'Wall of opposition' to tar sands pipelines in B.C. grows stronger

Change the conversation, support rabble.ca today.

VANCOUVER -- The 'wall of opposition' to tar sands pipelines across British Columbia got stronger Thursday, as First Nations, environmental campaigners and municipal politicians gathered for a special public ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

The event was a celebration and a reaffirmation of the Save the Fraser Declaration, a historic statement of unity that prohibits tar sands exports across Indigenous lands. The Declaration, now signed by over 130 First Nations, "bans tar sands pipelines and tankers, as a matter of Indigenous law, from First Nations territories forming an unbroken chain from the U.S. border to the Arctic Ocean -- and spanning the entire length of B.C. from north to south." 

The B.C. Métis Federation, as well as the Tahltan Central Council and the Tahltan Band Council added their signatures to the Declaration. 

Members of the Yinka Dene Alliance, the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, Assembly of First Nations Grand Chief Edward John of the First Nations Summit and other First Nations' representatives took part as well. 

To mark the occasion, Mayor Gregor Robertson announced that December 13th had been officially designated as "Save the Fraser Day" by the City of Vancouver. Mayor Robertson called the proposed pipeline and tankers projects part of a "frightening and unsustainable" future, adding "A great majority of this city is opposed [to the pipelines] and will stand strong to make sure these projects do not impact us, do not undermine our environment, our economy and our future."

Earlier this year, the City of Vancouver and neighbouring Burnaby passed resolutions against the proposed expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline which, if built, would result in a massive growth of oil tanker traffic in Vancouver harbour. 

The Save the Fraser Declaration was initially negotiated in 2010, as a response to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project. Both the wording of the Declaration, and the scope of the signatories, reflect the unity of opposition to all expansion of tar sands export infrastructure. 

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs explained that Indigenous leaders and communities are prepared to do whatever it takes to stop Enbridge, including "political support and legal support, and, if necessary, to link arms on the front line." 

National Chief Atleo emphasized the importance of the Save the Fraser Declaration as an assertion by First Nations of their aboriginal rights and title: "We will stand with you as you say no to what is being proposed in your territories."

Further Reading

Thank you for reading this story...

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all. But media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our only supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help.

If everyone who visits rabble and likes it chipped in a couple of dollars per month, our future would be much more secure and we could do much more: like the things our readers tell us they want to see more of: more staff reporters and more work to complete the upgrade of our website.

We’re asking if you could make a donation, right now, to set rabble on solid footing in 2017.

Make a donation.Become a monthly supporter.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.