Letter to the Editor: Elected officials shouldn’t be so quick to say ‘No’

I am disappointed at the constant negative commentary by our elected federal and provincial representatives surrounding the PNW LNG project

Editor:

After reading the online opinion piece contributed by our MLA Jennifer Rice: “Empty promises are disappointing, dangerous” (Oct. 12), I feel the need to respond.

I am disappointed at the constant negative commentary by our elected federal and provincial representatives surrounding the Pacific NorthWest LNG project. Ms. Rice claims that if “Provincial government listened to the people who live in the Skeena watershed and North Coast, as well as peer-reviewed science there would be far less opposition and division in relation to this project.”

First of all, there are many in the North Coast, including a good number of elected and hereditary First Nations leaders, and their members, as well as other residents, who have been open to this industry and exploring whether or not it could be done in an environmentally sound manner.

It’s well documented in the media and within the 8,300+ letters received by [environmental assessor] CEAA as part of the environmental review process. In fact, a local First Nations environmental group had this to say late last year after a group of people, including our MP and MLA, signed the Lelu Island Declaration: “We are very disappointed the outside interests that have signed a joint letter opposing the project have not consulted with our Nations nor waited for all the evidence.”

As it turned out, the evidence that they were waiting for included work done by several independent scientists and environmental consultants to verify the findings of the peer-reviewed science mentioned, as well as the modelling work conducted by the proponent. These studies determined that there would be little risk to Flora Bank and/or salmon habitat if the development is constructed as proposed. The constant rhetoric that we have to choose between either salmon or LNG from our elected federal and provincial representatives is getting to be too much. It’s misleading the public.

I understand if people have reservations towards this development but I also think that it’s the responsibility of our elected representatives to ensure that they’re presenting factual and unbiased information to the people they represent. This will allow people to make an informed judgement and not one based on politics, misinformation or emotion.

We need representatives that are not so quick to say no and will at least allow the processes that are in place to occur before passing judgment. Our community, with its social needs and $275 million infrastructure deficit, depends on it.

Ralph Weick

Prince Rupert