Eva Clayton: Proposed tanker ban hurts the Nisga’a people

Prime Minister Trudeau told a meeting of Canada’s modern treaty Nations last fall that he “was inspired to hear from indigenous governments taking concrete steps to manage their lands and resources, and to promote the social and economic health and stability of their communities.”

So why is his government proceeding with Bill C-48, the proposed moratorium on oil tankers calling at ports on the B.C. north coast, and preventing the 7,000 Nisga’a people from taking the “concrete steps” available to us to promote our social and economic health?

This bill offends the spirit of our treaty with Canada and B.C., which commits all parties to work towards greater economic independence for the Nisga’a people. It is a very serious commitment for ourselves and our generations to come. The Nisga’a Nation is committed to being self-sustaining and to bringing an economic base to the north.

We believe that a deeper dialogue with the federal government on this proposed moratorium would allow us to achieve the balance between building a strong economy and protecting sensitive ecosystems while moving towards true and lasting reconciliation.

Instead, the Trudeau government, without more than a general introductory dialogue, announced legislation that conflicts with the principles of self-determination that lie at the heart of the Nisga’a Treaty, and undermines our shared objective to help the Nisga’a Nation become self-sustaining.

A moratorium like that proposed in Bill C-48 exists nowhere else and, for reasons inexplicable to us, does not apply to the south coast of B.C. or to Canada’s north or east coasts despite tankers carrying foreign oil routinely calling at eastern ports without restriction. Oil tankers from Alaska go past our coast every day, and will continue to do so under the proposed moratorium.

Why does the proposed moratorium single out B.C.’s north coast? The Nisga’a Nation …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

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