CHIEF Justin George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation has made it clear he intends to make opposing Kinder Morgan's proposal to expand its pipeline a political issue.
Last week, George praised federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair for comments Mulcair made in Victoria opposing the pipeline proposal.
George said in a press statement he agreed with Mulcair's comments that criticized the Conservative government for "gutting" the environmental review process for the project, which Mulcair said made the review meaningless.
George said he agreed with Mulcair that without a solid review process, the pipeline shouldn't be considered.
The Tsleil-Waututh, whose land is directly opposite Burrard Inlet from the Westridge terminal where Kinder Morgan's oil tankers load, has been vocal about its opposition to the project.
George has said the environmental risks of the project are too high and that the project offers few local benefits while communities along the inlet will face most of the risks.
If the project is approved, the number of oil tankers in Burrard inlet would jump to 365 a year from about 70 currently.
In his press statement, George made it clear his Nation is prepared to continue making the pipeline a political issue.
"Tsleil-Waututh Nation will continue to reach out to municipal, provincial, and federal leaders from all parties to encourage them to clearly state their position on this issue," George said in the statement. "The Nation is committed to working with political parties who are opposed to the pipelines and who want to see Canada's environmental assessment processes restored and rejuvenated."
All three local governments have voiced concerns about the increased potential for oil spills with more tanker traffic.
Many of the 75 people who showed up for a Kinder Morgan-hosted public information meeting on the company's proposal to twin the Trans Mountain pipeline earlier this month voiced their opposition.