Shocked local MLA joins cry against activist agenda
Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka (BC Liberals) says he is shocked by the hypocrisy of the NDP provincial caucus publicly declaring support for the Unist’ot’en LNG pipeline blockade camp in northern British Columbia.
“This is very big news for British Columbia,” Shypitka said of the protest that has resulted in a blockade camp near Smithers by the Wet’suwet’en First Nation. He singled out Stikine MLA and Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Doug Donaldson.
“Minister Doug Donaldson is supporting this illegal blockade. What is more shocking is it is this very Minister’s office that issued the permits for this Trans Canada LNG pipeline project,” he said.
Skeena MLA Ellis Ross agrees.
“Despite the courts ruling this blockade is illegal, Minister Donaldson visited the protest camp this weekend to show his support. This is a man elected to serve all British Columbians rather than his own personal interests. By going to the camp to stand with protestors, Donaldson is showing the thousands of hard-working families in northern B.C. and the First Nations who have signed agreements for economic development that he doesn’t care about them or their ability to provide for themselves.”
The nation’s elected leaders signed a benefits agreement with the province in 2014.
“The NDP needs to be supporting the province and the agreements in place with First Nations elected officials, not creating more confusion,” added Ross, who is the former Chief Councillor for the Haisla Nation in Kitimat. “First Nations communities across B.C. want economic development to address poverty and other issues, that’s why this project has the support of every elected band council along the route. What we keep seeing here are NDP ministers ignoring First Nations elected officials, because these communities don’t support the NDP activist agenda.”
The protest camp is located in the constituency of Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad, who is concerned that Donaldson’s ability to approve resource development permits in B.C. has been compromised by his continual habit of siding with protestors.
“As a member of government, Doug Donaldson promised to uphold the law in B.C., yet this weekend he chose to side with protestors who are breaking the law,” said Rustad. “Donaldson needs to figure out if he is a minister or an activist. British Columbians deserve better than this from the NDP.”
Shypitka said Donaldson’s stand doesn’t make much sense for a cabinet minister.
“This is a minister who must decide if he is a Minister of the Crown or an activist. This minister needs to be working for all British Columbians and all the 20 elected First Nation bands along the route from Dawson Creek to Kitimat that have signed benefit agreements,” he concluded.