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.

Just Posted

Port Clements gets cell service

Telus built a $500,000 wireless communication site for the remote Haida Gwaii village

Identifying child care space needs on the island

B.C. government is providing a $25,000 grant for more than 70 communities to help improve daycare

Northwest mobile unit to help those at heart of mental health, addiction crisis

Province, Northern Health unveils new unit in Terrace to bridge gaps in services

Sk’aadgaa Naay slips in Fraser Institute elementary school rankings

The school stayed at a rating of 5, but slipped to 694th rank in 2017/18

B.C. First Nations’ intake of essential nutrients to drop by 31 per cent: study

Professors project the nutrient decrease by 2050 if climate change mitigation continues as is

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Story of Wet’suwet’en Chief Alfred Joseph being told

Song of the Earth on Chief Gisday’wa will be launched in Hagwilget

Houston woman gets two years for aggravated assault

Ewald pleads guilty; trial of co-accused Calvin Dyrland begins in Smithers B.C. court

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

Search and rescue team helicopters injured climber from B.C. provincial park

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Trudeau in Vancouver to support Tamara Taggart at Liberal nomination event

The former broadcaster is seeking the nomination for the Vancouver Kingsway riding

Trudeau calls May 6 byelection for B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The riding opened up when Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January

Most Read