Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Chief Terry Nelson, Roseau River-- Open Letter to Prentice on Enbridge Alberta Clipper Pipeline

Dear Minister Prentice,

Re: Pipelines Across Treaty # One Territory

I have yet to receive a response from you on the October 10th letter I sent to you regarding the Enbridge Alberta Clipper pipeline. This pipeline as proposed will cross Treaty one territory and is currently in the National Energy Board approval process. The federal government must take this matter seriously and you as the Minister in charge of pipelines must be proactive in addressing the concerns of First Nations in these matters.

The Alberta Clipper by itself will send over 300 million barrels of oil a year to the Americans. At the current price of nearly $100 a barrel, the revenue to industry, the federal government, provinces and municipalities will be over 30 billion dollars a year from this pipeline alone. This ongoing projected revenue of $30 billion a year from the Alberta Clipper does not include the revenue from all the other pipelines and proposed pipelines that carry oil and natural gas to the American and Canadian markets. We are being informed that the municipalities are paid $20,000 a kilometre for each and every year that the pipelines carry product to market. Is this true and why are the First Nation not included in these payments?

Canada has yet to fulfill the legal requirement of Treaty Land Entitlement for Treaty one First Nations. The reservation land quantum condition in Treaty one has not been fulfilled by Canada for 136 years ever since the treaty was signed. Despite this, the immigrants to our lands continue to have full use and benefit of the lands that the treaty allowed them conditional access to. As Chief of Roseau River, I filed an affidavit to the NEB and objected to the continued illegal use of our lands. The Crown has not fulfilled the legal requirements necessary for this pipeline and others to cross Treaty one territory.

I find it extremely sad and frustrating that letters and filing of documents and objections has little or no effect upon the federal government. Must the First Nations be forced into militant and confrontational crisis before the Crown takes notice and acts to fulfill the lawful obligations the courts have recognized in numerous Supreme Court of Canada decisions as the federal government’s duty to consult and accommodate. If the immigrants get yet another $30 billion a year in benefits of the resource base, why can’t we, the indigenous peoples of these lands share in the wealth of our lands? Surely, the court decisions and respect for law is cause enough for the Crown to act, why is it necessary for us to be militant or confrontational.

I ask you to please respond to the peaceful and considered approaches we have taken. I note that Minister Toews (President of the Treasury Board) has moved ahead to declaring federal Crown lands, the former Kapyong Barracks, as surplus and therefore available for sale. The Federal Government will sell these lands despite the fact that the Crown has yet to fulfill the reservation land quantum agreed to in the treaty. I as Chief of Roseau River have sent letters to the federal government on Kapyong. The other First Nations of Treaty one have also issued similar letters of concern.

I await your response.


Chief Terrance Nelson

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