Two B.C. Indigenous leaders plan to speak at Kinder Morgan pipeline AGM

VANCOUVER _ Two Indigenous leaders from British Columbia say they will travel to pipeline builder Kinder Morgan’s annual general meeting in Texas this week.

Chief Judy Wilson with the Neskonlith Indian Band and Rueben George representing the Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative say they intend to warn investors about the risk of proceeding with Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion without consent from First Nations.

A news release from the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs says Wilson and George have been granted a proxy to speak at the meeting on Wednesday and will present an overview of Indigenous opposition to the pipeline that runs from the Edmonton-area to a port in Burnaby, B.C.

The Comptroller of New York State, an investor in Kinder Morgan, provided the proxy that allows the two leaders to present a resolution on sustainability.

Wilson, who is also secretary-treasurer of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, says Kinder Morgan stockholders have not been properly advised about Indigenous rights in Canada.

She says executives at Kinder Morgan have a responsibility to make the facts known to shareholders.

“Investors need to prepare for the risk of months of unwavering and strong opposition,” Wilson says in the news release.

The Trans Mountain pipeline project has federal approval to expand capacity, tripling the amount of bitumen moving from Alberta to B.C., where it will be shipped overseas by tanker.

The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs says in its release that there is “broad, multi-jurisdictional opposition to the expansion,” while George says the Tsleil-Waututh conducted a review based in unextinguished Indigenous law and denied the project free, prior and informed consent.

Wilson wants Kinder Morgan’s shareholders to understand what that means.

“Kinder Morgan does not have the required consent of Indigenous Nations along the pipeline and tanker route, and it never will,” she says, adding there is nothing the Canadian government can do to remove the project’s risks and uncertainty.

“We will continue fighting against this project until it is abandoned,” says Wilson.

Kinder Morgan curtailed spending on the $7.4-billion expansion in April, blaming opposition and delays in B.C., and setting a May 31 deadline for the federal and provincial governments to find a solution or risk the loss of the entire project.