In a frame from protesters' video

BC VIEWS: Tree-spikers cling to Lelu Island

Who's behind Prince Rupert anti-LNG protest camp? A father, his son, and their U.S. foundation backers [WITH VIDEO]

Amanda Stanley, “science program officer” for the Seattle-based Wilberforce Foundation, headed up to Prince Rupert a couple of weeks ago to check on one of her projects.

That would be the camp on Lelu Island where a splinter group of Tsimshian tribal members and supporters maintain an effort to blockade and disrupt testing required for an environmental permit application to construct a liquefied natural gas terminal.

Stanley tweeted a picture from the camp, looking past a Mohawk warrior flag at the coastline. “So inspired by these defenders of land, water and salmon,” she wrote.

Wilberforce, the California-based Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Hawaii-based Sustainable Fisheries Partnership and others have poured money into anti-LNG campaigns in B.C., as they funded opposition to oilsands development before them. Indeed, the record suggests the long project to establish what environmental front groups named the Great Bear Rainforest was a strategy to stop hydrocarbon exports from western Canada, even as U.S. sources ramped up production.

So what’s been going on at this “science program” on Lelu Island? Its own multi-media promotion material provides some glimpses, featuring sweeping allegations and efforts to block scientific evaluation with crude threats and intimidation.

A video series called “A Last Stand for Lelu” shows two self-styled warriors confronting drilling vessels. Their RCMP escort boat suggests these ships and habitat study crews had federal permits to conduct testing at the time.

[Watch video below.]

One man, identified as Donald Wesley Jr., walks the island with a rifle over his shoulder. Among his claims is that the drilling isn’t for testing, but is actually the start of construction on the Pacific Northwest LNG terminal, which still awaits a decision from the Trudeau cabinet.

Wesley says that since crews didn’t present permits to him personally, “they’re the radicals. They’re the extremists. They’re the terrorists.”

Then he describes his preparations.

“We have a lot of stuff on the island to keep [away] helicopters and drillers, the geotech drillers that want to come onto the island and start borehole testing,” he says. “We have a lot of spikes put on this island.”

OK, who’s the extremist?

The video series is co-produced by a fellow named Tamo Campos, identified as a representing “Beyond Boarding,” with a link to an expired website.

Campos came to prominence in B.C. protest circles during the recent oil pipeline standoff at Burnaby Mountain. He appeared with his grandfather David Suzuki and other well-known protesters in a carefully choreographed show of entering a court-ordered restraining zone and briefly being arrested.

Again, they were interfering with authorized scientific testing while attempting to create the impression for media of grassroots opposition.

Wesley, his father Donald Wesley Sr. and a supporter from Hartley Bay named Matthew Danes, claim to represent hereditary chiefs. In June, a dozen Tsimshian hereditary chiefs and elders issued a letter stating that Wesley Sr. “took it upon himself to occupy Lelu Island solely on his own accord” and doesn’t represent the community.

“We do not appreciate Mr. Wesley inviting environmental militants and outsiders into our territory without the respect and manners dictated by the protocols of our ayaawyx [laws],” they wrote.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office required Pacific Northwest LNG to consult with five aboriginal communities. The Metlakatla, Kitselas, Kitsumkalum and Gitxaala bands have benefit agreements for the project signed or in progress. The lone holdout, Lax Kw’alaams, elected a new council last fall that embraced the project with conditions.

And 40 Lax Kw’alaams students just graduated from pre-apprentice training sponsored by the provincial and federal governments and the UA Piping Industry College of B.C.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca Twitter: @tomfletcherbc

A LAST STAND FOR LELU – PART 7: Warriors from VoVo Productions on Vimeo.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Accident, downed power lines closes Highway 4 west of Port Alberni

Detour is available near Hector Road as BC Hydro crews work to restore power

Huu-ay-aht First Nations qualify for national wage subsidy

Limited partnership structure caused concern when CEWS was first introduced

ARTS AROUND: Giant Book Sale has new date, new location

Book sale will take place in November at Alberni Athletic Hall

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Yukon writer reads at virtual Alberni Valley Words on Fire

Joanna Lilley will make her appearance on May 27

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Three people facing mischief charges after protests at Premier John Horgan’s home

Special prosecutor was appointed to avoid real or perceived undue influence

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Andrew Weaver says he was ready to defeat John Horgan government

Independent MLA blasts B.C. Greens over LNG opposition

44% fewer passengers flew on Canadian airlines in March 2020 than in 2019

COVID-19 pandemic has hit airlines hard as travel remains low

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

Most Read