The Woodfibre liquefied natural gas (LNG) development may not be quite the done deal that British Columbia Premier Christy Clark claimed it was when she announced a final project agreement in November, just hours ahead of her party’s provincial convention.
It now turns out that the Squamish Nation band council skipped the announcement because it didn’t consider that negotiations had concluded.
“The Squamish Nation chose not to participate in the announcement that would frame this project as a green light due to the fact that we’re simply not there,” Chief Ian Campbell, the community’s hereditary leader, elected councillor and political spokesperson, told The Tyee. “To be candid, it’s misleading, and it’s not fully respecting the Squamish Nation’s process or our authority to work with the province.”
The community member who attended the media announcement—and was visible over Clark’s shoulder as she spoke—runs a small local cleaning company that has worked for Woodfibre LNG. She said she had no idea the premier would be onsite, and was rushed to the front of the photo op at the last minute, reports correspondent Mychaylo Prystupa.
“I think Christy Clark really likes to put on a hard hat,” said Tracey Saxby, spokesperson for My Sea to Sky, an anti-LNG citizens’ group. “But that’s all it is. This was a total PR set-up. It was a dog and pony show that was put on for the media.”
The Squamish Nation’s absence was particularly significant because the company had committed to work within the environmental and economic conditions the community set out for the project. When Prystupa asked the premier’s office why Clark announced the deal without a band representative present, he was referred to the provincial Ministry of Natural Gas Development. The Ministry passed him on to Woodfibre, which did not respond to requests for comment.