A crowd gathered outside Delta Ocean Pointe Hotel Wednesday carrying protest signs and singing their opposition to the pipeline being discussed inside.
The group came out in support of Tsawout Nation and Tsartlip Nation who were inside presenting oral traditional evidence to the National Energy Board at the reconsideration hearings for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
This is round two of the NEB hearings for the project, initiated after the Federal Court of Appeal quashed the original approval for the expansion, saying the federal government didn’t adequately consult with First Nations or consider the impact to the environment of project-related marine shipping.
In September, the Trudeau Liberals directed the NEB to address the inadequacies and submit a revised report by Feb. 22, 2019, thus launching the reconsideration hearings for the project.
The protesters, organized by Heather Tufts and Bobby Arbess with the help of grassroots organizing collective Rise and Resist, questioned the validity of “reconsideration” citing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s repeated declarations that the project will go through.
“We don’t believe that they are reconsidering anything,” said Arbess. “The Court of Appeal stipulated very clearly that for the government to discharge its duty to consult First Nations they can not enter into the consultation process with a premeditated outcome.
“And here they are, once again with nothing but a premeditated outcome. They’ve told us, ‘The thing is going to be built.’ But they tell us that they are reconsidering? This is a sham.”
The Squamish Nation and Stó:lō Collective will present to the NEB panel on Thursday for the final hearing day in Victoria.
The board will then head to Nanaimo to hold hearings from Dec. 3 to 6.
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