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BACK (L-R) Heiko Wiechern, UA Canada; James Kennedy, Eagle Spirit Energy Holdings; Mark Olsen, LIUNA; Walter Canta, Teamsters Local 213; Gary Kitchen, Teamsters Canada; Patrick Campbell, IUOE; FRONT (L-R) Calvin Helin,, Eagle Spirit Energy Holdings; Brian Cochrane, IUOE Local 115. Image: Eagle Spirit Energy Holdings Eagle Spirit Energy and Canada’s four pipeline craft unions have signed an agreement to “collaboratively pursue and deliver” the Eagle Spirit Energy Corridor Project from Fort McMurray, Alta. to Grassy Point, British Columbia.

The unions represent over 330,000 members from the International Union of Operating Engineers, the Labourer’s International Union of North America, the United Association Canada (Canadian Piping Trades) and Teamsters Canada.

The agreement, which covers all pipeline construction and pumping stations in B.C. and Alberta, “ensures significant indigenous ownership and participation.”

Eagle Spirit Energy was launched in September 2012 by chairman Calvin Helin, a member of the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation and son of a hereditary chief. The project reportedly has support from major oil producers including Suncor Energy and Cenovus Energy.

"Indigenous people in Canada are the poorest people in the nation. With ground breaking projects like this we have an opportunity to holistically balance natural resource development against the dire needs of our community. The environment is always the most important consideration for our communities and our Chiefs Council has the power to ensure it is protected. It is time to acknowledge our history as traders and entrepreneurs and take back the power we used to have,” Chief Isaac Laboucan-Avirom, Grand Chief of Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta, said in a statement.

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