Chief Bernard Ominayak of the Lubicon Cree Nation has (once again) informed TransCanada that the Lubicon are “prepared to consider talking with TransCanada about [their] proposal to build a major new gas pipeline across unceded Lubicon Territory,” in a letter dated September 9, 2008.
However, Chief Ominayak states that such a meeting depends on the Crown corporation respecting Lubicon rights, something that must begin with the “suspension of TransCanada’s application […] to build that pipeline without first obtaining Lubicon agreement.”
These words come in response to an August 29th letter by Eric Mohun, TransCanada’s Aboriginal Relations spokesperson. In his letter, Mohun attempts to assure Chief Ominayak that “TransCanada […] recognizes and respects Lubicon Land, and with this recognition, we are sincerely interested in meeting with Chief and Council, hear of the issues and needs of the community and to arrive at a mutually acceptable decision that will be in accordance with Lubicon Nation interests.”
Mohun’s words sound promising, but then it’s easy to say one thing and then do the exact opposite.
If the company is truly prepared to sit down with the Lubicon, they first have to respect the Lubicon’s request and pull back from the pipeline.
Then they will have to engage in a meaningful process of consultation and consent.
If TransCanada fails to do this — if instead they continue to undermine, infantilize, and ignore the Lubicon while pushing forward with the pipeline, then as the Friends of the Lubicon have just pointed out, TransCanada is headed toward an imminent confrontation with the Lubicon Nation.
Recent history surrounding indigenous rights in Canada shows us that, if it comes to a confrontation, the Crown corporation is ultimately going to lose.
To read Eric Mohun’s letter and Chief Ominayak’s response, please see: TransCanada proceeding toward confrontation with Lubicon?. I also recommend you have a look at: Lubicon response to outrageous propaganda masquerading as newspaper reporting.