Melissa Mbarki is policy analyst and outreach co-ordinator for the Indigenous policy program at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.
When there is foreign interference, especially from high-profile celebrities like Ruffalo, it sets Indigenous communities back
On March 17, actor Mark Ruffalo called on the Royal Bank of Canada to stop financing British Columbia’s Coastal GasLink Pipeline, citing “climate change and First Nation’s rights.” Once again, Indigenous people are being stereotyped as anti-resource, when in fact only a minority hold this position, as evidenced by the fact that all 20 First Nations along the line have approved the project.
The Coastal GasLink Pipeline will transport natural gas to the Douglas Channel near Kitimat, B.C. This coastal port will then transport liquefied natural gas (LNG) to global markets. LNG will replace coal-fired electricity, reducing emissions around the world, which will have a positive effect on the environment.
There is something amiss about Ruffalo, an American actor, trying to stymie Canadian natural gas exports, when his own country is the world’s largest exporter of LNG, exporting an estimated 72-77 million tonnes of LNG per year (mtpa) in 2021.
LNG has facilitated a new generation of Indigenous-led projects in B.C. Cedar LNG (3-4 mtpa), led by the Haisla Nation, and Ksi Lisims LNG (12 mtpa), led by the Nisga’a Nation, are currently under environmental review. These projects are not violating Indigenous rights. In fact, what Ruffalo is doing, is directly violating our right to economic independence and prosperity.