In May 2023, members of PHM Canada united to write a letter to the Minister of the Environment George Heyman and Minister of Energy Josie Osborne in British Columbia, as well as other government representatives, supporting Unist’ot’en resistances to the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline. To see the letter, continue reading below or click here.
Included below are also the emails for the Ministers of the Environment and Energy. We strongly encourage you to consider contacting these individuals to let them know your thoughts on the matter, so they can understand the outpouring of dissent against the impacts of the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline on the Canadian environment and surrounding Indigenous communities. As we move towards reconciliation in this country, we must stand with Unist’ot’en, and other Indigenous communities, and support them in their endeavours to protect their land from capitalist exploitation.
May 28, 2023
Dear Minister of Environment George Heyman, Minister of Energy Josie Osborne, and other government representatives,
On behalf of People’s Health Movement (PHM) – Canada, we are writing to call on you to issue an immediate and comprehensive cease work order on the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline (CGL) until a full inspection has been conducted and all remedial and repair work has been completed. TC Energy, in the construction of the CGL, has been reported by the Narwhal and a Citizen Monitoring Group as “having committed numerous environmental infractions, including slope failures, flooded worksites, and sediment entering wetlands and waterways.” Waterway contamination has been corroborated by helicopter flyovers of the area that reveal footage of the devastation of this territory.
As physicians, nurses, epidemiologists, health researchers and advocates, we at PHM are deeply concerned not only about the environmental destruction caused by the pipeline construction, but also about the health and well-being of nearby Indigenous communities, whose livelihoods and sacred lands are being actively degraded and threatened by construction of the CGL. Waterway contamination has been widely linked to poor health outcomes including neurological disorders, cancer, respiratory, gastrointestinal, skin and other infections, mental health effects, poisonings, and death.
As local Indigenous communities have highlighted, the area around the Gosnell wetlands provides them “with cranberries, rice root, and a resting place for birds. [The waterways] filter and oxygenate the water that feeds the rivers like Wedzin Kwa [the Morice River], absorb spring runoff and flood waters to prevent erosion and filter silt that can ruin salmon spawning beds. Salmon, which many Indigenous people in the northwest coast rely on, spawn in these waterways.” These functions are now impeded by contamination caused by construction of the CGL.
All evidence points to the cease work orders to date around the Gosnell wetlands area being grossly insufficient. The violent history of colonization, the Indian Act, the reservation system, and residential schools have sought to disconnect Indigenous people from their lands. CGL construction appears to be yet another chapter in Canada’s history of violent colonization against Indigenous lands. It behooves you as Ministers and MLAs to stop this from happening.
CGL must be held accountable for their actions; independent and consistent monitoring must be done and made publicly accessible. PHM-Canada and the Unist’ot’en Nation are counting on you to commit to halting these colonizing activities and respecting the rights of Indigenous peoples in BC by issuing an immediate and comprehensive cease work order on the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline.
We look forward to hearing from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anne-Emanuelle Birn, MA, ScD
Professor and Acting Chair, Global Development Studies
University of Toronto
Nikisha Khare, MD, MPH
Family Medicine Resident
University of British Columbia
Lindsey Wagner, MSc, RN
Practical Nursing Instructor
On behalf of People’s Health Movement – Canada