Why do we choose to ignore the voices of indigenous people who support resource development?

Hereditary chiefs in opposition to resource development stand in opposition to elected chiefs who are in favor of development.

In Canada, the public has selective hearing. People choose what to believe even if the facts run counter to those beliefs.

For example, few people know, let alone understand, the devastating effect the Trudeau government’s decision to cancel the Northern Gateway pipeline in 2017 had on indigenous communities.

What they think they know comes comes watching the CBC and other racist organizations.

As far as the public was concerned, the cancellation of Northern Gateway was a victory of indigenous peoples.

“Between on-the-ground opposition and the federal government’s promises to keep B.C.’s North Coast tanker free and demonstrate climate leadership, this pipeline is never getting built,” Ecojustice lawyer Barry Robinson.

Those are the views I see on Twitter and other social media all the time. They usually come form young, urban indigenous people who have embraced racial and radical views.

What the public doesn’t know is that the cancellation dealt numerous native communities a horrendous blow.

How many Canadians know, for example, that a group of 31 First Nation and Metis communities had an ownership stake in the pipeline?

How many Canadians know that the pipeline would have generated $2 billion worth of economic benefits for those communities – jobs, native run businesses, additional training?

Very few, I would guess, because if the true extent of the damage being done to indigenous people from NOT developing our resources were known, there would be a national uprising.

The truth is that resource development holds the key to lifting native peoples out of poverty and allowing them to be full participants in the economic development of the country.

That’s the principal reason the National Coalition of Chiefs was formed.

The organization represented chiefs who are pro-development and understand full well the issues facing their people.

What we hear too often on the CBC, though, is that this or that native group is opposed to resource development.

We rarely hear about the silent majority who support resource development.

That is the tragedy of Canadian journalism such as it is. The stories we do see are those that perpetuate a false narrative.

It needs to end.

There is simply too much at stake. In the coming years, there could be as much as $400 billion in resource projects if federal and provincial governments do not intervene.

Indigenous communities cannot be denied opportunities for enrichment because of radical minorities.

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