Defending Our Coast, Waters and Land Brings Us Together

News Release. October 21, 2012
(Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, October 21, 2012) Earlier this year, the Harper Government passed Bill C-38, the Budget Implementation Act which contained a myriad of legislative changes including drastically weakening the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and gutting the Fisheries Act. Last week, the Harper Government introduced Bill C-45, another omnibus budget bill, which continues to weaken environmental protection legislation for the benefit of industry mega projects.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, stated, “The Harper Government has clearly demonstrated that it is only their blantant sell-out to industry agenda that matters. Their message to Canadians is clear, ‘it’s not about the environment, it’s about the economy, stupid.' The legislative measures meant to protect our environment are being systematically bulldozed aside in Parliament to the delight and benefit of tarsands development projects such as the Northern Gateway Enbridge project and the expansion of the Kinder-Morgan pipeline.”

“Bills C-38 and C-45 not only strike down environmental protections but they do so at the legal liability-laden risk of our inherent, constitutionally-enshrined, judicially-recognized Aboriginal Title, Rights and Treaty Rights. There was no attempt at meaningful consultation with First Nations regarding these massive legislative changes,” stated Grand Chief Phillip.

Tomorrow, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip will be participating in the Defend Our Coast Rally and Action in Victoria. He will be among the thousands who will make a stand against the Harper Government legislative agenda.

“The destructive legislative amendments by the Harper Government do not create the economic certainty that industry craves. First Nations will fully protect their inherent rights in the courts, at the boardroom tables and out at the barricades on our land. By clear-cutting environmental protections and by taking no notice of our Aboriginal Title, Rights and Treaty Rights – our Human Rights – the Harper Government has provided an opportunity to stand with more and more British Columbians who realize that the Harper Government cares more for industry interests rather than the fundamental democratic and human rights of all Canadians. The only good thing about an Harper majority is that it will bring us all together.”

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, (604) 684-0231

UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.