By Shawn McCarthy, May 20, 2014. Source: The Globe and Mail
First Nations activists are turning their attention to TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Energy East project, vowing to mount the same kind of public opposition that threatens the Keystone XL pipeline in the United States andEnbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway in British Columbia.
Some 70 First Nations leaders met in Winnipeg recently to plan a strategy they hope will block TransCanada’s ambitious plan to ship more than 1 million barrels a day of crude from Western Canada to refiners and export terminals in the East, despite widespread political support for the $12-billion project.
TransCanada has been holding consultations with communities across the country, including some 155 First Nations, to inform them of the Energy East project and seek their support. The company has hired Phil Fontaine, former chief of the Assembly of First Nations, to represent it in meetings. But one leading activist says the company has a tough sell.
“In this era of the Harper Conservative government, there is dramatic pressure that has been placed on the shoulders of First Nations peoples, with our constitutionally protected rights, to defend Canada’s air, water and earth from the agenda of Big Oil and other extractive industries like the mining sector and the forestry sector,” Clayton Thomas-Muller, a Manitoba Cree who helped organize the Winnipeg session, said in an interview. Continue reading