The Haisla Nation sees a different future with LNG than the Sierra Club

The Haisla Nation sees a different future with LNG than the Sierra Club

The op-ed fails to address any of the issues faced by First Nations

Dear Editor,

Just recently the Sierra Club of B.C. wrote in the Times Colonist in Victoria that the government should not be pursuing an LNG industry and that other industries, for example tourism, can provide benefits for the province.

The op-ed, however, fails to address any of the issues faced by First Nations in northern B.C. Of the $4.5 billion in wages cited as what the tourism sector generated in B.C. in 2015, referred to by the Sierra Club, very little is received by members of the Haisla Nation.

Before the Sierra Club writes any more about LNG in B.C., I invite them to spend time with the many First Nations who support LNG development.

The Haisla have worked closely with LNG Canada, a proposed LNG export project that would be located in our traditional territory. We have spent a significant amount of time participating in an Environmental Assessment review process to ensure our concerns about the land we live on and the waters that surround our village would be protected.

We are satisfied that LNG Canada has designed its project to address our concerns, and in the process, will operate with the lowest GHG emissions of any large-scale LNG project in the world today.

The Haisla Nation sees a different future with LNG than the Sierra Club; we see significant employment for our members, access to educational opportunities and a way forward for a truly independent nation.

Environmental groups should remember to take into account Aboriginal rights and title, the relationship we have with the land and water resources and our interest in building a future for our people.

We know exactly what we need – the ability to govern ourselves, take care of our families, and ensure our young people have the kind of opportunities that allow them to remain in our community and become self-supporting.

What we need are well-paying jobs and economic development opportunities, so we can dramatically reduce unemployment.

LNG development has offered that path for the Haisla Nation.

Sincerely,

Crystal Smith

Chief Councillor

Haisla Nation Council