Head of First Nations LNG Alliance Calls for Wet'suwet'en Unity on Pipeline Project

John Crawford

A former chief councillor of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation says cooperation between the elected leaders and hereditary chiefs of her nation is broken -- and it needs to be repaired.

Karen Ogen-Toews is currently the CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance, which held a gathering yesterday in Prince Rupert.

She says while members of the Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs continue efforts to halt construction of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline, the elected band council has signed agreements with the pipeline's builder -- TransCanada Corporation -- which she says will provide employment opportunities for First Nations all along the pipeline route.


Ogen-Toews says she wishes the Wet'suwet'en could follow the example of the Gitxaala First Nation, where the elected and hereditary chiefs are working together for their people. 

Haisla Chief Councillor Crystal Smith told the Prince Rupert gathering that First Nations in BC have a historic opportunity to re-instill their economy of their past and bring it into a modrn context -- an opportunity she says that comes from the development of the LNG industry.

On Monday, after a court injunction ordered an end to a blockade by the Unist'ot'en clan, the Hereditary Chiefs set up a new checkpoint barricade on the same road, just outside the injunction zone.

The Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs say the Coastal GasLink project will cause irreparable harm to their territories, and have set up a new barricade along the Morice Forest Service Road, just outside a zone covered by a BC Supreme Court injunction.

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