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The Prince George Citizen - 2021-11-25

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Support We’suwet’en protest

OPINION

GERRY CHIDIAC Gerry Chidiac is a Prince George teacher

There is a major issue which is getting surprisingly little coverage in the Canadian media. While we looked away to watch the impact of the climate crisis on farmland in southern British Columbia, 50 heavily armed RCMP constables raided a peaceful blockade in Wet’suwet’en territory in the north of the province. The police used helicopters, canine units and carried assault rifles as they arrested 14 unarmed individuals protesting the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline. If we look more carefully at the courageous efforts of our Wet’suwet’en neighbours, we see that they are part of an enormous global movement to preserve our planet, as well as the desperate attempt of a dying petro-chemical industry to amass as much profit as possible. If we do not heed the warnings of environmentalists, 50 years from now our beautiful Canadian landscape will look like the rustbelt of the northeastern United States, with its closed factories and polluted land and waterways. In fact, 450 000 abandoned oil and gas wells already scar our countryside and will cost Canadian taxpayers billions of dollars to remove. This concern is evidenced in Prince George, where the Lheidli T’enneh are joined by farmers and other residents in making it very clear to the government and investors that they do not want a petro-chemical plant polluting their agricultural land reserve, airshed and watershed. They are very aware that this will lead to a conglomerate of plastics plants spewing toxicity near the residential area of the city. People simply do not want an industry that will be obsolete in the not-so-distant future destroying their community for generations to come. One can expect desperate acts from the oil and gas industry. These are typical of an empire that is coming to an end. They will manipulate individuals, governments, and the courts to enforce their wishes against the will of the people. The truth is, they are breathing their last carcinogenic breath and will be replaced by mid-century. Clean, green energy systems are available. A net carbon neutral environment that will halt the climate catastrophe is possible. We simply need the courage of our Indigenous neighbours as we make this happen.

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