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Landmark treaty signed by First Nations to stop pipeline expansion

Last Updated Sep 22, 2016 at 4:30 pm PST

FILE - Grand Chief Stewart Phillip signs a treaty to try and stop pipeline expansion. (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Chiefs from across North America are in Vancouver and Montreal to sign

The move follows reports the prime minister will approve at least one pipeline project in his first term

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) -First Nations Chiefs from across North America came together Thursday in both Vancouver and Montreal to take a firm stance against oil pipeline expansion.

Upwards of 50 chiefs signed their Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion which asks First Nations communities to halt pipeline, tanker, and rail projects in their respective territories, including all five current proposals.

“What this Treaty means is that from Quebec, we will work with our First Nation allies in BC to make sure that the Kinder Morgan pipeline does not pass and we will also work with our Tribal allies in Minnesota as they take on Enbridge’s Line 3 expansion, and we know they’ll help us do the same against Energy East,” says Kanesatake Grand Chief Serge Simon.

The chiefs say the projects are a risk to the future of the environment and Canada’s economy must be set on a sustainable path.

The treaty follows reports that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will approve at least one pipeline within his first term – most likely Kinder Morgan.

However, Union of BC Indian Chiefs President Stewart Phillip says what the prime minister chooses to do will not deter the group.

“Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier [Christy] Clark and whoever becomes president of the US needs to wake up to the determination and resolve of this movement,” he says.

Philips claims this is like the anti-war and civil rights movements rolled into one.

“The risk is too great, the underlying issues of climate change and global warming are such, that the answer is no.”

He says no amount of consultation will be enough to convince them to build pipelines and he called on the federal government to have “meaningful engagements” with First Nations to build a sustainable economy.