AN OPEN LETTER TO MINISTER LEBLANC. PLEASE CHOOSE FIRST NATIONS RECONCILIATION NOT KINDER MORGAN.

We are writing letters to all MPs in cabinet, and you can read one below. Time is limited. There are rumours the decision on the Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker project will be made within the week. If you would like to take action right now, please contact your MP here:

Dear Minister LeBlanc;

My name is Charlene Aleck and I am writing to you with a heavy heart. You see my people, the Tsleil-Waututh, are the people of Burarrd Inlet in Vancouver. As such, we have a strong connection with the Orcas and other marine life that share our inlet and like us, have been here since time immemorial. We have a sacred responsibility to be the stewards of the land and water that has always provided for us.

As a speaker for the Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative I am reaching out to MP’s who might be able to help us in this important work. I believe that we have much in common. I have watched with great sadness the demise of many marine species on the east coast of Canada and I live infear of the day that we will suffer the same fate. I believe that you must have the same strong feelings  about how important our oceans are. It would bring great hardship to the people of this coast if anything further were to happen to the already stressed fish stock here, but more than that, it would bring about an end to our way of life. 

Orca whales are an integral part of our spiritual and cultural connection to the earth and our heritage. Scientists and marine biologists that study our inlet have confirmed our fears that the approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline project would also constitute the approval of the extinction of the Orcas and potentially many other species. If you have not already, I urge you to read for yourself the evidence we have gathered from extensive study. We are a small nation and it is not generally our way to seek out conflict. We are business friendly community focused on working collaboratively with others to lift everyone up. We are joined in these concerns by many local mayors including those of all the major cities surrounding us in Vancouver, Burnaby, North and West Vancouver, Coquitlam, SquamishTofino, Victoria and many other cities throughout the region. 

What is especially distressing to me is that we believed the election of this government would usher in  a new era in meaningful dialogue that would lead to equality and a genuine relationship between us. You cannot only listen to First Nations when you agree with what they are saying. Long lasting solutions to  complex problems cannot be achieved when one of the sides has all of the power. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. put it, “Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic.” 

You have vowed to renew efforts towards reconciliation. How can this be done while simultaneously ignoring First Nations communities who demand the rejection of the Kinder Morgan pipeline? Are you aware that 16 First Nations communities along the pipeline route actively opposing the project? There is an unbroken wall of opposition to the project. There is no route to the coast that doesn’t go through communities that are strongly opposed. There are already 3 lawsuits against the government of Canada from First Nations communities because of this project before a permit has even been issued. As I am sure you are aware, the Enbridge pipeline permit was overturned and the process used to assess Kinder Morgan had even greater flaws. Why not take a step back, look toward alternative ideas and find ways we can work together to create a sustainable future for our children?

It is unclear to us how this decision is even being made. Perhaps at some level that is the saddest part of all. There has been so much talk of a new era of openness and accountability in government and yet we do not even know how MP’s are voting or if they even have a voice in issues like this one. Is this decision going to be made behind closed doors? What happened to the idea of not whipping votes on important issues? 

Will you support this project Mister Leblanc? Or will you stand with us? We do this work not just for our families but for everyone. This is about doing what is right and protecting the coast that we love. We still have hope that we can find a way to work together towards these vitally important goals. Given that there is limited time before the decision is made we would very much appreciate a response from you as soon as possible. 

Thank you,

hay čxʷ q̓ə siʔem̓

Charlene Aleck

Ts’simtelot

 Remember, you can still take action. Please ask your MP to say ‘No’ to Kinder Morgan here:

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