Saik’uz First Nation is just one of a number of groups who have refused a 10 per cent equity stake offered by Enbridge in its $5.5 billion northern pipeline project.
Saik’uz Chief Jackie Thomas said the offer is just public relations from Enbridge and isn’t as generous as it sounds.
“What it sounds like that is that there’s free equity there but it’s basically them offering us a loan to buy a half equity,” said Thomas.
“I could go to the bank and get a loan and buy some shares in their company if that’s what I choose to do – that’s open to anyone – they make it sound like it’s something they are giving us but it’s just not true,” she said.
Saik’uz is part of the Yinka Dene Alliance which is a group of five First Nations with territories along the proposed pipeline which runs from Edmonton Alberta, to Kitimat.
Thomas described a “PR war” currently going on between First Nations and Enbridge.
“The current promotion and the PR from Enbridge is that it’s in the national interest that this pipeline get built with the creation of jobs and everything … but what’s not being said is if this pipeline does get built they are going to triple the size of the tar sands and it’s already the dirtiest fuel in the world,” she said.
“They’ve got lots of money for PR and they’re making first nations look like we’re greedy which we’re not.”
Thomas said she just has to remember the pictures from the Gulf of Mexico spill last year to remind her of the possible environmental implications of the proposed pipeline.
She added that the Yinka Dene Alliance has requested a meeting with Pat Daniels, the Chief Executive Officer with Enbridge and they also plan to attend the Enbridge annual general meeting
“We’re just tryng to do what’s right for our land and our water,” she said.