For those of us who care about civil society — the ability of people to come together to defend their interests and promote a fair, just and equitable vision for their community — the news about recent events on Haida Gwaii is inspirational. The people of Haida Gwaii – workers, residents, First Nations – are saying enough is enough. They’re not going along with a continuation of resource exploitation that profits private corporations and benefits no-one locally.
For resource companies like Weyerhaeuser/Brascan, and for the Liberal government, the actions on Haida Gwaii are their worst nightmare. Combined community and First Nation efforts to oust unsustainable corporations out of their territory, think of the impact if this expands.
Given that most resources is being extracted from rural communities in order to enrich regional centers and the lower mainland, along with corporate and governement coffers, success by the coalition in the Queen Charlotte Islands doesn’t bode well.
Although the growing opposition of the Haida and local residents has received modest media coverage, what hasn’t been covered is the growing trend of First Nations’ throughout BC taking to the roads and the streets to protest resource issues.
Why hasn’t someone covered the link between the actions on Haida Gwaii, the moratorium on resource activities imposed by Elders occupying the Tahltan Band office, Shell’s decision to shut down their coalbed methane operations in Klappan because of Tahltan opposition, the blockade by the Tsawataineuk First Nation against Interfor in Kingcome Inlet, four nations opposition Northgate’s proposal to infill Duncan Lake in order to expand Kemess North mine, the Hupacasath challenge of the Minister’s decision to privatize 70,000 in Weyerhaeuser’s tree farm licence, the Heiltsuk’s announcement of their intent to blockade commercial herring fishery, etc, etc, etc.
Sounds like the trend of native/community unrest is growing. Sounds like the BC government propaganda that it has taken significant steps to resolved on-going land and resource disputes is just that, propaganda.
Unfortunately, for the Liberal this couldn’t happen at a worst time–election time. I wonder how the Liberal Party’s “don’t worry, good economy” platform is going to play as the battle for resources expands in communities throughout BC?