Letter: Pipeline an election issue

Dear Editor,

I would like to respond to Langley City MLA Mary Polak’s letter to the Langley Advance dated Jan. 25.

To iterate and clarify for MLA Polak, I would first like to address her assertion that the pipeline approval was based on federal laws that are enshrined in the Constitution.

I have never seen anything with regards to pipeline approvals written into the constitutional rights of peoples in Canada. So I am wondering where a legislator of laws in an unceded electoral district comes up with such an answer?

I will call the minister out on her flagrant misuse of facts. How disrespectful of her to embarrass the people who have supported her assent into provincial politics. She makes her voters look just as hackneyed as she appears to the rest of us. Too bad for all of us.

Secondly, her assertion that the National Energy Board had to adhere to 157 legally binding conditions that were designed by oil industry legal teams, and then approved by an NEB panel which coincidentally was heavily laden with oil industry executives and paid science professionals.

At no time was there ever any satisfactory critical oversight by a very vocal and deeply concerned public and global scientific community. The claim that Mary Polak makes that Indigenous groups were adequately consulted and informed is also not factual, as members of my community and many other Indigenous communities were barred from ever entering NEB hearings and faced the threat of armed RCMP, CSIS, and private oil company security. We faced threats of arrests and criminalization by order of your B.C. government. That is hardly what I would call fair, reasoned, and informed consent. In fact it’s quite the opposite. You should be ashamed of your conduct and we will see to it you never get re-elected.

Thirdly, I remember when you were the Minister of Forestry and you came to the Kwantlen Nation to sign an agreement with our respected Chief Marilyn Gabriel, and our respected council. We gifted you with a sacred blanket and scarf which you graciously accepted as we upheld or ancient and unrelinquishable ceremony that requires reciprocity in dignity and respect from our government to yours. You have broken and disrespected these covenants.

I am not a chief or a council member of my nation. But I do come from a long line of respected and humble leaders, and I am just like them – we never back down from a fight, and we are happy to remove any shred of respect we have left for you, which includes your counterpart who is the MLA for Fort Langley-Aldergrove, and your visionless Premier.

Finally, I can understand why you cannot fathom the idea of putting the environment before the economy. So let me iterate this to you: you are not only forsaking the environment in the name of a moribund oil industry, but you are also flagrantly disrespecting basic concepts of civil rights, and human rights, and you can’t issue statements that iterate that you are constitutionally within your means to carry out your enterprise, because if you are than your government would not have to resort to armed security when peaceful dissent occurs and questions the validity of your political lies. Nobody believes you.

So let me appeal to those who continually vote for you and let them know that their neighbours with any good sense of economics has enough imagination and is intelligent enough to deduce a sham when they one. Elementary and secondary aged children and youth can even see past your tactics. The whole community is watching you make a catastrophic mess of a legislative and democratic process that is at risk of being hijacked by an American oil company.

If you don’t change your mind this coming provincial election – that is okay by us. It’s your right to exercise willful ignorance.

We have not included you in the vision of our future that is heavily laden with a healthy respect for equality and real respect for the power of the people. The future starts today.

Brandon Gabriel (Kwelexwecten),

Kwantlen First Nation