Kristine Wickner and the local BC NDP are right in criticizing the B.C. government for promoting new fossil fuel development in a time of climate emergency, and trashing Indigenous rights in the process (letter Dec. 22).
In the past few months, B.C. has suffered a devastating string of climate change impacts. The deep human, economic and ecological damage from these climate events underscores the need for urgent, emergency-level climate action, beginning with an immediate move away from fossil fuels in the province.
Yet the B.C. government continues to promote the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which would carry fracked gas from Northeastern B.C. to an export terminal at Kitimat.
Fracked gas is essentially methane, which is 84 times more potent a climate change driver than carbon dioxide over a 20- year period. Not only is the pipeline environmentally reckless and out of line with the Paris Climate Agreement, it also violates Indigenous rights.
Coastal GasLink is being built on unceded Wet’suwet’en territory, despite strong opposition from Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs. In November, while public attention was focused on the climate-induced storms and flooding, the B.C. government authorized the RCMP to carry out militarized raids on unarmed Wet’suwet’en land defenders.
The raids violated the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which says Indigenous people must give free, prior and informed consent before approval of any project affecting their territories. The raids also ignored a 1997 Supreme Court of Canada ruling, which affirmed that the Wet’suwet’en House Chiefs have full jurisdiction over their territory.
Promoting fossil fuel development in a climate emergency and trashing Indigenous rights in the process does not reflect the kind of government B.C. citizens want or deserve. Those who agree might want to write Premier Horgan and tell him so: Premier@gov.bc.ca
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