An open letter to First Nations leaders who oppose the Northern Gateway Pipeline:
Let’s get one thing straight: I am a status Aboriginal, I support the Northern Gateway Pipeline, and I am certain that opposition to this project can only harm our people and culture.
You may call me what you wish – a red apple, a sellout, a white washed native. But the fact of the matter is it is you, not me, who have forgotten the basis of our relationship with the Canadian people: trade.
Some of you might argue that you are looking to trade land usage rights for cash. But the ultimatums you have shouted in the press show that this is a trade made in bad faith, and you would be liars to not admit it. No, unlike you, I am willing to trade in an honest manner. The governments of Canada and British Columbia have set aside hundreds of thousands of dollars for those of us aboriginals who are willing to go to school and gain the skills needed in a resource-based economy. Thus, I have committed to complete a program at the College of New Caledonia, and to stick out my trade for a number of years; in return both governments have promised substantial incentives and scholarships. That is the very definition of fair trade.
Why can’t we just shut up and take their money? What are we so afraid of? Honest work makes for honest people, and with these kinds of incentives, only a fool would turn them down.
Don’t any of you understand that our people have suffered long enough from poverty, and the social ills it causes? The flipside of the reconciliation and apologies that Canada has offered to our people for its past offences is that our people no longer have to live in victimhood. We can now join as full partners in Confederation with an incredible amount of resources just a click or phone call away.
We just need to seize the moment.