In yesterday’s news bulletin Petroleum News reported that Tim Christian, chief federal negotiation for Canada in its Mackenzie Gas Project negotiations with the Deh Cho First Nations, sent a letter Nov. 23 to Deh Cho chief negotiator Chris Reid saying that if a Deh Cho ultimatum was not rescinded he would advise Indian Affairs and Northern Development Minister Andy Scott to immediately terminate pipeline talks and interim measures agreements with the Deh Cho.
Christian said he has met three times with the Deh Cho in the last two weeks and thought the two sides were making progress until the Deh Cho issued what he described as an “ultimatum” saying they wouldn’t drop their lawsuits unless they could have an equal say with Canada in the Mackenzie Gas project regulatory review. The lawsuits seek an injunction to halt the regulatory review of the Mackenzie natural gas pipeline.
Christian told Reid that the government of Canada would “not capitulate to this ultimatum. Rather, Canada must act in the interests of all Northerners.” He said giving the Deh Cho “veto on the approval” of the gas project is “manifestly not in the wider public interest.”
The Deh Cho responded with two letters yesterday, Nov. 24, saying it was Canada that had issued the ultimatum, being unwilling to back down from a “hard line” position that will not allow the Deh Cho an equal position with the Canadian government in the Mackenzie Gas Project review.
The Deh Cho said they would not back down from their desire to “seek nothing more and nothing less than equality with Canada in determining how THEIR lands will be used.”
Grand Chief Herb Norwegian told the minister that the Deh Cho will not be “intimidated or bullied” by Canada and that “if we do not see evidence of ... a compromise in Canada’s hard line position, we are prepared to vigorously pursue our legal actions and to commence new legal actions as well.”
Note: See full story in the Dec. 5 edition of Petroleum News.