An anti-pipeline protest was held in Prince Rupert on Jan. 8, coorindated with protests happening across the country in support of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation people opposing the Coastal GasLink pipeline. (Matthew Allen / The Northern View)

In Our Opinion: Pipelines, protests and silent LNG supporters

Canada’s government continues to see fossil fuel projects slip away

A large, funded and organized environmental movement is once again squaring off against the giants of the energy sector in British Columbia.

It seems all too familiar.

A liquefied natural gas (LNG) project gets the green light by the federal and provincial governments — only this time investors agreed to move forward as well. Northern B.C. Indigenous elected band councils along the pipeline route up the to LNG export facility approved of the project after consultations.

Millions in payments, training, jobs and other benefits.

But then resistance raised its head.

Just like Lelu Island, this remote forest service road became Ground Zero for a protest movement against pipelines, fossil fuels and a call for Indigenous rights.

Gitwilgyoots Tribe were the face of Lelu Island’s defence, raising the issue in court that they, the hereditary leaders, not just the elected band council, were to be consulted.

READ MORE: Tribe or band, a judge will decide who represents Lelu

Along a similar vein, Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say the consultation process was flawed, this is their jurisdiction, they will protect the land, an approval from the elected band council isn’t enough. The Unis’tot’en camp wants to stop the construction of the natural gas pipeline planned for the LNG Canada terminal in Kitimat.

Once again, this country grapples with another fossil fuel-driven project on B.C.’s West Coast. Whether it’s pipelines, or megatankers, or a giant export terminal reframing the coastline, there will always be resistance against industry. It’s B.C., a province full of pristine natural beauty — and opportunity.

But opportunities continue to slip away from this government. With the government’s $4.5-billion purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline to ensure its expansion only to be quashed by the courts, the approval then withdrawal of the $36-billion Pacific Northwest LNG project on Lelu Island, and now this.

Despite the very visual and vocal protest against the pipeline, we asked our readers in Canada if they supported the protest against the pipeline. More than 6,000 replied with 65.5 per cent saying “no”.

The silent majority supports Coastal GasLink’s pipeline and the $40-billion LNG Canada project in Kitimat — but it’s the vocal minority that is commanding media and internet attention.

Building a massive, billion-dollar natural gas project to completion on this coast will truly be a clash of titans.

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en strike tentative deal with RCMP allowing access to protect camp

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