The 4 environmental issues in northwest B.C. every voter should know about – by Matt Simmons (The Narwhal – October 20, 2020)

The Narwhal

As Coastal GasLink workers prepared for test drilling under the Wedzin Kwa river in northwest B.C. while salmon were spawning last week, Wet’suwet’en land defenders gathered in the area to show their opposition to the controversial pipeline that is planned to transport fracked gas across the province to be shipped to Asia.

The workers read the land defenders the B.C. Supreme Court injunction that prohibits them from stopping work along the pipeline right of way. In response, the land defenders re-served the workers with an eviction notice from the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs. The RCMP were called to the site, but no arrests were made.

At a rally in Smithers in support of the land defenders, Gidimt’en Clan spokesperson Jennifer Wickham fought back tears as she said the whole province should know and care about the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which threatens the health of plants, animals and humans.

“It’s just a … devastating time for us right now,” she said. The confrontation put the key election issue in northwest B.C. into sharp focus: how to balance industrial development and environmental protection while respecting Indigenous Rights. The Narwhal spoke with four of the region’s conservation leaders about that balance and the key issues northwest candidates face this election.

The majority of candidates in Northwest B.C.’s ridings — North Coast, Skeena, Stikine and Nechako — either declined interview requests or did not reply by publication time. The ridings are primarily contested by NDP and Liberal candidates and there are no Green candidates.

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