“You don’t speak for me,” says Crystal Smith, a chief counsellor of the Haisla nation of Kitimat.
She knows that many in the native nations live in a state of poverty and lack of economic opportunity.
She also knows that the benefits of the pipeline project will help make her nation become independent, powerful, and prosperous.
There’s $620 million in contracts to indigenous contractors and businesses.
There’s $400 million set aside for payment to indigenous employees.
Another $10 million per year will go to each indigenous community the pipeline passes through, and a further $10 million each year the pipeline operates.
Can you imagine how an influx of $10 million dollars per year will help these people?
Five chiefs are standing in the way of this windfall for our indigenous brothers.
Five men who believe themselves to have complete control over a huge territory.
One recently claimed that the CN Railway was trespassing on their land.
Are the numerous folk who have farms, ranches, houses, also trespassing on their land?
Do they really have the best interests of their fellow band members in their hearts?
The majority of the indigenous people of this territory want the pipeline project to go ahead.
In Canada, we believe in rule by majority.
These five chiefs do not! They want to be rulers.
Let us hope that common sense will eventually prevail. Too many people are being hurt.
Les McMillan, Maple Ridge
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