July 21, 2008

In Support of the Lubicon: Friends of the Lubicon Alberta

Dear readers:

As a Colombia solidarity group based in Canada, it is impossible for us not to pay special attention to the situation of communities in resistance in the place we call Canada. The Lubicon Cree, located in northern Alberta, the province where La Chiva was born, have been resisting for many years. With the so-called oil industry ‘boom’ we are all experiencing in a variety of ways (rent increases, major local inflation, the destruction of our environment, among many others), there are communities that are not only being ignored but are forced to live with the consequences of the ‘Alberta Advantage’. This must not continue! In that spirit, a group of people have begun working in solidarity with the Lubicon, to bring the situation they face to light in Alberta, Canada and the world. This work is extremely important, as it shines a mirror on this place called Canada, which is exactly what La Chiva is working to do as well.

Find below an excerpt from their July Bulletin, which provides a recent update and some background on the situation. If Colombia is too far to care about, know that THIS IS HAPPENING HERE, TOO!

In solidarity,
La Chiva

TransCanada (major transnational company) continues to refuse to recognize the Lubicon.

TransCanada's North Central Corridor pipeline (the pipeline proposed to run through unceded Lubicon traditional territory) was approved by the 'regulatory body' the Alberta Utilities Commission. TransCanada continues to refuse to recognize Lubicon land rights or sincerely address Lubicon concerns. See 'background' section below for a description of just how TransCanada operates with regard to the Lubicon.

Since the construction of an all-weather road in 1979, Lubicon traditional territory has been ravaged by oil and gas exploitation. Over $13 billion in oil and gas resources have been taken from Lubicon land, yet the community remains even without running water or suitable housing. It was in reaction to this that, in 2007, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing called on Canada to "place a moratorium on all oil and extractive activities in the Lubicon region until a settlement is reached with the Lubicon Nation."

The very next month TransCanada filed its application with Alberta to construct a jumbo pipeline through Lubicon territory. In a public statement TransCanada made false public claims that "no objections were raised in extensive consultations with landowners, native communities and other 'interested stakeholder'."

Yet from the beginning Lubicon representatives made it clear that they would oppose construction of the proposed pipeline unless and until representatives of TransCanada agreed to respect recognized Lubicon land rights and answered Lubicon questions. Since the time of its application, TransCanada has carried on with an "engagement program" - a strategy made to look as if TransCanada is addressing to Lubicon concerns (visiting the community from time to time, saying they are "just stopping by"), while they are simply moving ahead with their own plans for the pipeline. Even the promise TransCanada made to the Lubicons to bring a TransCanada official to a meeting who could take a position with respect to unceded Lubicon land rights (not to mention answer the Lubicon questions about pipeline construction and operation that have been repeatedly raised by Lubicon representatives) remains unfulfilled. TransCanada never follows through. At the same time TransCanada has made claims implying that they are "not aware" of Lubicon concerns regarding the pipeline.

Please support the Lubicon, a community in resistance in Canada, as well as the important solidarity work being done by Friends of the Lubicon.

For more information:
Website: http://www.fola.ecope.ca/
TO contact FOLA, go here: http://fola.ecope.ca/main/index.php?option=com_contact&Itemid=3

No comments: