Via Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Via Fax: 1-604-629-8523
August 23, 2011
Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines
Box 50, One Bentall Centre
Suite 660, 505 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V7X 1M4
Attention: John Carruthers, President
Dear Mr. Carruthers,
Re: Response to Letter dated August 19, 2011
As for the offer of an apology and $100,000 in compensation, at our last meeting, you heard the Haisla Nations Enbridge working group state that $100,000 was almost an insult and that $100,000 per tree would be a better point to start from given how serious this issue is. Granted, there is a new working group but I can tell you the sentiment is the same. The anger and resentment that is building up around these CMT’s is only being compounded by Enbridge’s attitude of nonchalance and insincerity.
We find your offer to honor our laws and customs by way of a cleansing feast as presumptuous and condescending. We are a society that has evolved by necessity and if a provincial or federal law is broken, we expect fair compensation as would any other entity. Our protocols or customs are for those parties that we have relationships with. Your company has not achieved relationship status with our community for a number of reasons, number one being the fact that Enbridge destroyed living evidence of Haisla Nation Aboriginal Rights and title.
I have been on Haisla Nation Council since 2003 and in that time, I have never witnessed Haisla Nation Council initiate a cleansing feast and I doubt I ever will. Cleansing feasts are part of our culture yes, but not for political/legal issues. I would appreciate it if your company’s shallow understanding of our culture is kept out of our discussions regarding the illegal act of destroying our Culturally Modified Trees. It is totally inappropriate for your company to continue to try to convert your wrongdoing against our people into some form of public relations exercise.
If your company wishes to resolve this issue then make a reasonable offer as the compensation for this illegal act has been outstanding since 2006.
Haisla Nation Capacity Funding
Our file regarding the Enbridge project is now in a deficit.
Haisla Nation has been consistent in submitting budgets that we feel would be sufficient to cover the complex processes that are in place to assess this project. We don’t understand why the Haisla people have to foot the bill to assess a project that doesn’t even belong to the Haisla people that in the end has the Haisla with the most to lose. Your company has spent tens of millions of dollars promoting this project but dares to criticize us for seeking a small fraction of this amount to scrutinize the complicated technical issues raised.
Since 2001, Haisla Nation Council has worked hard to get out of and remain out of deficit. There is only one issue – the Enbridge Pipeline – that has been out of Council’s control in terms of deficit and with your project we are now faced with a damned if we do and a damned if we don’t situation. If we continue to address your project with no funding, our council will get our concerns on the table but we will sink further into deficit. If we stop participating, our Enbridge-related deficit will be limited but the process will continue without us.
We didn’t ask your company to come onto our Aboriginal Title Territory. You have done so without invitation in order to make profit at the expense of our lands, our waters and our people. You seek to choke off our funding in order to silence us as you trespass of our Territory. This is not right.
The Haisla are well aware of the wealth that can be achieved with a project like this but we aren’t prepared to sacrifice our birthright for a pile of cash. Over the years Haisla lost prime fishing/hunting areas, villages and gathering sites. We have a duty to our children to protect what remains.
We have monitored not only your company’s track record but also that of other oil companies in terms of spills and environmental damage and those track records are dismal in terms of environmental damage and social responsibility.. Our approval of natural gas projects was based mainly on the low level off risk and Natural gas initiatives seem to have as compared to the crude oil industry.
We have also read that you have offered ownership in your project to other Aboriginal Nations (or more accurately a right to borrow money to invest in your project). In our view this offer, if it has been made, is both premature and inappropriate. It is like the Haisla Nation offering a bunch of your neighbours the right to participate in a project that runs through your living room. Our lands belong to the Haisla. They are not yours to haggle with.
At the right time we will be willing to hear and discuss your economic proposal. We advise that that proposal should respect the fact that we own the land where you seek to put a good length of your pipeline, that we own the land where you seek to place your terminal and that we own the a good stretch of the waters that you propose to use for crude oil tankers. Any approach that treats us as just another First Nation that has to be “dealt with” will be rejected. Discussions must start with our constitutionally protected ownership and use rights within our Territory.
Finally, to reaffirm what we said at our last meeting, Haisla would like to finalize the CMT compensation and the participant funding to get through the JRP review before considering participation in other discussions. Economic discussions are only one component of separate Consultation and Accommodation processes that are required by caselaw and are in themselves huge and complicated endeavors’ in their own right. Expertise would be required. Our community would need to be deeply involved. Haisla Nation can’t even think about commencing this sort of discussion until the appropriate parties have agreed to discuss proper funding arrangements and processes.
Cc: Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Office of the Prime Minister
The Honourable Minister John Duncan, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
The Honourable Minister John Baird, Environment Canada
The Honourable Minister Christian Paradis
Donovan & Company, Legal Counsel
John Carruthers, President, Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines
Michael Gordon, M.R Gordon & Associates Ltd.
Gaetan Caron, Chair/CEO, National Energy Board
Brett Maracle, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
Joint Review Panel, Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Project
The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Transport
The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans