U.N. racism committee unaware most First Nations support pipeline
A Canadian First Nations chief is slamming a recent directive from a United Nations anti-racism committee after the organization called for the shutdown of an Indigenous-backed pipeline only to later admit that it did not seek Aboriginal views toward the project.
Haisla Nation Chief Crystal Smith, whose community has signed a community benefit agreement with Coastal, told the National Post, “I frankly find it condescending to the work the 20 nations have done in the past six or seven years to get the project to where it is today.”
In December, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) released a directive calling for three large-scale natural resource projects in British Columbia to be “immediately” shut down, including the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline that would feed into a massive export facility along the West coast. The project has signed benefit agreements with 20 Indigenous communities along its 670-kilometre route.
But in an interview with Reuters published Thursday, CERD chair Noureddine Amir admitted that the committee did not study First Nations views toward the project, saying he “did not know” that most communities supported it.
“I did not know that most First Nations agree on that,” he told Reuters. “This is something new that comes to my understanding.” He further said he did not seek out further information on the project because the role of the committee does not involve investigative work.