Pull Together – First Nations legal challenges against Enbridge Northern Gateway: www.pull-together.ca
We’re witnessing a historic moment. The proposed Enbridge pipeline is dead! The federal government announced that it is revoking its approval for the Northern Gateway pipeline.
Seven First Nations – Gitxaala, Kitasoo/Xai’xais, Heiltsuk, Gitga’at, Haida, Nadleh Whut’en and Nak’azdli – have won the day against a multinational corporation with deep pockets, a humongous PR machine, and unimpeded access to government.
This is the first time First Nations successfully stopped a muti-billion dollar project with such a broad base of settler solidarity, manifesting in incredible and very real financial support. It is an unprecedented show of solidarity from the rest of Canadian society. Together, we’re a force to be reckoned with!
After rejecting Enbridge, Canada’s government announced their approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline. So: despite this victory, we have another fight on our hands. But for today, let’s celebrate!
“There is no force in the country stronger than the community we’ve built.”
Jess Housty, Heiltsuk First Nation
The federal government has approved the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tankers project, against the wishes of the majority of British Columbians. The proposed pipeline, which would run from the Alberta tar sands to B.C.’s northern coast, threatens the ocean, wildlife, communities and economy of British Columbia. Oil tankers navigating the narrow, reef-studded channels and inlets of B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest would cut through critical habitats of orcas and humpbacks and numerous other marine and coastal species. A single oil spill could devastate the coastal communities and First Nations that rely on tourism and fishing.
First Nations in B.C. have united in opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline. The Gitxaala, Kitasoo/Xai’xais, Heiltsuk, Gitga’at, Haida, Nadleh Whut’en and Nak’azdli Nations are going to court to stop the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tankers project. They have vowed to stop this dangerous project from ever being built. Their constitutional rights, recently strengthened in a Supreme Court of Canada decision, give them substantial power to stop it by going through the courts. The lawsuits attack the federal environmental review panel’s recommendations and Cabinet’s ensuing decision to authorize the Northern Gateway pipeline project. If successful, the lawsuits will result in the project approvals being set aside by the courts, which will delay or prevent the pipeline from being built.
The First Nations this campaign seeks to support – from the Central and North Coast and northern B.C.– have been actively engaged for years in the struggle to defend their rights and territories from the threat of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tankers. Some participated in the federal environmental review process, while others attended Enbridge AGMs and grounded their declarations of opposition in indigenous law. Now each of these nations has filed suit against the Federal government’s approval of Enbridge Northern Gateway.
“The Gitxaala Nation has followed all the rules,” said Gitxaala acting chief Clarence Innis. “We were involved with the Joint Review Panel, we provided evidence, we expressed concerns … those were all ignored. Canada has a duty to consult and that hasn’t happened.”
Why we need to Pull Together
Court challenges are expensive, and the federal government and Enbridge have deep pockets. But the rights and title of Canada’s First Nations are strong, and can win this. That’s why RAVEN Trust, Sierra Club BC and B.C. communities are building a legal defence fund — to provide First Nations the resources they need to win.
Pull-Together.ca is a new legal defence fund for First Nations’ legal challenges against Enbridge. Contributions from individuals, communities and businesses will be pooled together, then disbursed equally among the Nations to help pay for legal services.
The nations want their legal actions to stop the Enbridge pipeline and to keep oil tankers out of the Great Bear rainforest. We have raised $600,000 toward the cost of the seven judicial reviews. We received word November 29th that as a result of legal challenges the Federal government is revoking its approval of the Enbridge project.
How will funds be used?
The donations were spent on legal research, expert science, writing legal arguments, preparing documentary evidence and courtroom costs incurred by the Gitxaala, Kitasoo/Xai’xais, Heiltsuk,Haida, Gitga’at, Nadleh Whut’en and Nak’azdli Nations as they bring their legal challenge to the courts. All donations were held in trust by RAVEN and disbursed to the legal teams on a quarterly basis. Participating First Nations are coordinating their efforts to ensure work is not duplicated. All funds received and how they are used will be fully and publicly accounted for by RAVEN. Donations are eligible for tax receipts.
How can people get involved?
There are three way to participate. People can simply go to the Pull-Together.ca website and donate. Or people can sign up to become an online fundraiser with their own web page. And finally people are encouraged to host fundraising events in their communities – from a bottle drive to a dinner party; the only limit is their imagination. An event planning toolkit has been created to assist and provide advice.
Who is already pulling together?
In Terrace, a small environmental group, Douglas Channel Watch, raised $3000 at a fun evening dinner event, challenging other communities to give it a try. Since then, people have been pulling together in a variety of ways. A film screening in Vancouver raised $3000 and a musical evening raised $5000 on Pender Island. A Heiltsuk community activist set up a Pull Together fundraising page to encourage donations instead of wedding gifts and raised $7000. Businesses like Denman Island Chocolate, Patagonia, and Moksha Yoga have raised tens of thousands of dollars through in-shop promotions and customized products to promote the campaign to their customers.
Who’s behind Pull-Together.ca?
Pull-Together.ca is an initiative of Sierra Club BC and RAVEN Trust. Both are Victoria-based charities with long track records working with First Nations and on environmental issues.
You can help – Please spread the word & sign up!
Follow the Pull Together progress on Facebook. At this unique moment in history we are combining energies, pulling together to assist the nations in their legal actions to stop this project, and build a vastly different, much more hopeful future – one with a livable climate, a clean ocean and a low carbon economy.