Nault Snubs Deh Cho, Imperils Pipeline
The Deh Cho First Nations are calling on the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to stop obstructing the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline review process.
“Minister Nault’s stubborn refusal to recognize that this process is fatally tainted is a barrier to moving on with plans to review the pipeline,” says Herb Norwegian, Grand Chief of the Deh Cho First Nations. “For the good of all parties concerned with this pipeline proposal, the Minister must stop playing power games, and grant our reasonable and legitimate request to be part of the pipeline review process.”
Despite the fact that forty percent of the proposed pipeline runs through their traditional lands, The DCFN were not included in an original plan to review the pipeline proposal, known as the “Cooperation Plan”. Evidence uncovered by the DCFN also shows that a senior bureaucrat involved in brokering the Co-operation Plan has an interest in lands along the pipeline route. His wife owns mineral claims that cover key staging areas for the pipeline.
Instead of making amends for his government’s mistakes, Minister Nault’s response to the revelations has been to shift blame back on the Deh Cho, and to ignore the First Nations’ requests. He was quoted by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as saying, “I think this is more of their negotiator trying to negotiate here in Ottawa the discussions we’re having at the table itself. The co-operation agreement is in effect. We are moving ahead with the pipeline application we understand very soon and we’re going to keep moving on the regulatory process we’ve set out.”
“The Deh Cho First Nations are often cast as the bad guys, the pipeline opponents”, says Chief Keyna Norwegian of Liidlii Kue First Nation. “Let’s get this straight. The DCFN are not opposing the pipeline. They are just asking that an obviously flawed process be scrapped, to allow the First Nations to represent their own interests in a new review process. We need the Minister to quit blaming us, and to start working with us.”
The DCFN would prefer that the government invite the Deh Cho to take part in a new pipeline review process, an agreement that could be speedily reached. If the government refuses, the First Nations will have no choice but to file a court injunction against the process, which could result in a considerable delay or stop the pipeline altogether.
For more information, please contact:
Grand Chief Herb Norwegian: (867) 695-2355
DCFN Chief Negotiator, Chris Reid: (416) 466-9928