Demonstrators rallied against Teck’s Frontier mine in Alberta outside the office of Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson in North Vancouver on Jan. 20, 2020. (Indigenous Climate Action)

B.C. and Alberta Indigenous leaders protest major Teck oilsands project

Teck’s Frontier mine in northern Alberta would produce 260,000 barrels of oil a day

Indigenous leaders from B.C. and Alberta who oppose Teck’s Frontier mine say its impact will be felt by First Nations well beyond the site of the massive oilsands project.

Members of Indigenous Climate Action, the Tiny House Warriors and the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs were among those who gathered Monday in North Vancouver outside the office of Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson calling on him to stop the project.

The Teck Frontier mine north of Fort McMurray would produce 260,000 barrels of oil a day and about four million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year, for more than 40 years.

The federal government must decide on the project by the end of February under the Environmental Assessment Act.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has called for swift approval of the $20.6-billion project, warning that rejection would send a signal that Canada’s oil-and-gas sector has no future, but the mine also poses a significant obstacle toward the Liberals’ goal of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs called the project irresponsible and reckless, saying Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should “walk the walk” of transitioning to a green economy.

“There were commitments made during the last election that the Trudeau government would make decisive moves toward renewable energy and this is an opportunity to follow through on those promises,” he said.

Teck Resources Ltd. said in a statement that it has spent more than a decade on community engagement, including signing agreements with all 14 Indigenous communities in the project area. The agreements set out a framework for co-operation in areas like environmental stewardship and economic opportunities, it said.

“Teck is committed to developing the Frontier Project in a way that is environmentally responsible, respectful of Indigenous communities, and creates meaningful benefits for the people of the region,” it said.

Kanahus Manuel of the Tiny House Warriors and Secwepemc Nation said product from the Frontier mine would be transported via the Trans Mountain pipeline, which crosses 518 kilometres of Secwepemc territory.

“This Teck mine will impact our community although it’s hundreds of miles away,” she said.

Wilkinson was not available for an interview, but his department said in a statement that the project is under active consideration.

“The government will consider a range of factors when they make a decision, including our commitments to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, to creating good paying middle-class jobs, and to growing the economy,” the statement said.

RELATED: Oilsands mine in public interest despite ‘significant adverse’ effects, panel finds

A joint review panel submitted its report in July containing its conclusions and recommendations for the Teck Frontier project to the minister and the chief executive officer of the Alberta Energy Regulator.

The panel determined Frontier would be in the public interest, even though it would likely cause harm to the environment and Indigenous people.

It’s expected to create $12 billion in tax revenues for Ottawa and $55 billion in tax and royalty revenues for Alberta over its 41-year life. About 7,000 jobs would be created in building the mine and 2,500 workers would be needed to operate it.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Last day of summer should be pleasant across the Fraser Valley

With fresh air, some sunshine in the forecast nothing to complain about as fall arrives tomorrow

Chilliwack school enrolment continues to rise, but almost 1,000 students at home

Many elementary students will be learning from home in a transition program offered by district

Young Abbotsford cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

Abbotsford parents upset as district gets cohort exemption to maximize class sizes at elementary school

Classes and cohorts shuffled after division eliminated at King Traditional elementary school

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods

Mission poker player missing in Nevada is found alive and safe

Brad Booth went missing in July 13, found in mid September

B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

Government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

VIDEO: Shots fired outside Langley gas station that was scene of 2018 homicide

No reports of injuries in Saturday evening incident

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Most Read