Most First Nations in northern B.C. support LNG pipeline, group says

First Nations LNG Alliance says at least 20 First Nations have signed agreements with LNG Canada

Despite the headline-grabbing news coming from the Gitdumt’en anti-pipeline site, most First Nations living near the LNG pipeline route support the project.

At least 20 First Nations from Fort St. John to Kitimat have signed agreements with LNG Canada, Donald MacLachlan, media officer with the First Nations LNG Alliance, told Black Press Media.

READ MORE: RCMP arrest 14 people in northern B.C. over anti-LNG pipeline protest

Chief Rene Skin of the Skin Tyee near Burns Lake said his First Nation was among the first to lend its support to LNG.

“We’ve always been in support of the pipeline. We voted together,” Skin said. “Lots to do with jobs, up and coming housing – people will be able to start their own companies. For years to come, there will be a lot of benefits.”

Skin couldn’t offer many specifics on the benefits, which are detailed in the confidential term sheet that was negotiated with LNG Canada.

In general, the agreements signed with the First Nations near the pipeline are worth millions of dollars, MacLachlan said, including $620 million in conditional contracting and employment opportunities, and another $400 million in contracting opportunities for local and Indigenous business.

Skin Tyee band councillor Helen Michelle said a long process of negotiation between Skin Tyee members and hereditary chiefs eventually led to an agreement with Coastal GasLink, the company behind the project that would transport natural gas to Kitimat.

“We discussed it thoroughly and we struggled with it,” Michelle said. “We agreed upon it for our future generations. No other chiefs speak for us or our territory. We speak for ourselves.”

Burns Lake First Nation Chief Dan George, who is also the First Nations LNG Alliance chair, has said there are hereditary chiefs who support the project.

“Helen Michelle and Skin Tyee are not alone,” he said. “Other First Nations such as the Haisla and Kitselas have declared their support for LNG.”

Karen Ogen-Toews, CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance, said amidst the media coverage, regular people from the Wet’suwet’en community are caught in the middle.

“The backlash Wet’suwet’en people are facing, whether they are for or against the project, is devastating,” Ogen-Toews said.

“Our leaders, elected or hereditary, are advancing what they believe is right, and as such all deserve respectful treatment. Social-media campaigns led by non-Indigenous groups are simply not contributing to a solution.”

The activity at the Gitdumt’en blockade camp near the Morice River Bridge, south of Houston, has been trending on Twitter under the hashtag #unistotencamp.

“There is no doubt that the hereditary leadership has some responsibility for land and natural resources within our territory,” Ogen-Toews added. “At the same time, the elected leadership has responsibility for our people and the external affairs of their First Nation.”

Just Posted

Overworked and understaffed: More than 300 vacancies in Vancouver Island nursing

Tentative deal with province includes ‘working short premium’ to encourage hiring

CRD committee proposes ending livestock payouts to farmers

The bylaw has existed since the creation of the CRD’s animal control service in 1979

Victoria city council seeks authority to tax empty homes

Council is asking the province for the authority to invoke a vacancy tax

Backyardigans, Max & Ruby stage shows add to Family Day in Sidney

Bodine Hall shows make room for kids to sing, dance, enjoy Family Day weekend

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes says municipality will re-group after Rowing Canada decision

Haynes said he is “quite disappointed” but also respects choice of North Cowichan as national centre

VIDEO: Excessive speed on the Malahat captured by dash cam footage

Poster calls driving ‘dangerous, obnoxious and disrespectful’

POLL: Should people have to license their cats?

The Victoria Natural History Society has sent letters to 13 municipalities in… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

Most Read