Representatives of a B.C. First Nation that is deeply opposed to a proposed pipeline expansion emerged from a meeting Monday with Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr to say they believe the fix is in.
But Chief Maureen Thomas of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation says that if the federal Liberals do approve Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain oil pipeline, her people have no interest in the kind of violent confrontations taking place in Standing Rock over the Dakota Access pipeline.
“I think first and foremost we will continue our best to try and talk to the government in one form or another,” Thomas told a news conference when asked about the tactics being used by Standing Rock protesters.
“We’ve tried to do everything in the right way. We’ve always tried to take the high road. We’re not here to disrupt the rest of Canada. We’re not here to cause problems for individuals.”
Thomas’s nephew Rueben George said the Tsleil-Waututh Nation is confident and comfortable with the extent to which Canada’s Constitution protects indigenous rights.
“We’ll do what it takes legally to stop it, but Tsleil-Waututh Nation said all along we’ll do what it takes – period – to stop it,” said George. That doesn’t include violence, he said.
“Standing Rock – I believe Canadians and the government wouldn’t want that. People are being shot. A lady’s arm was blown off,” said George.
“That’s something that we would want to avoid. People are getting really, really hurt down there every single day.”
Thomas and a local delegation met with Carr on Parliament Hill in what she said was their last talk before the Liberal cabinet announces its decision on the oil pipeline, which would carry diluted bitumen from Alberta to the port in Burnaby, B.C.
But the chief said she didn’t consider a number of brief meetings with the minister to be proper consultations.
George called it the “worst kept secret” that Ottawa plans to approve the pipeline.
The government is expected to announce as early as Tuesday its decision on two other pending pipeline bids by Enbridge: the stalled Northern Gateway pipeline across northern B.C. to Kitimat and the replacement and expansion of the Line 3 line from Alberta through southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba into U.S. markets.
A decision on Kinder Morgan’s pipeline must come no later than Dec. 19.
Bruce Cheadle, The Canadian Press