Reconciliation is the most important challenge facing Canadians. It’s important to understand the many challenges facing First Nations trying to reconcile development and environmental sustainability.
Haisla Nation Chief Councillor Crystal Smith, shown here in Kitamaat Village, B.C. on March 9, 2019, has endured threats over her support for Coastal GasLink’s natural gas project. Photo by Brandi Morin
Haisla Nation Chief Councillor Crystal Smith has been called a “traitor” and faced threats on social media, warned not to go anywhere alone at a recent First Nation sporting event.
Smith says she comes from “a long, long line of strong female leaders” in the matriarchal Haisla Nation and has the support of her community against threats, most from outside of Kitamaat Village, B.C. in the Pacific Northwest. The promise of a brighter future keeps her going. She’s never been prouder to be a Haisla Nation member.
The attacks stem from the Haisla Nation signing mutual benefit agreements in 2018 with LNG Canada and Coastal GasLink. Coastal GasLink is the name of the pipeline project that would feed natural gas to an LNG Canada facility, within Haisla territory, where it would be liquefied and shipped overseas. It’s a partnership that will provide extensive economic benefits to the tiny coastal tribe of 1,800 with 800 living on reserve.
The Haisla are working with the companies to build a processing plant of their own called Cedar LNG.
The Haisla aren’t worried about the potential threats to the water, marine life or other environmental effects like many opponents of the project. Smith said they’ve done their due diligence. Following years of negotiations and 86 meetings with Coastal Gas Link, the Haisla decided to get on board. Twenty First Nations have signed project agreements with Coastal GasLink. MORE
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was in full campaign mode on Sat. Jan. 19, as he got the backing of some star power in the middle of a byelection campaign in the Vancouver region.
Jagmeet Singh answers questions about why he expressed his support for the Coastal GasLink LNG pipeline, while he opposes the Trans Mountain oil pipeline and tanker expansion project. Singh was campaigning in Burnaby on Jan. 19, 2019. Video by Michael Ruffolo
Alex Spence, centre, who is originally from Haida Gwaii, beats a drum and sings during a march in support of pipeline protesters in northwestern British Columbia, in Vancouver, on Tuesday.
There may be no right way to do fossil-fuel megaprojects at all anymore if we’re going to have a hope in hell of meeting our 2015 Paris Climate Accord commitments, but as far as the massive LNG Canada Kitimat plant and pipeline project goes – with the showdown this week on a remote British Columbia backroad that immediately escalated into protests and marches and sit-ins across the country – the politics, promises and planning seem to have gotten just about everything wrong.
It’s the aboriginal rights and title of the Wet’suewet’en people that are at stake here, and that’s the subject that the federal Liberal government, and B.C.’s NDP government, are trying to avoid.
You could start with the way Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cheered LNG Canada’s announcement last October that the green light LNG got from B.C’s NDP government meant full steam ahead for its long-planned $40 billion project, which is to include a new pipeline from Dawson Creek in the Peace River country to a liquifaction plant and export facility at Kitimat on the B.C. coast. MORE
From right: BC Premier John Horgan at the unveiling of BC’s new climate plan with Environment Minister George Heyman, Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall (with new baby Zavier) on Dec. 5, 2018. Photo by Michael Ruffolo
The British Columbia government has recently made two big decisions that are pulling the province in opposite directions in the climate fight — approving LNG Canada and rolling out the new CleanBC climate plan.
The LNG Canada project is massive. It will sprawl from new fracked gas wells in northern B.C., across the coast mountains via the hotly-contested, 650 km “Coastal GasLink” pipeline, to a new liquefaction terminal in Kitimat. From there, the gas will be loaded onto supertankers and shipped to Asia. The LNG terminal is designed to be built in two phases, each of which will produce 13 million tonnes of liquid natural gas. The first phase is now going ahead.
If both phases get built it will become the “biggest capital project in B.C. history.” And probably the most climate polluting as well, with projections for up to 10 million tonnes of climate pollution (MtCO2) per year. For scale, that’s more than the emissions from all passenger cars, trucks and SUVs in the province today. MORE
An Indigenous camp was ordered Friday to remove a gate that’s blocking a bridge in northwestern B.C. and holding up a multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline project.
Judge Marguerite Church of the B.C. Supreme Court sided with Coastal GasLink, a subsidiary of TransCanada Corp., which filed an injunction to get construction going on the $40-billion LNG Canada build.
“People were crying but I feel emboldened because we are getting so much support,” said Warner Naziel of the Indigenous Unist’ot’en Camp – a land-based healing centre on Wet’suwet’en traditional territory south of Houston, B.C. MORE
Ground zero in the global battle against climate chaos this week is in Wet’suwet’en territory, northern British Columbia.
As pipeline companies try to push their way onto unceded Indigenous territories, the conflict could become the next Standing Rock-style showdown over Indigenous rights and fossil fuel infrastructure.
Since 2010, the Unist’ot’en clan, members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, have been reoccupying and re-establishing themselves on their ancestral lands in opposition to as many as six proposed pipeline projects. MORE