An elected B.C. First Nations chief said that the LNG pipeline is much-needed and is lifting communities get out of poverty.
“In order to achieve independent nations, we need independent members. The opportunities that are available for today’s generation and future generations of First Nations people that participate in these projects are life changing. They’re nation changing,” said Chief Coun. Crystal Smith.
The pipeline is currently at the centre of a dispute between the project owners and hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs.
Despite opposition from the single Wet’suwet’en hereditary clan, 20 elected First Nations bands have signed agreements in support of the project.
Both the B.C. Supreme Court and the province’s NDP government have also come out in support of the project’s construction.
Justice Marguerite Church ruled that protests against the project have caused “irreparable harm” and that the tribe’s Indigenous laws are not a recognized part of Canadian law.
“There has been no process by which Wet’suwet’en customary laws have been recognized in this manner. While Wet’suwet’en customary laws clearly exist on their own independent footing, they are not recognized as being an effectual part of Canadian law,” wrote Justice Church.
The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has spoken out against the project and ordered Canada to stop three ongoing resource developments, including the LNG pipeline.
B.C.’s appointed Human Rights Commissioner Kasari Govender called on Canada to obey the U.N’s directive and put an end to the pipeline’s construction.
“I join CERD [Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination] in urging Canada to immediately cease the forced eviction of Wet’suwet’en and Secwepemc peoples, to prohibit the use of lethal weapons, and to guarantee no force will be used against them. This is a matter of fundamental human rights,” said Govender in a statement.
RCMP have secured the site and set up checkpoints due to protestors seeking to sabotage the project. Earlier this month, RCMP officers discovered fuel-soaked rags and containers of gasoline near the road leading to the construction site.
“These concerning items have been brought to the attention of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs. They have also been advised that the RCMP has entered into a criminal investigation under Section 247 of the Criminal Code for Traps Likely to Cause Bodily Harm,” said the RCMP.