On June 16, Prime Minister Stephen Harper officially approved Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project to the Pacific coast to export tar sands oil, just days before Canada’s Supreme Court wrapped up its deliberations on the Tsilhqot’in Nation land claim. Coincidence? Or attempted arm twisting?
The government insists that the pipeline project is of vital national import and is environmentally sound (read: overriding any native sovereignty complaints). The hope was that the Supreme Court justices would soft-pedal native claims and leave room for the government to use its majority to push through its tar sands agenda before the next federal election, leaving a fait accompli.