The First Nation that believes it can stop Kinder Morgan: 'It’ll be our Standing Rock' - APTN NewsAPTN News

The First Nation that believes it can stop Kinder Morgan: ‘It’ll be our Standing Rock’

Nation to Nation
All the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion talk seems to be about protests and what the prime minister is going to do about the British Columbia government.

But lost in the mix is Coldwater First Nation near Merritt, B.C., about a three-hour drive northeast of Vancouver.

Coldwater has refused to sign a deal with Kinder Morgan and that matters because for Kinder Morgan to reach Burnaby, and foreign markets with Alberta bitumen, it has to go through Coldwater’s territory.

After all, the old pipeline runs directly through the centre of the reserve.

And the main issue with the proposed pipeline route is it would run over the community’s aquifer, it’s main source of drinking water.

“It’s a huge concern for us that we protect that drinking water for our members and for future generations,” said Chief Lee Spahan on Nation to Nation.

Coldwater joined other nations and stakeholders last year in filing for a judicial review of the pipeline’s approval. That is now in the hands of the Federal Court of Appeal that is supposed to make a decision soon.

He’s hopeful the court agrees with them, but if not other measures could be taken as members of Coldwater have given him a mandate to protect the water and their future.

“If we have to it’ll be our Standing Rock,” he said, referring to the massive protest last year in North Dakota over the Dakota Access Pipeline.

His community has turned down a possible deal worth millions in the fight, while Kinder Morgan says 43 deals have been signed with First Nations and Indigenous groups.

Kinder Morgan appears to have given a deadline of May 31 for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to complete a deal with the British Columbia government that opposes the pipeline.

But for Spahan and Coldwater their fight has been about one thing.

“For us it’s not about the politics, but the future of our community and ensuring we have access to clean, safe water,” he said.

Meanwhile, the race to lead the Assembly of First Nations is heating up with a surprising name coming forward as a potential candidate for national chief.

Mohawk policy analyst Russ Diabo says he’s running to accomplish a few things: Take out incumbent Perry Bellegarde, who is running for reelection, go after Trudeau and fix the AFN.

“It’s lost its legitimacy to many of our people,” Diabo said of the AFN, adding he has many ideas to change it that he’ll announce in the future.

The election is scheduled to happen in late July in Vancouver.

Diabo also took aim at the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, which he opposes.

But said the grassroots needed a stronger voice.

“I would argue the Aboriginal title holders need to be involved in agreements like that where a pipeline spill of that bitumen could affect all the Indigenous harvesters,” he said. “They should have a say in any kind of agreements with oil and gas companies on projects that affect their rights. Shouldn’t be chief and council deciding through a band council resolution.”

As protests continued in Burnaby Thursday, with more arrests, a group in Ottawa has been bringing the fight to the doors of Parliament Hill.

And earlier this week they shut down traffic in front of the constituency office of Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna.

Emma Buchanan said her group thinks the pressure of the protests is working but doesn’t take Kinder Morgan’s decision to stop all non-essential construction as a victory.

“I think the fear is being put in, they’re a little scared. But I don’t think we’ve won. No, I think this is going to be a long hairy battle,” said Buchanan.

Tags: , , , ,

14 Responses to “The First Nation that believes it can stop Kinder Morgan: ‘It’ll be our Standing Rock’”

    Janet Hooper April 20, 2018 at 1:14 pm #

    From an Albertan, thank-you for fighting for Grandchildren’s clean air and water and fighting to build a country that prospers not by destroying the planet

    David Mivasair April 16, 2018 at 1:03 am #

    The Coldwater First Nation is absolutely right and they DO have the power to stop this insane destruction. However, I think a comparison to Northern Gateway would be better. Northern Gateway was stopped. The massive, courageous and passionate struggle through months of severe hardship at Standing Rock resulted in the government and greedy corporations pushing the pipeline through. So, I would not want another Standing Rock, but another Northern Gateway.

    Dianne April 14, 2018 at 6:35 pm #

    OMG! Honour of the crown? Just flip through the photos of Edward Curtis and think about that phrase… There is no honour here, the game is rigged against honour. Corporate greed has sullied the Albertan landscape and now feels entitled to sully the B.C. Landscapes and coastlines. Sadly, it’s also taken over the conversation on the internet. Big Brother, I curse you!

    Skalula April 14, 2018 at 1:50 pm #

    We will never surrender. It is not your land to destroy Alberta. Short-tern gain is always on the wrong side of history.Finite resources are not the future. Wake up.

    Skalula April 14, 2018 at 1:50 pm #

    We will never surrender. It is not your land to destroy Alberta. Short-tern gain is always on the wrong side of history.Finite resources are not the future. Wake up.

    Jayson April 13, 2018 at 5:28 am #

    An injury to one is an injury to all. My unions stand. If the federal government acts on a constitution of 1867 in 2018 or, even the federal courts,and approves the pipeline then Trudeau doesn’t care about nation to nation nor does the law. My opinion of corse but they should be held to the fire. That is canadas best interest.

    Barry B Bennett April 13, 2018 at 2:36 am #

    Of those 50 nations that signed the agreement, 12 did so after the approval was given by the government. So that is less than 30% of the majority. That’s not even democratic by Canada’s standards. A lot of the rest were not consulted well. The
    Honour of the Crown was not fulfilled.

    Ron Wilton April 13, 2018 at 1:55 am #

    Never give up when you know your cause is just. Never give in even if you fear the worst. It is always darkest just before dawn. BC needs you and so does the rest of Canada, they just don’t know it yet.

      Tree April 13, 2018 at 11:25 am #


    Susanna Dokkie-McDonald April 13, 2018 at 1:48 am #

    Kindér Morgan must know that they cannot impose their destruction on unceded lands in BC. There are nany, many peoples who need the lands and call resourses for their own survival and that of future generations. Justin has no jurusdiction and knows it so Mr. Morneau wants to avoid the Supreme Court of Canada at all costs. Even to the point of investing the Canadian Pension Plan. This was mentioned during or shortly after the ferderal election.

    All this and Notley can only fill those huge tankers to an 80% maximum. All this is about location, location, location.
    The loss, is it calculated in the billions Notley and Trudeau dream of getting for this caustic dilbit.

      lawrence alec April 13, 2018 at 5:22 pm #

      this says all lot thanks doing paper work on this thanks for few pointers susanna

      Jim April 14, 2018 at 3:43 am #

      The most interesting part that seems to be forgotten is the pipeline is already there. They are just putting another pipe in the ground below it. So your argument has no merit and makes little sense.

      A Kelln April 16, 2018 at 11:54 pm #

      I thought reserve land was owned by government. . If this is true how do you stop government putting a pipeline on its own land ?

        Mary Jane Nelson April 20, 2018 at 7:06 pm #

        Because it’s not true. Government does not own indigenous land.