With a federal decision on Northern Gateway imminent, this vote in Kitimat sets the tone. If the Canadian government supports the project, Premier Christy Clark will be facing a challenge to similar to the one Kitimat's leadership stared down on Monday night.
The Haisla First Nation live in one of the most beautiful spots on Earth, on the west coast near the aluminum town of Kitimat. The town's massive smelter has long been a sore spot among the Haisla, dropped into their traditional territory in the pro-development 1950 without consultation or substantial compensation. Now, the Haisla find themselves on the front lines of one of the most important Canadian environmental and development debates of the 21st century, but they are no longer the powerless victims of a half century ago. If Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline proceeds, it will terminate on Haisla territory.
My community that lives in the Kitimat Village's decision to support natural gas development and oppose a tar sands pipeline is a considered and informed. It is consistent with our ancestral responsibilities as First Nations who have never surrendered title to these lands.