Why are Indigenous peoples suing the government over the project’s approval?

  • Less than a third of the affected First Nations have signed benefits agreements with Kinder Morgan. This means that the vast majority have not signed any kind of agreement.
  • Under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)—which the Government of Canada has committed to implement—if even one nation doesn’t consent, then the project cannot happen. As Chief Judy Wilson said while presenting a shareholder resolution at Kinder Morgan’s 2018 AGM, “The new reality is that there is a changed political landscape in BC with recognition our inherent Indigenous Title and Rights, the implementation without qualification of the UN Declaration and the Truth and Reconciliation 94 Calls for Action across our country, overdue legal recognition of our title declaration of our territorial title, and especially free, prior and informed consent.”
  • This project is not compatible with UNDRIP. All three Indigenous Nations whose territory is directly affected by the pipeline are standing together in opposition. It’s important to realize that in BC this land is unceded: it is not under treaty. It is sovereign land of the Indigenous Nations and they have said no to this pipeline.
  • Allegations have also been raised that the federal government didn’t follow proper consultation processes with First Nations before greenlighting the project. A recent investigation into the government’s own consultation by the National Observer alleges that the process was “rigged.” The investigation found that at least one month before the pipeline was approved, a high-ranking public servant instructed cabinet to find a “legally-sound basis to say ‘yes’” to the Kinder Morgan Pipeline. These allegations are now being reviewed by the Federal Court of Appeal.
  • See here for a backgrounder of the legal challenges to Kinder Morgan’s pipeline.