As a gas pipeline protest camp continued to grow in front of the B.C. legislature Wednesday, Skeena MLA Ellis Ross called on the NDP government to end a “coordinated assault on the Canadian economy” financed by U.S. charitable foundations.
The B.C. Liberal opposition compiled contributions to protest groups including the Wilderness Committee, Sierra Club B.C., West Coast Environmental Law, Dogwood B.C. and Stand.Earth (formerly ForestEthics), questioning the NDP government as police began dealing with railway and roadblocks opposing the Coastal GasLink pipeline project in northern B.C.
Ross has been a vocal critic of efforts to stop the LNG Canada natural gas export facility under construction at Kitimat, where Ross worked on the proposal as chief of the Haisla Nation before being elected MLA for the region.
“The Haisla Nation chief and council have been working hard for 15 years to bring an end to the social issues that plague not only our own band but bands all across B.C. and Canada,” Ross told the legislature. “We’ve been successful over the last 15 years. Through hard work, we now have jobs. We have training programs. And we have taken the real first steps 15 years ago to break the cycle of poverty. But now you see these groups, funded by American money, coming in and trying to tell my people that they’re ignorant and don’t know what’s best for them.”
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, whose government created tax incentives to proceed with Coastal GasLink and LNG Canada, said all NDP MLAs oppose illegal protests, such as the blocking of tracks that has paralyzed rail traffic across the country.
“We completely reject foreign interference in the affairs of British Columbia, whether it be through money or otherwise,” Farnworth said.
The B.C. Liberals released totals gleaned from U.S. tax documents, showing that that five American-based organizations “have funnelled at least $4,218,311 to six Canadian groups.” Records up to 2017 detail payments from the Tides Foundation, Wilberforce Foundation, Bullitt Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.