Panelists at a discussion of Indigenous rights and the fight against climate change in Edmonton reacted to the approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

“The reality is that we are in a climate crisis,” said Eriel Deranger, Executive Director of Indigenous Climate Action and a member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

“They officially designated that we are in a climate crisis and a climate emergency, and then the day after, they approve one of the largest pipeline expansion projects in the country. It just seems like hypocrisy at its finest,” she said.

Grassroots organizers with Climate Justice Edmonton agree that the approval is not compatible with responsible climate policy.

“It’s disappointing but unfortunately not surprising,” Bronwen Tucker of Climate Justice Edmonton said. “We know that this government has continued to make decisions that double down on an economy we can’t afford anymore.”

The discussion, presented by Briarpatch magazine, was focused on the importance of Indigenous leadership in climate action and what the Canadian version of the green new deal means for Indigenous people and Indigenous rights.

Indigenous Climate Action is an Indigenous-led climate justice organization, advocating for Indigenous peoples to be leading the discourse on climate change and climate solutions.

“The global community has recognized the importance of Indigenous peoples, Indigenous knowledge in developing solutions, but it’s not actually happening at the highest levels,” said Deranger.