As international attention focuses on Thursday's RCMP enforcement of Coastal GasLink's court injunction against those opposed to the project south of Houston, an LNG Canada official says the level of First Nations support for the project is being overshadowed.
Susannah Pierce says several First Nations members -- including members of the Wet'suwet'en -- attended last week's Natural Resources forum in Prince George -- and yet have been largely ignored by the world's media.
"These individuals came down so that they could actually be heard, so they could actually be seen, so that instead of just being up in the communities where the protests and blockades are happening, they wanted to come into a place where they were talking about why natural resource development is important to them, how it can be done safely and sustainably, how they've engaged in the process to get to the conclusions of agreements and signing agreements with the projects," she said.
[Wet'suwet'en LNG supporters rally at Natural Resources Forum in Prince George - Jan 30, 2020]
The Coastal GasLink pipeline is key component of the multi-billion-dollar LNG Canada export terminal being constructed in Kitimat.
Pierce says CGL worked hard to consult with First Nations and to engage with Indigenous communities, to accommodate their concerns and to look for their partnerships in the project.
However, the Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs say the project has failed to obtain their consent, and has no right to go ahead.
Unist'ot'en Healing Centre spokesperson Karla Tait says the RCMP's actions south of Houston were completely unwarranted and illegal.
"It's deeply troubling and concerning that Canada is again choosing to use this level of threat and force to remove us from our land, but we are feeling strong and confident and resolute in our position," she said.