Investors Urge Enbridge (ENB) to Address First Nations on Gateway Pipeline Project

    VANCOUVER, May 6 /CNW/ - Today The Ethical Funds Company secured the
support of approximately 67 million shares representing 32% of total shares
for a proposal at Enbridge Inc.'s Annual General Meeting in Toronto. The
proposal asks the company to disclose information investors need to assess the
potential for First Nations to approve or potentially squash Enbridge's
Northern Gateway Pipeline Project.
    The 1,170 kilometer pipeline would take oil from Alberta's oil sands to
the Port of Kitimat, British Columbia for ocean tanker transport through
coastal waters and on to Asia. Opposition to the project is mounting as First
Nations and environmentalists raise concerns with respect to the oil sands and
potential spills in what is known as the Great Bear Rainforest.
    "Enbridge has a strong aboriginal relations policy, but we believe their
approach to date may not be sufficient to mitigate the project's very real
risks," said Bob Walker, Vice President, Sustainability for the Ethical funds
Company. "We believe Enbridge needs a new strategy and investors need more
information to determine whether or not this company will be able to negotiate
this project successfully with the First Nations likely to be impacted by
pipeline development."
    First Nations have distinct legal standing in Canada that translates into
significant project risk if consent for project development is not attained.
The proposed pipeline and marine transport route crosses through more than 50
First Nations traditional territories, many of them unceded, with no treaty
agreements having ever been signed. The proposal asks the company to assess
the costs and benefits of adopting a policy of achieving the free, prior, and
informed consent and to disclose the status of its negotiations with First
Nations along the pipeline's right of way.
    The Ethical Funds Company's assessment of risks associated with
Enbridge's Northern Gateway Pipeline Project is based on lessons learned from
the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline, recent extraction projects refusals in the same
region of British Columbia based on lack of First Nations' consent (see
background), and the emergence of free, prior, and informed consent as best
corporate practice for companies that have an impact on indigenous peoples'
    "The risk of First Nations opposition to this pipeline is material and
investors are asking for full disclosure to track these risks and know where
we stand" concludes Mr. Walker.

    About Ethical Funds

    Launched in 1992, The Ethical Funds Company is Canada's leading manager
of socially responsible mutual funds. The Ethical Funds Company's approach to
investment incorporates the thesis that companies integrating best
environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices into their strategy and
operations will provide higher risk-adjusted returns over the long term. The
Ethical Funds Company has Canada's largest team of sustainability analysts
focused on environmental, social, and governance evaluations and engagement.
Ethical Funds is a division of Northwest & Ethical Investments L.P.


    March 16th, 2009 - Canada's national media outlets confirmed with federal
officials that the budget for the joint review panel of the Mackenzie Valley
Pipeline had tripled. Furthermore, a final report, which was originally
scheduled for 10 months after the panel's 2004 start, is currently expected in
December of 2009. First proposed in the 1970s, the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline
has been plagued by a history of First Nations and Inuit opposition, including
lawsuits. Regulatory approvals still pending, the project is currently
expected to be completed by 2014, four years later than predicted in 2004 by
the companies involved.
    November 28th, 2008 - the First Nations Summit, comprised of the majority
of First Nations and Tribal Councils in British Columbia, passed a resolution
calling on the federal government to establish an independent First Nations
Review Process for Enbridge's Northern Gateway Pipeline. In addition, over the
past 6 months elected councilors representing each of the Nations of the
Haida, Gitga'at, Nak'azdli, Nadleh Whut'en and Wet'Suwet'en have all been in
various media reports all stating concern with the Northern Gateway Pipeline
    December 5th, 2008 - a major coalbed methane project proposed by Royal
Dutch Shell in Northwest British Columbia was delayed for two years. The
project is opposed by the Tahltan First Nations and a broad-based grassroots
campaign that united people in the region around the protection of salmon.
    May, 2007 - UR Energy did not receive approval for a mining project in
Northern British Columbia with government decision makers citing the unique
cultural and ecological significance of the project area to the Dene First
    September, 2007 - a Federal-Provincial Joint Review Panel determined that
the proposed Kemess copper-gold mine in Northern British Columbia was not in
the public interest, acknowledging the First Nations of the region would
experience adverse impacts and receive limited benefits.
    October 26th, 2006 - the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council launched a lawsuit
against the Government of Canada for failure to consult on the Northern
Gateway Pipeline National Energy Board process -

For further information:

For further information: Bob Walker, Vice President, Sustainability,
(604) 714-3833

Organization Profile


More on this organization

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890