The Coastal Gaslink project, and more recently the injunction has garnered international attention, but one MLA said people need to see the other side of the story.
Skeena MLA Ellis Ross said he’s been on the frontlines of this project since day one.
“The elected leaders from Prince George, to Kitimat, and even down channel for that matter put in a lot of work and investigation into the Coastal Gaslink project. And it was all based on section 35 of the constitution, and nobody wants to acknowledge that.”
Ross said there’s some misinformation spreading about the pipeline, and he wants to get the word out.
“I’ve been trying for years now to tell people that is actually not the right story is what you’re hearing in terms of what is happening to First Nations.”
He added that the protesters involved might not have all the information they need.
“For one, they probably don’t know the history of that project. They probably believe the narrative that elected Chief Councillors are only there for the jurisdiction of everything on the reserve, which is false.”
According to Ross, even outside First Nations communities may not fully grasp the situation.
“I mean, even for a First Nations person that is not Wet’suwet’en, even they have no knowledge on how the Wet’suwet’en culture works, because every First Nation has a different structure in terms of leadership, or maybe in terms of culture.”
News coverage of the protests and the injunction have been gaining some traction, but Ross said we need to start asking the Wet’suwet’en communities what they think.
“The members of the Wet’suwet’en communities have been trying to speak up, and trying to point out what is happening is wrong, but nobody wants to listen to them.”
Ross also had some harsh words for people pushing these narratives, adding that these kinds of projects are with the goal of helping Indigenous communities.
“You should actually stop insulting and destabilizing First Nation communities with these kinds of narratives.”
“I mean, all these elected leaders are trying to resolve poverty, they’re trying to resolve suicides, they’re trying to resolve imprisonment of First Nations, they’re trying to resolve our children going into Government care. I have not yet met one elected leader who didn’t have this as the overall goal.”
He added that communities like Kitimat that have embraced some of these projects have seen a boost to their quality of life.
“A lot of people in Kitimat and surrounding communities that actually embraced forestry or mining, they’re seeing dramatic turnaround in terms of social issues that they’re facing. It’s not the cure all of course, nothing is going to work 100%, but everything else that First Nations leaders have tried over the last 40 years has failed.”
Ross said that this all boils down to people wanting a better life, adding that’s something everyone can understand, regardless of culture or race.
“It’s just basic common knowledge, that everybody, regardless of where you come from, regardless of your ethnicity, regardless of your religion, people just want to be able to provide for themselves and provide for their families and be independent.”
You have no idea what you’re talking about. Give me a call. I’ll tel you the other side of the story as an aboriginal leader who was on the front of this project from day one. https://t.co/hJEO2E1hM2
— Ellis Ross (@ellisbross) November 23, 2021