VANCOUVER, B.C. – First Nations as well as environmentalist groups officially launched lawsuits in Federal Court in Vancouver today against the Pacific NorthWest LNG project and the Canadian government.
The groups held a press conference and filing ceremony in Vancouver this morning.
Representatives from many northwest First Nations, UBCIC, and SkeenaWild commented on the lawsuits that are aimed to stop Petronas’ $11.4-billion Pacific NorthWest LNG project which is located near the Skeena River.
“Once again, we are forced to ask courts to do what our politicians seem unable to do – to honour Canada’s obligations to its Indigenous communities, and to protect our environment from catastrophic harm,” said Chief Yahaan (Donnie Wesley), of the Gitwilgyoots Tribe.
Chiefs also made the point that Justin Trudeau had promised a better relationship with Indigenous people, something they say he hasn’t followed through on.
“Despite repeated requests, the federal government has failed to properly consult with our people,” said Chief Malii (Glen Williams), Chief Negotiator for the Gitanyow. “Justin Trudeau promised a new relationship with Indigenous communities. Instead, he added insult to injury by ignoring us, and giving the green light to a project that will destroy our way of life.”
“As with Enbridge, and despite repeated requests that they consult with us, Petronas and the federal government failed in their duty to listen to the ancestral owners of Lelu Island,” Yahaan said. “We have never been opposed to development. But we have always opposed industrial development on top of the most important salmon habitat we have on our coast.”