TORONTO – NEWS – Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy is calling on the National Energy Board (NEB) to hold off opening Line 9 until the Federal Court of Appeal hears a legal challenge by Chippewa of the Thames First Nation against the project.
“The NEB needs to respect the legal process and uphold the honour of the Crown before giving Enbridge the green light to allow the pipeline to flow. Chippewa of the Thames First Nation must have their day in court before it’s too late,” said Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy.
The Line 9 project was initiated by Enbridge to reverse the flow of an existing pipeline from Sarnia to Montreal. At any point now the NEB will allow Enbridge to begin flowing heavy bitumen from Alberta through the 40-year-old pipeline that was built to transport light crude oil.
Chippewa of the Thames First Nation is challenging whether the NEB had jurisdiction to issue authorizations to Enbridge before the Crown met its duty to consult and accommodate First Nations on the proposed project.
Chippewa of the Thames First Nation is claiming the NEB showed a failure to properly assess and consider the seriousness of their Aboriginal and Treaty rights and the impact of the infringement of those rights.
On May 26, 2015 Enbridge replied to Chippewa of the Thames First Nation arguing their application for a stay order is a frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of process. Enbridge accused the First Nation of “sleeping on their rights,” a position that Chief Joe Miskokomon says is highly disrespectful.
“First Nations rights are not subject to industry or government timelines,” said Ontario Regional Chief Beardy. “Enbridge position alienates First Nation partners and makes it impossible to work together in a mutually respectful way.”
Back in August 6, 2013 Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy submitted a Letter of Comment to the National Energy Board (NEB) on the Line 9 pipeline highlighting the notable failure of the NEB and Enbridge to live up to the constitutional duty to consult and accommodate. Now, as leave to open Line 9 is imminent, Ontario Regional Chief Beardy is calling on the NEB to once again respect the duty to consult.
“The NEB can grant the stay order and avoid causing irreparable harm. Chippewa of the Thames First Nation is requesting they be granted a stay until after the issue is heard in court. If the NEB moves forward before the legal questions are settled, the legal process will hold no validity and the chance to properly consult and accommodate will be lost forever,” said Ontario Regional Chief Beardy. “The problem with Line 9 is not unique.”