B.C. First Nations leaders are urging the provincial and federal governments to shut down construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern B.C. during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu, B.C. Premier John Horgan, and provincial Health Minister Adrian Dix, the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs says continued construction on the controversial project is increasing the risk of transmission.
“B.C. and Canadian health officials have urged the public to stay home….We urge you to tell Coastal GasLink to stay home,” the letter says.
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Under rules invoked by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, construction sites can remain open if proper physical distancing is maintained.
“The expansion of economic enterprises cannot be considered essential when it directly endangers the health and well-being of every one of us,” the letter reads.
“The threat is too great to northern communities, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, whose access to health care and necessary resources for containing COVID-19 are already limited.”
The Union of BC Indian Chiefs is one of many supporters of the Wet’suwet’en Nation’s hereditary chiefs, who oppose the natural gas pipeline because it runs through their traditional lands near Houston, B.C.
Wet’suwet’en elected chiefs, along with 20 other First Nations along the pipeline route, support the project.
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