Pipeline focus of protest in Fort St. James

Mark NIELSEN, Prince George Citizen, February 3, 2012

Hundreds of members of the Yinka Dene Alliance (YDA) protested the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline hearings in Fort St. James Thursday, carrying signs and placards expressing opposition to the proposal as they marched along the community’s main streets.

Yinka Dene protest against Enbridge hearings in Fort St James, Feb 2012

The protest coincided with the arrival of the federal joint panel review in the community of 1,339 people 152 kilometres northwest of Prince George for a public hearing. The YDA represents six first nations and sayd the pipeline will cross a quarter of their territories.

In a statement, YDA leaders accused the federal government of predetermining the review’s outcome while also making veiled references to violating the constitutionally-protected title and rights of first nations by alluding to the Supreme Court’s “justification” test for infringements of rights.

“[Prime Minister Stephen] Harper has shown his hand,” said Chief Jackie Thomas of Saik’uz First Nation.

“He has made it clear he’s planning to violate our constitutional rights and push the Enbridge pipeline through no matter what the result of the hearings.

“We’re not going to let that happen. We’ll use all the lawful means we have – under Canadian, International and Indigenous law – to stop the Enbridge pipelines from putting our communities and our neighbours at risk from oil spills.”

YDA leaders also labeled as “racist and insulting” a strategy memo released last week in an access to information request that defines aboriginal groups as “adversaries.”

They also maintain the project requires their “free, prior and informed consent” and called for a “reasonable decision-making process that would ensure First Nations have a seat at the table, along with other levels of government, on large resource developments.”

Prince George-Peace River Conservative MP Bob Zimmer did not return a request for comment Thursday.

http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/article/20120203/PRINCEGEORGE0101/302039996/-1/princegeorge/pipeline-focus-of-protest-in-fort-st-james

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Posted on February 3, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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