New York, New York – Northwest BC First Nations leaders followed those of the Trudeau government to New York this week, hammering home their opposition to the proposed Pacific Northwest LNG project at the United Nations.
The First Nations leaders called upon member nations of the world body to support their demand that the Liberal government reject the 36 billion dollar project being advanced by a consortium led by Malaysia’s state owned oil company, Petronas.
Just two days after the government earned cheers at the 15th session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, for a pledge that Canada would abide fully with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Hereditary Chief John Ridsdale had an entirely different message for the same forum.
He said, “Right now in our ancestral lands, everything the Trudeau government has pledged to get right with Canada’s indigenous peoples is in danger of going very, very wrong” and he added, “It is 2016, and Petronas is the wrong project, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.”
Murray Smith, another spokesperson for one for the nine allied tribes represented by the protest group expressed deep concern about the threat posed by the Lulu Island project near Prince Rupert, to wild salmon habitat in their ancestral lands.
He said, “We are not against development, but we are against this dangerous irresponsible, foreign-owned and illegal intrusion into our sacred homelands, and we stand against this project for all the peoples of this world.”
He went on to say, “We don’t want money, we want justice, and we invite you to join our battle, and to add your voices to our struggle to protect the only home we have ever had.”
The Trudeau government is currently reviewing an amended proposal from Pacific Northwest as part of the oft-delayed environmental assessment which has been the subject of criticism by salmon and climate scientists, as well as aboriginal legal scholars who refuse to accept any claim, the process meets the standard of “free, prior and informed consent” as outlined by the aforementioned UN declaration.