An open letter to Premier Christy Clark from Chief Councillor Ellis Ross.
March 3, 2016
Attention: Honourable Christy Clark
Dear Premier Clark,
Thank you for offering me your speaking time at yesterday’s meeting of the First Ministers and Aboriginal leaders. I very much appreciate your gesture which symbolizes the respectful political relationship between BC and the Haisla Nation.
Had I been able to speak I would have made the following points – perhaps not new to you or your government but I think important for Canada to understand:
The Haisla people have had a first taste of independence through resource revenues and employment. We were able – ourselves – to cover the gaps in services and needs our people experience. We did not have to ask others for help.
In 2004 we believed we were helping the world move away from dirty fuel to cleaner energy – LNG. This was the information we had and digested at the time. Now some call LNG a transitional or even dirty fuel. Finding accurate, objective, and “agenda-free” information for our people is an ongoing challenge.
Premier Selinger, of Manitoba, made a good point when he said we are not starting from scratch in dealings between First Nations and the provincial and federal governments. In our case the protocol we signed with BC is the foundation for resolving permitting and development decisions in our territory. It gives us a head start to getting things done.
In closing let me say that the Haisla have never been closer to independence. If that day comes it is my view that it came about through prudent economic development facilitated by the provincial government.
Haisla Nation Council
Ellis Ross, Chief Councillor, OBC
Cc: Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau
Minister, John Rustad
Minister, Carolyn Bennett
National Chief, Perry Bellegarde
Regional Chief, Shane Gottfriedson