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Shareholders concerned about cost of Gateway opposition

Enbridge managers were urged to examine the potential costs of opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline at the corporation's annual shareholder meeting in Toronto today.

"The opposition appears to be significant, widespread and hardening daily," Jamie Bonham of mutual fund company NEI Investments, which owns 148,000 Enbridge shares in its ethical funds portfolio, told the meeting.

First Nations leaders who had traveled by train to send a message to investors, protested on King Street outside the hotel where the meeting was taking place.

NEI and two co-filers requested that Enbridge report within a year on the risks posed by opposition to Northern Gateway and how it intends to mitigate them. However, despite Bonham's concern that "it seems likely that this will result in extended litigation," investors voted the motion down.

Meanwhile, in Vancouver today, a group of environmentalists put pressure on Vancity Credit Union to remove Enbridge stocks from mutual funds it labels "socially responsible."

The Forest Action Network spokeswoman Zoe Blunt told the CBC that Vancity president Tamara Vrooman has since agreed to ask Enbridge to halt the pipeline.

"Tamara said in the event that the Northern Gateway Pipeline is going forward at the end of this year, they will take a look at their position, they will re-evaluate their mutual fund decisions, and they will likely divest," said Blunt.

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Tyee.

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