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Council of Canadians co-hosts protest against Pacific Northwest LNG project

Sound demo

The proposed Pacific Northwest LNG project was protested outside the ‘International LNG in BC’ conference in Vancouver last night. The protest was hosted by the Council of Canadians, Rising Tide and No One Is Illegal and took place on the traditional and unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples.

The conference, which is being sponsored by Pacific Northwest LNG, TransCanada, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and other corporations, features speakers including BC Premier Christy Clark, Michael Culbert, the President & CEO of Pacific NorthWest LNG, and Tim McMillan, the President and CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

The Canadian Press reports, “Several First Nations were to protest outside the conference on Wednesday evening, taking aim at the $36-billion Pacific NorthWest LNG project near Prince Rupert. Richard Wright, a spokesman for the Luutkudziiwus – a group within the Gitxsan Nation – said it was planning to file a court challenge against the proposed Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline project. The pipeline would carry natural gas to the Pacific NorthWest LNG terminal, crossing 34.5 kilometres of territory known as Madii Lii, where a protest camp has been set up for 14 months.”

The Province further explains, “The Luutkudziiwus, a 600-member house of the Gitxsan Nation, plans to file a judicial review in B.C. Supreme Court challenging regulatory permits issued for the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline, a 900-kilometre line that would stretch from Hudson’s Hope in northeast B.C. to the Pacific Northwest LNG plant proposed for Lelu Island on the north coast by an international consortium led by Malaysian energy giant Petronas. But the pipeline’s route will also cross 34 kilometres of the Luutkudziiwus’ traditional territory known as the Madii Lii and carries what the Gitxsan house believes could be a significant environmental risk.”

Lax U’u’la (Lelu Island) is situated about 1,500 kilometres north of Vancouver on the Pacific Coast near Haida Gwaii.

That article adds, “Wright had made the 15-hour drive from his hometown to Vancouver to speak at a rally outside an international LNG conference at the Vancouver Convention Centre Wednesday.” The Council of Canadians helped contribute to the travel costs of the two Madi Lii representatives who were at the protest and a media conference earlier in the day.

Along with Wright, the speakers last night included Audrey Siegl, Musqueam First Nation; Khelsilem Rivers, Squamish Nation; Skwomesh Action; Norman Moore, Noola Hereditary Chief House of Luutkudziiwus of the Gitxsan Nation; Joey Wesley, Gitwilgyoots Tribe of Lax Kw’alaams; Christine Martin, Lax Kw’alaams; Greg Horne, Skeena Watershed Alliance; and Harlold Lavender from Rising Tide – Vancouver Coast Salish Territories.

The Council of Canadians has previously expressed its solidarity with the Gitxsan house group of Luutkudziiwus which has been turning away TransCanada contractors from their Madii Lii territory camp for over a year, preventing them from starting construction on the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline. On October 2, the Council of Canadians Victoria chapter was also at a noise demonstration in Victoria against the Pacific Northwest LNG project. Our chapter made noise outside the Union Club in Victoria to support the Hereditary chiefs as government and industry representatives met inside at an LNG luncheon. Wright and Chief Yahaan Wesley from Lax U’u’la spoke at that protest.

We are opposed to LNG/ fracking projects because they: contribute to climate change; consume massive amounts of water; cause ecosystem destruction and disrupt communities; often violate the rights of Indigenous peoples; mean a high number of LNG tanker ships impacting marine safety, fishing areas and local wildlife; impact air quality, notably the plants emit sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide; require huge amounts of electricity and/or burn natural gas to generate power; could result in a disastrous LNG spill in an ocean passage; and may power destructive projects in other countries.

In May 2014, the Council of Canadians organized a counter-conference and participated in a protest against the second annual ‘International LNG in BC’ conference.

The Pacific Northwest LNG project is scheduled to be operational by 2018.

Further reading
Groups to Make Some Fracking Noise at LNG in BC conference in call for clean energy and protection of wild salmon (October 2015 media release)
Victoria chapter at noise demo against Pacific Northwest LNG terminal (October 2015 blog)
Vancouver forum to challenge corporate-government LNG agenda (May 2014 blog)

Photo of last night’s protest by AJ Klein.