The more I read about B.C. MLA Ellis Ross, the more I am impressed. Talk about someone who speaks truth to power.
Ross, who represents Skeena and lives in Kitimat, is not just any ordinary MLA. He’s also an indigenous leader and a huge supporter of the CoastalGasLink pipeline.
I’ve listened to Ross debate what the pipeline means to indigenous people, particularly to young indigenous people.
He is a powerful debater. He knows his stuff and he’s fearless. Listen to him debate a Ryerson professor here.
I’ve also read his Facebook posts. Again, what he has to say makes so much sense.
“I can guarantee right now that there’s a 14-year-old Aboriginal kid out there taking his first drink of alcohol or sucking on his first joint,” Ross said in a Facebook video.
“He’s on his way to prison. That’s his road map. But I guarantee you those activists who are going to stop development in your territory do not care about that kid. They don’t care if that kid commits suicide.
“But if you save that kid, show that kid there’s a better future out there, get him into a trade, get him into a course, show him a work site, show him there’s a better future in terms of getting a house, a job, going on vacation, buying a truck, then you’ve done your job.”
What makes Ross angry is the role foreign money plays in fomenting the discord.
“(The anti-pipeline protesters) are standing in solidarity with keeping Native people poor,” Ross says, adding it’s American money.
Ross called on Premier John Horgan’s NDP government to ban foreign funding of environmental campaigns condoning illegal blockades in Canada.
The Liberals released documents tracing $4.2 million in funding to B.C. environmental groups.
“It’s been very successful for them, because they actually have Canadians campaigning for the shutdown of our own economy,” Ross says.
We need more indigenous leaders such as Ross speaking out about how economic development, resource development is the key to rescuing indigenous people from a life of poverty.
It’s hard for some, of course. They’re called apples (red on the outside and white on the inside) and sellouts and it takes courage to speak one’s truth.
Ross, fortunately has courage to spare and does not easily suffer fools.