Newspaper article The Canadian Press

First Nation Leaders to Press Desjardins to Stop Funding Oilsands Pipelines

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

First Nation Leaders to Press Desjardins to Stop Funding Oilsands Pipelines

Article excerpt

First Nations to press Desjardins on pipelines

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CALGARY - First Nation leaders opposed to the oilsands say they are meeting with senior executives at Desjardins Group Thursday to try and convince the credit union to make its moratorium on new pipeline funding permanent.

The decision to meet will send a clear statement and will be an important step in opposing both the Energy East and Trans Mountain pipeline projects, said Regional Chief Ghislain Picard of the Assembly of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador.

"Desjardins taking a stand, you know, making the moratorium permanent, would certainly have a strong effect."

The credit union imposed the moratorium in July to review its policies around the energy infrastructure.

Andre Chapleau, a spokesman for Desjardins, said by email that the review process continues as it listens to various stakeholders internally and externally, including First Nations, ahead of a permanent decision this fall.

Picard said Thursday's meeting between Desjardins and several leaders from the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion will be an opportunity to bring the group's message directly to the credit union.

"The industry and its lobby is very strong, we know that they won't give up that easily. But at the same time, we can be just as firm in terms of expressing our positions, and making sure that they be heard."

The Treaty Alliance will also be pushing to have Desjardins sell its existing $145-million stake in Kinder Morgan's credit facility for the Trans Mountain expansion project, part of the company's $5.5 billion in credit facilities for the project.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs said the campaign is about battling the oilsands industry on all fronts.

"The oil and gas industry had a pretty unfettered access to the financial community, to the investment community in regard to their grandiose expansion plans up until now," said Phillip. …

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