October 15, 2008
Yesterday New Democratic MLA Rachel Notley raised the Lubicon/TransCanada issue on the floor of the Alberta Legislature. Noting that TransCanada Corporation was so certain they would receive regulatory approval to build their jumbo pipeline across Lubicon Lake Indian Nation territory despite Lubicon objections that they had already hired construction crews a month ago, she asked the Alberta Minister of Energy "how it is that big oil sector companies are so convinced of the outcome of a so-called neutral [regulatory] process that they are signing contracts well in advance of project approval being granted?"
Notley also asked why the government has not intervened "to require that the pipeline company in question engage in real consultation with the Lubicon people?"
Good question. Both questions deserve real answers.
The full exchange is included below.
Alberta Hansard October 14, 2008
TheSpeaker:Thehon. MemberforEdmonton-Strathcona, followed by the hon. Member for Calgary-Montrose.
TransCanada PipeLines North Central Corridor Project
Ms Notley: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On Friday the Alberta Utilities Commission approved a highly controversial trans-Canada pipeline set to slice through contested Lubicon territory. Now, strangely, over a month ago the Lubicon received a letter from a subcontracted company who had already been hired by TransCanada to work on the pipeline, which assured the Lubicon that their work would be going ahead. To the Minister of Energy: can the minister please tell us how it is that big oil sector companies are so convinced of the outcome of a so-called neutral process that they are signing contracts well in advance of project approval being granted?
Mr. Knight: Well, Mr. Speaker, the question is, you know: do I have information available to me about contracts made by private companies in the province of Alberta working on a particular infrastructure project? I would have to say that I am not aware of the answer to the question. Youd have to ask the people that signed the contract, I presume.
The Speaker: The hon. member.
Ms Notley: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Well, I think maybe the answer might be that theyre taking the process for granted. On one hand we have the big oil sector taking the AUC for granted, and on the other hand the same company refuses to have meaningful consultation with the Lubicon. To the Minister of Aboriginal Relations: why wont you intervene on behalf of concerned Albertans and require that the pipeline company in question engage in real consultation with the Lubicon people?
The Speaker: The hon. minister.
Mr. Zwozdesky: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think most members of the House would know that the Lubicon land issue is one of the unresolved issues before us at this time. I met with the chief of the Lubicon just a few weeks ago. Ive just written to him a few days ago. Ive also spoken with the people at TransCanada who called me. We will be having a meeting in this respect very soon to hear what the exact issues are.
Ms Notley: Well, thats a good start but, as I say, its been a hundred years.To the same minister. Given the recent statements that the Lubicon have made with respect to their planned resistance to the pipeline, its obvious that the situation is becoming increasingly volatile. Why wont you show some leadership and get ahead of this looming crisis?
Mr. Zwozdesky: Mr. Speaker, we did show leadership. Weve shown leadership in this province for a number of years. Weve tried very much to bring together the two sides, get them back to the table. I had an excellent meeting in Peace River with Chief Bernard Ominayak just a few weeks ago, as I indicated. He said: why dont we wait until a certain event is over on October 14, and then well get together again and pursue that issue and a number of others. I gave him the undertaking that we would do that, and thats precisely what well do.
fol-request at masses.tao.ca