March 18 was a very good day for Prince Rupert and northwest B.C.
Only a short time ago, Nathan Cullen and Jennifer Rice were proudly thumping the table saying the Pacific Northwest LNG project would take place over their dead bodies, blue “No LNG” T-shirts were showing up in inappropriate settings and too many were paying too much heed to the person behind a megaphone.
After far too long, some good news began to trickle in.
Earlier this month, the Metlakatla joined the growing majority of First Nation supporters for LNG projects on the North Coast and then the province stepped up and kicked in $9 million in skills training for Tsimshian.
But then came Friday, March 18.
The B.C. government announced $2 million over three years in a skills training project to support Aboriginal people in urban communities in northern B.C. The project will be administered by the B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres as part of the association’s Five by Five Aboriginal Jobs Strategy.
The target population for the project includes urban, off-reserve Aboriginal individuals in Prince Rupert, Prince George, Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, Fort Nelson, Terrace and Smithers, including members of surrounding First Nations who live or access resources off-reserve.
And then even better news.
Friday morning The Northern View broke the story after learning the Lax Kw’alaams had rescinded their letter of opposition to the Pacific Northwest LNG project on Lelu Island after community discussion.
Granted, their support is conditional, but it is, at face value, relatively reasonable conditions. But moreover, a huge step forward for the socio-economic rehabilitation of the North Coast.
While that in and of itself was a bombshell, that very same day Nathan Cullen went on the record in a letter to the editor to the Northern View (See Page A7) saying he was in favour of the Kitimat LNG projects and willing to work to make Pacific Northwest LNG work as well.
One doesn’t need to read between the lines. Cullen has plain come out — in writing — in support of LNG on the North Coast despite having to throw in a few words of support for his far-left wing.
After a major pro-LNG rally in Terrace, of which Cullen notes, the growing support of First Nation after First Nation, the real dollars are finally being funnelled into our neck of the woods by the provincial government, he is beginning to see the way the political wind is blowing in northwest B.C.
The message is becoming clear — Northwest B.C. wants LNG.