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Quebec, indigenous groups vow to oppose ‘devastating’ proposed oil pipeline

Quebec, aboriginal groups vow they will not allow an oil pipeline to cross their territory, even as the government seeks a third approval from the province to build the 1,200-kilometre Trans Mountain pipeline.

The National Assembly of First Nations said on Tuesday it will ask the federal government to withdraw approval for the pipeline, which would carry bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands to the Pacific coast.

“The government of Canada has violated the sacred rights of all Canadians and the rights of our peoples and it’s time to stop it,” said the Assembly’s chief, John Duncan.

“The indigenous peoples have been suffering for years from pipeline spills and this pipeline is no different.”

Duncan said the proposed pipeline is a form of genocide against the indigenous peoples of Quebec.

“This pipeline is not just a pipeline, it is a grave danger to the health and well-being of all Quebecers,” he said.

The Assembly will hold a news conference on Tuesday in Montreal to ask the prime minister and the federal Environment Minister to withdraw the approval.

The Assembly also plans to send a letter to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) demanding a detailed analysis of the environmental impact of the pipeline and to ask it to suspend its approval.

“We are deeply concerned about the impact of this pipeline on the health, safety and environment of Quebecers and our allies, especially our Indigenous Peoples,” Duncan said.

“We have been here for a long time and we have seen that these pipelines have caused tremendous damage to our environment, to our health, to the economy, to all of our First Nations and the Athabascan peoples.”

The project is being developed by Enbridge Inc. and would transport 1.4 million barrels of bitumen per day to Kitimat, B.C. It would be the largest oil-by-rail pipeline ever built in North America.

Enbridge has already had three permits issued for the line to the coast.

The company has also applied for two other permits for the same route.