Montreal. First Nations women and supporters sent a clear message to TransCanada this Wednesday evening that the Energy East pipeline is not welcome through First Nations lands.
“What we want TransCanada to understand is that no means no. This is Kanien’ke, this is Mohawk Land and we are tired of occupation, we are tired of environmental disaster.” said Lickers at Wednesday night’s hearing. “This is our land and we are going to protect it.”
Amanda Lickers and Vanessa Gray were 2 of several First Nations opponents to the Energy East present to express their outrage at the public hearings hosted by the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal.
The purpose of the hearings is to establish a community report to submit to Office of Public Hearings on the Environment (BAPE) and the National Energy Board (NEB).
“But the consultation process does not work”, states Lickers, whose family is from Six Nations of the Grand River, “the NEB hearings for Line 9 were clear as day – between technical and engineering data to basic violations of treaty and territory agreements, Enbridge should have been denied their application but instead they were rubber stamped.”
“TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline threatens the chance of a sustainable future.” says Vanessa, co-founder of Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia Against Pipelines. “TransCanada has already proven to be a dangerous company for Indigenous peoples protecting their territory. Taking back our inherited right to live with the land means we must defend the land and water at any cost.”
After Lickers and Gray took the stage with a banner, the room erupted in chants from supporters, “No consent, no pipelines” and “No tar sands on stolen native lands” as dozens of supporters shut down the hearings in support of First Nations.
The process for public consultation excludes First Nations interests by relying on Crown policy for assessing environmental impacts. “Energy East itself actually violates the Haudenosaunee constitution – the Great Law of Peace – as it jeopardizes future generations access to clean, drinkable water, while expanding the environmental destruction of the tar sands at ground zero in Athabasca.”
But it isn’t just tar sands mining and pipeline transport that those opposing the pipeline development are concerned about. TransCanada requires super tanker transport and new marine terminals to be built for the Energy East, which puts the entire St. Lawrence waterway at risk of bitumen spills as well as threatening delicate Beluga habitat.