On Facebook, West Moberly First Nations Chief Roland Willson Nation posted a few pictures taken from the air near Fort St. John. Chief Willson added this comment:
People ask why and how did Blueberry First Nation win there Cumulative Impacts case against BC! Things that make u go HMMM!
The Narwhal reported on settlement of the cumulative actions lawsuit against the province of British Columbia.
Blueberry River First Nations signed an agreement with British Columbia Thursday, outlining first steps toward healing the land and restoring the nations’ ability to exercise its Treaty 8 Rights, which the province breached by permitting and encouraging industrial development on a vast scale, according to a B.C. Supreme Court ruling in June.
…The agreement includes a provincial commitment to provide $65 million in funding to Blueberry River First Nations for habitat restoration and cultural initiatives in the nation’s 38,300 square kilometres of territory. Projects include land, river, wetland, road and seismic line restoration.
As The Narwhal recently reported, Blueberry territory is fragmented by more than 110,000 linear kilometres of roads, pipelines and transmission and seismic lines. The funding is also aimed at supporting Blueberry River First Nations cultural restoration, such as education, language and development of traplines, cabins and trails.
Of course, cost of this settlement is just another hidden subsidy to the oil and gas industry. This sector is viewed by politicians as the most important even though it provides a tiny percentage of jobs in BC even though oil and gas extraction provides 0.18% of the province’s employment.
Last year, Marc Lee wrote Fracking in BC’s northeast. It shows oil and gas production is more important than food production.
Farmers cannot say no to exploration on their land and to eventual development through the installation of new roads, pipelines, fracking sites, compressor stations, processing facilities and water hubs….
Farmers, it turns out, have less control over their land than they had thought. They own the surface for agriculture, but the mineral rights below have been sold elsewhere. The companies have their own right to access the land to exercise their claims. For each quarter-section of land (160 acres) oil and gas companies can take over up to 40 acres (25%) for their purposes.
Both farmers noted that their land is part of BC’s Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), and it cannot be subdivided for agriculture. But oil and gas development overrides the ALR and companies can subdivide the land for their purposes.
British Columbia’s government treat coal miners with the same helpful attitudes. From The Narwhal, Teck Resources, B.C. government pressed Ottawa to resist investigation into coal mine pollution
Internal documents show the B.C. government and mining giant Teck Resources quietly lobbied senior federal officials to quash a potential Canada-U.S. inquiry into transboundary water pollution from Teck’s coal mines in southeast B.C.
A February 2022 document prepared for senior provincial officials states “B.C. remains opposed” to the possibility of an inquiry into the extensive contamination.
Teck operates four active mines in the Elk Valley, which produce metallurgical coal used in the steel-making process. The mines are upstream of the Fording and Elk Rivers, whose waters ultimately flow into the United States. For decades, selenium, an element that can cause deformities and impede reproduction in fish and other wildlife, has leached from the enormous piles of waste rock left over after the coal has been stripped and shipped away. Government inspection records from last year show selenium concentrations more than 100 times higher than levels considered safe for aquatic life have been detected in the Fording River, downstream of two of Teck’s mines.
Coal mining in the province’s southeast affects Indigenous people of the the transboundary Ktunaxa Nation. John Horgan’s NDP promised “transformative change in the relationship with Indigenous Peoples.”
As pictures on this page show, transformative change to their traditional territories is exactly what Indigenous people are getting.
It appears that David Eby will follow John Horgan’s lead by treating a handful of First Nations people as convenient PR props in photo ops.