Trudeau betraying First Nations, science and climate promises, says Cullen

VICTORIA - Federal approval of the Pacific Northwest LNG project at Lelu Island is a betrayal of Prime Minister Trudeau's promise to respect First Nations, science, and Canada's climate commitments, says Skeena—Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen.

"Justin Trudeau promised to be better than Stephen Harper," said Cullen from Victoria, where he is currently touring with the special parliamentary committee on electoral reform.

"Mr. Trudeau promised a new era of renewed relationships with First Nations, but now he is pushing ahead without proper consultation and in spite of opposition from First Nations here in the Northwest and across BC.

"Mr. Trudeau promised he would fix Stephen Harper's broken environmental review process. Hundreds of independent scientists have warned the government about the potential for this project to imperil Skeena salmon - the 2nd largest wild salmon run in Canada which contributes $110 million to our economy annually. But instead of listening to scientists as he promised, Mr. Trudeau is basing his decision on Stephen Harper's disgraced review process and discredited company-funded science.

"The prime minister also promised to make Canada a climate leader, but it's impossible to tell how the climate impacts of this project - which are 41% higher than other LNG proposals in the region - fit into that commitment."

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, and Fisheries Minister Dominic Leblanc announced Tuesday in Richmond, BC that the government would permit the project to proceed with 190 conditions.

"The government flew three ministers in to make this announcement from the Vancouver airport, 1,000km away from the people and the territory this project will affect," said Cullen. “This isn’t how you build trust and respect.”

In 2015, Cullen offered to help mediate a relocation of the plant to a site less harmful to salmon, and supported the approval of the LNG Canada project in Kitimat. But for Cullen, the Pacific Northwest LNG project, a joint venture led by state-owned Malaysian energy giant Petronas, poses unacceptable risks to Skeena salmon and the communities and cultures that rely on it.

In an open letter to constituents this past April, Cullen wrote: "Our tradition in the Northwest is to work together. We work within the natural limits of this beautiful land that sustains us to build a diversified economy that will systain many future generations. I believe that smart and carefully selected LNG projects can create thousands of jobs here. Along with thousands of Northwesterners, I welcome proponents interested in developing an LNG economy here that respects our values and plays by our rules."