Coastal GasLink protests hold back Haisla Nation: Chief Councillor Crystal Smith

The arrival of LNG projects has been ‘transformational’ for the community

By CEC Staff
Crystal Smith is Chief Councillor of the Haisla Nation in the Kitimat region of British Columbia. Photo courtesy Haisla Nation

Witnessing escalating protests against the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern B.C., Haisla Nation Chief Councillor Crystal Smith is hoping for a peaceful resolution that brings understanding to what is at stake for her community as well as others.

The LNG Canada project that will be served by Coastal GasLink is located in Haisla Nation territory, and the project’s relationships with the community are having “transformational” benefits, Smith says.

Coastal GasLink will also serve the proposed Cedar LNG project, which the Haisla Nation holds about 50 per cent stake in with partner Pembina Pipeline Corporation.

Smith offered this statement responding to Coastal GasLink protests, originally posted on the Haisla Nation’s website:

“Haisla Nation Council join our membership in closely watching the events as they unfold on the Coastal GasLink pipeline route.

This is not a statement of how another Nation should resolve their own internal issues; we have always said that is up to a Nation on its own.

We do hope, however, for a peaceful resolution to what is taking place, and one that brings understanding to everyone for what is really at stake.

As a Nation, we support LNG development as a means of supporting our Nation’s financial, educational and social development. This support includes LNG Canada, the Cedar LNG Project and the related Coastal GasLink pipeline. Our Nation’s members have voted in the past directly in support of LNG development as well.

I had the pleasure of touring the LNG Canada site this week, and here’s what I witnessed: joint venture businesses of Haisla and many neighbouring First Nations, operating on the site and employing our people and the people of our neighbour First Nations in valuable work.

Because of our agreements with LNG Canada, the Coastal GasLink pipeline and related partnerships, Haisla Nation Council has been able to offer many services to our members including skills training and education, and fostering the growth and fluency of our culture and language.

The arrival of LNG projects has been transformational for the Haisla Nation. The stakeholders of these projects have, in our view, truly recognized First Nations as crucial participants to development. We have ‘a share and a say’ – a dream past Haisla leaders held, which is being realized today.

Haisla Nation Council has supported the development of LNG projects for years, and any attempts to hold back these projects and their pipelines, holds our Nation back too.

I know I speak for all of our membership when I say we hope for a peaceful resolution to what is taking place on the Coastal GasLink pipeline route.