(Vancouver, Sept. 23, 2014) – The Coastal First Nations supports a federal NDP [New Democratic Party] bill aimed at putting in place a law that would prohibit supertankers from on the North Coast.
Skeena-Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen introduced a private members bill, An Act to Defend the Pacific Northwest, that would also give communities a stronger voice in pipeline reviews and consider impacts of projects on jobs.
Executive Director Art Sterritt said for too long the concerns of our people and the majority of British Columbians have been ignored. “The bill addresses some of our major concerns with Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline.”
The pipeline review process with First Nations has been lacking. “This bill will ensure that our voices and concerns are heard.”
Sterritt said the bill will allow for more sustainable and long-term jobs. “We have spent more than a decade developing a sustainable economy.”
The Coastal First Nations are an alliance of First Nations that includes the Wuikinuxv Nation, Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xaixais, Nuxalk, Gitga’at, Haisla, Metlakatla, Old Massett, Skidegate, and Council of the Haida Nation working together to create a sustainable economy on British Columbia’s North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii.
Saskatoon’s police chief and the chief of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation led a march in support of Marlene Bird this morning.
Bird is the homeless woman who was brutally attacked last month in Prince Albert. She has been receiving treatment at a hospital in Edmonton and was set to arrive in Saskatoon Wednesday for further treatment at a hospital in her home province.
About 70 people joined in the Saskatoon walk.
DeeAnn Mercier was among them. She works at the Lighthouse shelter and said homeless people are often victims of random attacks.
“Our mobile outreach team was out last night and picked an individual up who had been urinated on and someone had stolen his pants,” Mercier said. “It’s just so humiliating for folks.”
Mercier said fortunately that person was physically unhurt, but she worries that other Lighthouse clients may not be so lucky.
Part of the aim of today’s walk is to spur more donations for Bird’s care after she is released from hospital, said Eldon Henderson, one of the event’s organizers.
“She’s going to need a home… and wheelchair accessibility,” Henderson explained.
Two fundraising efforts are underway, including one by the Prince Albert YWCA. The Montreal Cree Nation has also set up a trust account at the Royal Bank.
By Henderson’s estimate about $13,000 had been raised as of the start of Wednesday morning. He was unable to say at this point how much more money is needed.
Meanwhile, Montreal Lake is focusing more attention on the wider issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women. It’s co-hosting the 1st Annual Canadian Indigenous Women Conference this November in Saskatoon.
In August the community will begin raising money to establish a Foundation for Aboriginal Women in Canada. It will offer help to the survivors of missing and murdered Aboriginal women.
“We want to make sure that we have the expertise and the staff there that’s going to complement that healing process for the families,” Henderson said.
It’s hoped the foundation will also have a scholarship program.
More people in the Northwest support coal export terminals than oppose them. Those are the results of a new survey. But people who took the survey didn’t feel very strongly about why they supported coal exports.
For the third year in a row, a public opinion poll for EarthFix asked Northwest residents how they felt about transporting coal through the region. That coal would then be exported to Asia.
DHM Research surveyed 1,200 residents in Washington, Oregon and Idaho from June 25-30. The poll found 47 percent of Northwest residents say they support coal exports. That’s up a little bit from last year’s survey, which showed 41 percent or respondents supporting coal exports. 34 percent opposed Northwest coal exports, and 19 percent didn’t know.
John Horvick, DHM Research director, said many people who responded didn’t have very strong opinions about why they support coal terminals. Those reasons include supporting local economies and more property tax revenue.
“These arguments aren’t quite as persuasive as they were in the past. Maybe people are becoming a little bit more cynical, they’ve heard them before, or they’re asking some questions, or the landscape has changed on the issue,” Horvick said.
The survey also found many people aren’t paying close attention to the issue, Horvick said, another possible reason they don’t feel very strongly about why they support coal export terminals.
One survey respondent who felt strongly about opposing coal export terminals was Robert Schuman. The Pullayup, Washington, resident is a 32 year old truck driver. He said he’s not necessarily opposed to coal, but he doesn’t like it being shipped to Asia.
“I don’t like the coal going over there mainly because they don’t have any environmental controls. It’s getting pumped out in the air over there without even basic scrubbers or anything like that. It’s just pumping ash in the air,” Schuman said.
Environmental groups look at less intense support as good news to their cause. They say as people learn more about coal exports, they start to support them less.