generations.
Kelly Russ, new Chair of the Coastal First Nations Great Bear Initiative, says a collaborative process to establish a network of marine protected areas for the north Pacific coast by 2020 will help protect species and ecosystems underpinning the BC’s ocean economy. “Co-governance of the Northern Shelf Bio-Region marine planning process between Canada, BC and First Nations promises to give real meaning to reconciliation, and to oceans and fisheries co-management,” says Russ.
An Information Bulletin “B.C. and Coastal First Nations sign LNG agreement” on May 17, 2016 suggested that BC and CFN signed an LNG agreement.
The Coastal First Nations (CFN) wants to make it clear there has been no endorsement by CFN for LNG developments on the coast.
Nor has CFN signed any agreement indicating they endorse LNG.
The agreement ensures that we will be engaged with the federal and provincial government in addressing environmental issues related to LNG rather than being forced to live with decisions made by others.
Benefits that come out of the Coastal First Nations Liquified Gas Benefits Agreement include:
• A strategic regional approach to environmental stewardship.
• A commitment from the Province to conduct two airshed studies (Kitimat and Prince Rupert).
Last week, Qqs staff learned that one of our key funders for Koeye Camp was withdrawing virtually all of their financial support for our 2016 youth programs.
After more than 15 years of regular contributions to our programs, this came as a huge surprise, and the news came too late for us to locate contingency funds.
Specifically, these funds target wages for the Heiltsuk student leaders who are the backbone of our programs. Each year, we hire 15-18 Heiltsuk secondary and post-secondary students across our programs to build capacity in our young people and create meaningful employment opportunities for the emerging generation of leaders in our community. Faced with the prospect of this unexpected funding cut, we are struggling to find a way forward.
BC and Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines on Hook to Pay $230,000 in Court Costs to Coastal First Nations and Gitga’at First Nation
(Vancouver, May 10, 2016) – The Supreme Court of BC has ruled the Province of BC and Northern Gateway must pay $230,000 in court costs to the Coastal First Nations (CFN) and Gitga’at First Nation.
“We are very pleased with the decision,” said CFN Chair Kelly Russ. “The decision is a victory for the tireless work of our leaders and our Gitgaat community in the fight to protect the waters, lands and resources in the Great Bear Rainforest.”
In the ruling Madam Justice Koenigsberg stated that “the public interest test has been met and that the issues in this case involve matters that are “truly exceptional” and of “significant and widespread societal impact.” She further ruled that “the petitioners represent a significant segment of the BC and central coast population, all of whom have a interest in the Province meeting its obligation to them to do all it can to protect the environment, while advancing the economic interests of the Province.”
(Vancouver, May 6, 2016) – The Coastal First Nations says it is hypocritical of Enbridge to ask the National Energy Board (NEB) for a 3-year extension to increase First Nation support for its Northern Gateway Project.
Coastal First Nations Chair Kelly Russ said Enbridge has little support from BC First Nations. In fact, their letter requesting an extension makes it clear only one First Nation in BC has signed on with Enbridge.
Without the NEB’s approval, Enbridge’s certificate will expire on December 31, 2016, unless construction of the pipeline or the Kitimat Terminal has commenced by that date.
Russ said a 3-year extension until 2019 means that most of the studies submitted in Enbridge’s original application will be more than 10 years old. “They will no longer reflect the latest environmental conditions. This in unacceptable environmental assessment practice and the baseline studies must be redone and updated.”
(Vancouver, April 28, 2016) - The Coastal First Nations say it’s a waste of time and money for Enbridge or the Federal Government to consider moving the end point of the Northern Gateway Project.
Coastal First Nations chair Kelly Russ said moving the end point of the Enbridge project from Kitimat to Prince Rupert or another port will not have any impact on how our communities view the project. “We remain firmly opposed to the project and are committed to ensuring that local economies and sensitive ecological areas are protected from impacts of an oil spill.”
Russ says it would be a mistake for the Liberal government to consider another port for Northern Gateway. “We had hoped that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s directive for a moratorium on oil tanker traffic on BC’s north coast put an end to Northern Gateway.”
(Vancouver, March 24, 2016) - Coastal First Nations (CFN) is encouraged by the Liberal Government’s 2016 budget tabled in the House of Commons.
CFN Chairperson Kelly Russ said the budget addresses some of concerns that our communities face. “The devil is always in the details but we are hopeful the budget signals the honouring of the nation-to-nation relationship the Liberal government has promised First Nations.”
We are encouraged by the commitment to fund $5.0 billion over the next five years in infrastructure that protects communities and supports Canada’s ongoing transition to a clean growth economy, including CFN communities, he said. “This fits in well with our work to develop a sustainable coastal economy.”
Russ said we also welcome the monies set aside for harbours in small communities. “We must have safe and accessible harbours that are good working condition and meet the needs of our communities.”
(Vancouver, March 23, 2016) - The Coastal First Nations is pleased to announce the appointment of Kelly Harvey Russ to the position of Chair.
Kelly brings significant legal and human rights experience to the position. His experience as a board member and a mediator strengthens the Coastal First Nations leadership group, said Chief Marilyn Slett.
As well as acting as the official spokesperson for the Coastal First Nations, Kelly’s primary responsibilities include providing leadership in the areas of fundraising, liaising with governments, industry, and conservation groups and providing support to the Board of Directors.