Cheam Chief Ernie Crey and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Trans Mountain pipeline’s Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee meeting on the Cheam reserve in Chilliwack on June 5, 2018. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Cheam Chief Ernie Crey and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Trans Mountain pipeline’s Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee meeting on the Cheam reserve in Chilliwack on June 5, 2018. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Chilliwack’s Chief Ernie Crey a firm pipeline supporter

Crey lauds NEB focus on marine safety in his role representing Indigenous oversight committee

Cheam Chief Ernie Crey has long been outspoken in support of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, and he’s particularly vocal about the fact that not all First Nations leaders are against the controversial project to get Alberta oil sands to tidewater.

With the National Energy Board (NEB) recommendation that the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project go ahead, Crey issued comments Friday in his role as chair of the Indigenous caucus of the Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee (IAMC).

“I’m glad to see that the NEB has recommended that Canada work with the IAMC on a marine safety system for the Salish Sea,” Crey said. “We’re building capacity in Indigenous communities to work with federal regulators on marine inspections and enforcement.”

• READ MORE: National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

The IAMC was set up to represent communities along the pipeline route, and the committee gives communities a mechanism to weigh in and participate.

Of the $64.7 million over five years set aside for the IAMC by the federal government, $42 million is to enable the committee to monitor the pipeline expansion project.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself was in Chilliwack back in June to address the IAMC on the Cheam reserve.

• READ MORE: PM meets with Indigenous pipeline committee near Chilliwack

And while Crey may be prominent on the IAMC and is a staunch supporter, Trudeau acknowledged that not every Indigenous group is in support of the project. A number of Indigenous leaders issued strong statements of opposition to Trans Mountain after the NEB’s decision Friday.

A tagline on the IAMC’s own press release, points out that the committee brings together 13 Indigenous and six senior federal representatives to provide advice with the shared goal of safety and protection of the environment and Indigenous interests.

“Participation by an Indigenous community [on the committee] does not mean that it supports or opposes the project, nor does it change the government’s duty to consult.”

In his statement in support of NEB recommendations number 7 and 11, which address marine safety and oil spill response, Crey stated that at a recent meeting of Indigenous communities, participants told the IAMC that marine stewardship is a top priority.

“Indigenous peoples want an integral role in Emergency Management and spill response planning. I see in today’s report that the NEB has heard the same message too,” he said.

“IAMC’s Indigenous Caucus participated in the NEB Reconsideration Hearings, and there’s much more work to be done. If this pipeline and shipping expansion is approved then it must be built to the highest standards of safety and protection of the environment and Indigenous interests.”

• READ MORE: Chilliwack’s aquifer again in the spotlight with NEB pipeline approval


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Cheam Chief and co-chair of the Indigenous Monitoring and Advisory Committee Ernie Crey (right). (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Cheam Chief and co-chair of the Indigenous Monitoring and Advisory Committee Ernie Crey (right). (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)