First Nation leadership repudiates BC Minister Coleman's misleading statement of First Nation support for PNW LNG project

News Release

News Release

 For Immediate Release

First Nations leaders have rejected BC Minister of Natural Gas Development Rich Coleman's recent comments that the BC Government has the full support of First Nations impacted by the Petronas LNG project proposed for Lelu Island.

Faced with a further three month delay mandated by Federal Environment Minister McKenna, BC government officials flew to Ottawa earlier this week in a desperate attempt to convince the Federal government to ignore the clear commitments Prime Minister Trudeau made to combat climate change, reduction of green house gas emissions, make decisions informed by credible science, and rebuild the fractured relationship with First Nations. In a misleading Facebook post referring to the Ottawa trip, Coleman stated that the project "has the backing of local communities and conditional support of First Nations along the entire natural gas pipeline route and at the terminal site."

Coleman's comment drew immediate criticism from local and regional First Nation leaders in BC.

"Our community voted unanimously to reject Petronas’s proposed LNG project on Lelu Island, inclusive of the $1 Billion attached offer.  Clearly, the Hereditary Chiefs are the proper title holders to all parts of our territory such as Lelu Island.  In this regard, Band Councils do not have any jurisdictional authority.  Our Mayor, John Helin, never held a community-wide meeting to secure a proper political mandate to write the highly questionable letter to CEAA which purported to offer qualified conditional support for the LNG project on Lelu Island.  We have been betrayed by our elected leader. "

- Hereditary Chief Yahaan (Donald Wesley), of the Gitwilgyoots Tribe of the Lax Kw'alaams 

"First Nations leaders from the entire Skeena river are standing together in opposition to this project. Upriver First Nations have been side-lined in the environmental assessment of this project all along, and we are standing firm against it. Over 130 of the most respected Canadian and International scientists said last week that this project poses grave risk to our wild salmon, and endorsed the independent science that was ignored in the CEAA process. We cannot allow this project to happen as it is proposed."

- Chief Glen Williams, President of the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs Office

"We do not support the PNW LNG project, nor have we been properly consulted by the BC government, which seems more intent on ramming this project through than respecting the First Nations, our hereditary leadership and the health of the Skeena salmon we all depend on.  Once again First Nations are being forced to take action because the government refuses to obey the laws of the land. We are salmon people and if we don't defend Flora Bank, there will be no protection for our salmon. The salmon is who we are, and without them we lose our identity and our future." 

- Chief Na’Moks (John Ridsdale), Office of the Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs

 "The entire world, including Petronas and its international investors, the Malaysian Government, the BC Government, and Prime Minister Trudeau's Liberal Government, are aware of the deeply entrenched, extensive and broad Indigenous opposition to the proposed PNW LNG project.  These well briefed and extensively informed parties can no longer pretend that this is not a significant factor in deciding if the project goes ahead, in addition to the massive detrimental impacts to the environment, critically delicate salmon sustaining habitat and the undeniable fizzling market demand for LNG."

- Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs 

For media contact: 

Hereditary Chief Yahaan (Donald Wesley), Gitwilgyoots Tribe of the Lax Kw'alaams - 250 625 3359

Chief Glen Williams, President of the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs Office -  250 615 9597

Chief Na'Moks (John Risdale), Wet'suwet'en Nation: 250-643-0771

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs - 250 490 5314