Contributed file photo of B.C. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip.

2018: Battleground year for B.C. chiefs

2018 is being called a battleground in a New Year’s Day Statement from Grand Chief Stewart Phillip

B.C. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says B.C. chiefs are ready to take on what he calls Battleground 2018.

“As the days start to grow longer, there remains a smouldering, undiminished sense of determination, inspiration and hope in our hearts as we approach Battleground 2018,” wrote Phillip in a New Year’s Day statement issued Monday.

Related: Battle against Kinder Morgan far from over, say First Nations

Led by the Tsleil-Waututh, Coldwater Indian Band and Squamish Nation, the head of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs notes that the lawsuits that could shut down Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion project will be decided by this summer.

“Should the approval be nullified, our attention will be squarely upon Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to take immediate action to protect the land, rivers, the Salish Sea and stop the Trans Mountain Expansion project,” he wrote.

Related: Trudeau green lights Kinder Morgan pipeline, rejects Northern Gateway

“We were told that now is the time to implement the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, now is the time to honour the Tsilhqot’in Supreme Court of Canada decision, and now is the time for reconciliation by breathing life into the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action. Is that what we have seen?”

He went on to say the Coast Protectors campaign arose to send a clear message to Trudeau that they would not back down just because his government approved the Trans Mountain Expansion project.

“After all, Enbridge’s Northern Gateway was approved by the former Prime Minister and the courts killed it because of the flagrant refusal to honourably engage with Indigenous communities on the irreversible impacts to their Title, Rights and Treaty Rights,” he added.

“There are tens of thousands of us and we will do what it takes to stop this pipeline expansion project and tanker nightmare.

“I raise my hands to the Indigenous Nations, Peoples, friends and allies for your commitment and work in 2017.

Related: B.C. First Nation joins ‘hologram’ protest vs Kinder Morgan pipeline

“In 2018, we will move forward together.

“Whatever it takes.”

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