Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Chief Terry Nelson: Letter to WFPress on Keystone Pipeline

Dear Editors of Winnipeg Free Press

First of all, I thank you for sending a reporter to our Treaty One Press
Conference. I would also like to clarify some of the comments makes
regarding the issue in the article and then for the benefit of the readers
to restate some of the conference information left out of the article as
written by Ms. Welch.

"The First Nations hope to parlay those consultations into a funding deal
that would give the bands a source of revenue, similar to property taxes
collected on the pipeline by rural municipalities."

The First Nations are not looking to "parlay those consultations into a
funding deal", we want payment not funding. As property owners, Treaty One
lands being 16,700 square miles(10,688,00 acres)of prime lands in south
central Manitoba including all of the City of Winnipeg, we don't want to
apply for funding from Ottawa for pipeline access through our territory, we
want direct payment from the pipeline. The farmers, property title holders,
the Municipalities, the Provinces, the Federal Government and Industry, all
get direct payment and benefits, only the First Nation seem to be patronized
as children who must once again have Ottawa oversee how we spend our own

This court case will not drag on, we expect Ottawa will respond and respond

Just the two pipelines alone, Keystone (500,000) and the Alberta Clipper
(800,000) will pump 1.3 million barrels of oil a day to the States. There is
no way that Canada can afford to have these projects tied up in lengthy
court processes.

Per day, 1.3 million barrels X $100 a barrel equals $130,000,000.
Per year $130,000,000 X 365 days equals $47,450,000,000.
Five years, $47,450,000,000 X 5 years equals $237,250,000,000.

The Americans account for 72% of all foreign investment in Canada! They are
not about to wait for the oil as the issue drags through Canadian courts for
five years. America needs 21 million barrels of oil a day but only produces
7 million barrels domestically and therefore needs 14 million barrels of
foreign oil per day. They will pay roughly $1.4 billion per day for foreign
oil at the current price of $100 a barrel. Do we want Americans to pay the
Arabs for that oil or do we want them to buy Canadian?

When oil was $10 a barrel, the Liberals told the First Nations, there is no
room in this for you guys to get a share, now at $100 a barrel, the
Conservatives are saying the same thing, sorry, there is no room in this for
you people. Yet there is no fight between the title holders, (farmers) or
the municipalities and the pipeline companies. The white guys get to share
in the benefits, no question, no problem. Under the Realty Act,
Municipalities automatically share in the benefits of utilities passing
through their territory.

So, the titleholders, like the farmers, the Municipalities, the Provinces,
the Federal Government, and Industry all get benefits, everyone except the
original owners of the lands and resources, the indigenous peoples. Exxon
reports in one of its quarter, a $10.4 billion profit, (revenue they couldn’
t hide under expenses) yet still no money in this for the indigenous
peoples. For the federal government to shirk its lawful obligation on the
duty to consult and accommodate and to leave Industry on its own trying to
meet First Nations individually is not a good way to do business.

On April 15-17, 2008, Treaty One will host an Oil Conference at the Victoria
Inn in Winnipeg. Most of the First Nations from all the numbered Treaties
from one to eleven will be in attendance. The issue for us is that
important. Canada can pump 3 million barrels of oil a day out of the ground
but it still requires the pipelines to get that oil to the US market. We
will have most of the indigenous parties to the western treaty areas of
Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba in one room. Why is the government not
taking the steps to consult and accommodate, we are giving the government
every opportunity to meet with us, but we need real negotiations, not
promises to consult some time in the future.

At $100 a barrel for oil, the Americans will spend as much as $511 billion a
year on purchases of foreign oil. How much of that half a trillion dollars
is going to unstable countries. Americans need to ask, will what they pay at
the pumps finance future terrorist activity against the United States. With
Venezuela threatening to cut oil to the United States, this is a huge issue
for Americans. Do we want to move this issue into debate south of border or
do we want to resolve it here?

The government of Canada must follow the law. The law is clearly spelled out
in numerous Supreme Court of Canada decisions, the government cannot simply
ignore the law.

The municipalities do not have to ask to pledge their revenue to banks but
if we are funded by government, we can never pledge our future revenue to
banks and therefore will be in the same situation as we find ourselves now.

The pipelines will not go through without our participation and at a loss of
$130 million dollars a day for just these two pipelines, it is in the best
interest of Canada, for industry and voters to lobby the federal government
to do what the courts have ordered the federal government to do, maintain
the honor of the crown, consult and accommodate.

Chief Terrance Nelson

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