Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Northern Gateway Opponents to Face Feds in Next Phase of Pipeline Fight

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Northern Gateway Opponents to Face Feds in Next Phase of Pipeline Fight

Article excerpt

Pipeline foes to fight Ottawa on approval

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VANCOUVER - One of the biggest hurdles for the Northern Gateway project is one the company has never had the means to address.

Now that the project has received federal approval, the next phase of the pipeline fight will not focus on the Calgary pipeline company but on the government that many B.C. First Nations ultimately blame for the dispute.

"For us, it's a rights and title discussion," Peter Lantin, president of the Haida Nation, said Wednesday.

"It's not necessarily about a pipeline."

The Crown has failed to resolve aboriginal rights and title in B.C. for generations, he said. Now, native communities are united for a sweeping legal challenge against the federal government approval, he said.

The expected legal challenge involves a coalition that includes all three major aboriginal organizations in the province: the pro-treaty First Nations Summit, the anti-treaty Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and the regional branch of the Assembly of First Nations, as well as dozens of individual bands.

They will meet in the coming weeks to decide on the course their case will take, Lantin said.

Lantin said the Haida recognize the importance of natural resource projects and the national interest, and he said they would be happy to have that conversation -- about another project.

"There is no compromise. There is no mitigating measures that we could talk about that would satisfy or change the Haida position," he said.

"I don't believe that after the fact we can somehow hit a reset button. ... The damage is done."

The company said it will continue trying to engage aboriginal and other communities.

Janet Holder, vice-president of western access for Northern Gateway Pipelines, said there have been some discussions and more are planned.

Enbridge (TSX:ENB) and its partners remain committed to the project, she said.

"We believe that we can move past this," Holder said. "I don't think we'll get 100 per cent support. There's never anything, any significant issue, that's ever been dealt with in Canada that has ever had 100 per cent support."

But the project is worth working on, she said. …

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