At its meeting on February 18, Gibsons Council reiterated its support for the BC Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. Council called for respect of the rights in that Act and the rule of law to negotiate an end to nation wide disputes related to the position of hereditary Chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation regarding the Coastal GasLink project.
The resolution on this matter was brought forward by Youth Councillor Eilis Mackenzie. “Everyone wants to see a peaceful and respectful negotiation to end the situation. We can’t sweep under the rug the fact that government is not respecting these Indigenous peoples. It’s not okay. It should not be ignored or go unnoticed,” said Mackenzie.
Mayor Bill Beamish noted that there have been peaceful protests related to the dispute in Gibsons. He reported that he had been advised of disrespectful behaviour directed towards those protestors by members of the public. He asked the community to put an end to such acts of intolerance. “It is our responsibility and duty to do that,” said Beamish.
Maia Gabriel, who spearheaded the local information picket campaign in support of the position of the traditional Chiefs, was in the audience at the meeting. She thanked Council for taking action and asked local government to do more to discourage racism in the community. Gibsons will be forwarding its resolution on the matter to all other Coast local governments and First Nations for information and consideration.