Protests in support of the Wet’suwet’en who oppose the Coastal GasLink pipeline are having a rippling effect, said Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty.
“The majority of the protests have nothing to do with the Wet’suwet’en people but are there to cause disruption,” he told the Tribune Thursday.
Reconciliation, he added, is about moving forward together.
“I think allowing this group of professional activists to really disrupt us is doing a disservice to reconciliation.”
Since the arrest of people by RCMP enforcing an injunction at Wet’suwet’en anti-pipeline camps, protests have erupted across B.C. and other areas of Canada showing solidarity for the pipeline opposition.
An Angus Reid Institute poll released Thursday found that 51 per cent of Canadians support the natural gas pipeline being built while 39 per cent support the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs that are opposed and 63 per cent believe there needs to be more consultation.
Doherty said Canada needs to listen and support the real voices of the Wet’suwet’en — the ones who voted in favour of this project.
“They are afraid to come forward and publicly voice their support for the project because they are being bullied and harassed.”
Doherty shared his concerns in a Facebook video Tuesday evening featuring three Wet’suwet’en people, including a hereditary chief, speaking out in favour of the pipeline project.
“Consultation took place,” Doherty said. “There was five or six years of consultation. They walked the land, 85 per cent of Wet’suwet’en signed on, 20 First Nations signed on to lift their communities up.”
Doherty said what started out with a ‘small group’ of activists has now stretched across the country.
“I’m hearing from shippers who have lost tens of millions at this point. They are in a crisis mode and unable to meet contract demands with customers.”
The situation is impacting all Canadians — whether they are Indigenous or not, he added. It is having an impact on Canada’s global reputation as a safe country to do business with, Doherty said.