Chippewas of the Thames First Nation Chief is upset with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s support of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, after he gave Trudeau an eagle feather in January, which is one of the highest honours in their tradition.
“I think he totally ignored the intent and the strength of what that’s all about,” said Myeengun Henry.
The government plans to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline system for $4.5 billion which carries crude and refined oil from Alberta to the west coast of British Columbia.
Henry says the project is a reversal of Trudeau’s process to strengthen his relationship with Indigenous people.
He urges the prime minister to involve Indigenous people in their decisions.
“Have a conversation with us. Don’t make these decisions in back rooms where people don’t know what is going on, that’s what angers First Nation communities and I think he should do that more often. If he is going to look at UNDRIP, and say that we have free prior and informed consent, well let’s activate that, and let’s do it in a right manner where people can understand it.”
About 24 Londoners gathered outside of London-West MP Kate Young’s office on Monday afternoon as part of a national day of action to voice their opinions about the project. Representatives of Greenpeace, Leadnow, 350.org, and Creative Commons walked into Young’s building on June 4, including NDP supporters and Green Party candidates.
Young was not in her office, yet that didn’t stop Henry from stating his concerns to an employee of the constituent.
Henry tells 980 CFPL the community will be negatively affected if the pipelines are installed.
“It doesn’t create opportunities as we are hearing from the government. Once the pipeline is in, there are very few jobs that come with it,” said Henry.
“When we have products going into market as the prime minister keep saying, it doesn’t feed us. We end up paying more for those products when it comes back after it is refined. So I don’t think the advantages are as good as they’re saying. I think environmentally, we need to be more responsible and to make sure that our waters are safe, our land is safe for future generations to come.”
Henry adds that he would like Indigenous people to be consulted on issues that affect them. He says Trudeau hasn’t had a conversation with them.
“The government hasn’t asked for our consent, so we need to have this discussion,” said Henry.
“He has got time to make a better decision right now, and I think he should do that. I think he should talk to First Nations who are totally against this and other supporters of a non-building of this pipeline, and I think we should have a frank discussion and say that there are better things to do in this country than to run another pipeline or have a government buy a pipeline and become their proponents of something we don’t want.”
The London event is one of over 100 across Canada with people talking to their MPs.
Organizers plan to deliver petitions signed by more than 100,000 people opposing the pipeline and urging the federal government not to give the company any taxpayer dollars.
Co-chair of the Council of Canadians, Roberta Cory, was among those standing outside Young’s office. She says her organization is against Kinder Morgan because there are many green technologies and creative people in Canada.
“What the government needs to do with its money is to support green jobs by helping kickstart good green technologies that are already invented, and then there will be more jobs, there will be things we can export to other countries without ruining the environment… and a bridging of the treaty rights and the land of First Nations,” said Cory.
Henry wants the government to put a stop to their current plan.