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The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) has signed a solidarity accord with Indigenous nations opposing pipelines in their territories.
The accord affirms the Save the Fraser Declaration, an Indigenous law signed by representatives of over 100 First Nations that states it "will not allow the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines, or similar Tar Sands projects, to cross [Indigenous] lands, territories and watersheds, or the ocean migration routes of Fraser River salmon."
Last month, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that the provincial government had failed in its duty to consult with Indigenous groups on the Northern Gateway pipeline.
"We agree with the recent ruling of the B.C. Supreme Court that the Province has not met its duty to consult with First Nations on Enbridge's Northern Gateway," said Paul Finch, BCGEU Treasurer in a statement. "We are proud to support the Save the Fraser Declaration, which demonstrates the resolve of First Nations in refusing consent for Northern Gateway."
The BCGEU has 65,000 members, many of whom work directly with the government. This significant number joins other labour unions including Unifor and the B.C. Teachers' Federation as well as businesses, environmental groups and community groups.
"BCGEU's endorsement of the Save the Fraser Declaration is indicative that more and more Canadians are committing to respect the laws and authority of First Nations and their efforts to protect the environment, fishers and the health and safety of all B.C. communities from Enbridge's Northern Gateway and other tar sands projects," said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.
The proposed Northern Gateway pipeline is a multi-billion dollar project that involves a new twin pipeline system for export of bitumen, running from near Edmonton, Alberta, to Kitimat B.C.
"Premier Clark and Prime Minister Trudeau be advised: the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway is dead, dead, dead," said Phillip. "We call on you to stand with us, and to work with us to come up with alternatives for real change."
Alyse Kotyk is a Vancouver-based writer and editor with a passion for social justice and storytelling. She studied English Literature and Global Development at Queen's University and is excited by media that digs deep, asks questions and shares narratives. Alyse was the Editor of Servants Quarters and has written for the Queen's News Centre, Quietly Media and the Vancouver Observer. She is now rabble's News Intern.