This Article is part of the Tar Sands Reporting Project special report See the full report

Chief blasts Harper for pushing oil pipeline, blatantly ignoring climate change

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As you have seen in the Supreme Court of Canada Tsilhqot’in decision, it is vital that First Nations are sitting at the table when there is any dialogue about natural resource development in this country. As you know, a genuine process of consultation and accommodation must take place before First Nations can consent to natural resource development projects.

We believe that Canada needs to develop a National Energy Strategy to move forward in a way that benefits everyone (not just a few). In order to accomplish this, I suggest that the Government of Canada spearheads a collaborative initiative where First Nations, communities affected by energy development, those concerned about the environment, academics, energy industry, business leaders, and representatives from the three levels of government engage in the development of this strategy. In order to be effective, the contribution of all involved must be recognized and valued. A National Energy Strategy will help us find creative and effective ways to have a more sustainable and diverse economy, socially relevant for all Canadians today and in the future, and mindful of the impact that the production, transportation and consumption of energy (especially from fossil fuel sources) has on the environment.

In spite of the reservations above mentioned, we are prepared to meaningfully engage in a genuine national conversation with other stakeholders in shaping Canada’s National Energy Strategy. Accordingly, I hereby volunteer my energy and commitment to work with you on such important initiative. Please let me know how I can help.

Sincerely,
(Original Signed by Chief Aaron Sam) Chief Aaron L. Sam
Lower Nicola Indian Band

Cc: BC First Nations & First Nations Organizations & Western Canada press. 

 

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Athabasca tar sands, photographed by Andrew S. Wright

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