Coast Salish Territory, Vancouver, British Columbia – The First Nations Leadership Council is greatly troubled by recent comments by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver advocating for the proposed Enbridge Gateway pipeline to proceed even before the Joint Review Panel’s environmental review has begun.

Grand Chief Edward John states, “Federal politicians advocating for and promoting the proposed Enbridge project before the environmental review commences puts the entire review process in jeopardy. We question how the three National Energy Board panellists, who were appointed by the federal government, can fairly review this proposal when the Prime Minister and Minister of Environment openly promote what they perceive as the necessary outcome? In the end, it will be the federal government which decides on the panel’s report, a decision that has apparently already been made”.

“The federal government has a clear legal responsibility to consult with First Nations. Given the long list of Supreme Court decisions on the range of consultation options and given the magnitude of the potential impacts of Enbridge’s proposal, the necessary consultation standard must be to seek the informed consent of First Nations’ whose Aboriginal title and rights will be impacted by this proposed project”, added Chief John.