Saanich Coun. Nathalie Chambers sees postponed discussion on her motion asking Saanich council to consider making a declaration of solidarity with Wet’suwet’en as an opportunity to build support. (Black Press Media file photo)

Motion for Saanich to stand with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in pipeline debate postponed

One week delay provides more time to build community support, councillor says

  • Feb. 27, 2020 12:00 a.m.

Coun. Nathalie Chambers is choosing to look at the postponement of her motion for Saanich to stand in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people who oppose the Coastal GasLink pipeline as a chance to garner support.

Chambers’ motion was one of many agenda items postponed during the Feb. 24 council meeting that was dominated by public input on various agenda items.

Chambers duplicated the motion put forward by Victoria Couns. Ben Isitt, Sharmarke Dubow and Sarah Potts in January.

The motion – which passed in Victoria with one person opposed – asks council to call on the provincial and federal governments to halt construction of the 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline set to run from northeastern B.C. to Kitimat, take part in “good-faith consultation with the Wet’suwet’en People” and end attempts to forcibly remove them from their traditional territories.

While several members of the public indicated support during the council meeting, one resident pointed out that the motion is based on personal ideology and is not a municipal matter.

Chambers disagrees; she feels that protection of the environment and responsible land use are relevant to Saanich. Local government should set an example for the provincial governments and adhere to “best practices” as laid out by the United Nations, she said.

Upon reaching the four-hour mark, council agreed to end the meeting and address the remaining agenda items at the next scheduled meeting on March 2.

Chambers remains hopeful that a fellow councillors will come forward to second her motion and that Saanich will be the second Greater Victoria municipality to make a declaration of support for the Wet’suwet’en people.


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