Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh (right) with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs at Moricetown Canyon in Witset. (Airless Photography)

NDP leader lands in Northwest B.C.

Consensus has to happen for projects to happen says Jagmeet Singh during a visit to the Northwest.

The three big things that make or break success in the Northwest were the three elements federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh was looking to learn more about during his three days here this week.

“Though we’ll be visiting lots of different businesses, and local community leaders, and Indigenous community leaders … we’re just going to get a little glimpse of it. But I’m really excited to learn more about the region, all the elements whether it’s the economy, issues that impact the economy, the environment, the First Nations and the issues the First Nations have to deal with, I want to get a sense of the area, the community,” said Singh as he and a fair-sized crowd basked in the sun at Bugwood Bean on a warm Monday in Smithers.

Getting the environment, resource development and First Nations’ rights to harmoniously co-exist for the benefit of all who live in the Northwest has not always worked, and the prospect of a lucrative liquefied natural gas industry in the near future has some in opposition right now. Singh was asked how he as a potential future Prime Minister would approach these type of situations, with his B.C. liaison Skeena-Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen sitting nearby and nodding agreement.

“First is acknowledging that is his responsibility as a leader, is to bring all three together: Understand that we do live in a resource extraction country, and that is an important element for jobs for people. But the reality is if we don’t act as stewards and as protectors of the environment, there won’t be a place for us to have that economic activity,” answered Singh.

“So that’s vitality important that we keep a lens on those realities, and then finally that none of this can happen without a strong relationship without a strong relationship of respect for the first people of this land. These are all integral elements of a functioning Canada.”

Jagmeet Singh helps with Witsuwit’en Wednesday

All well and good, but how would this be done is what The Interior News asked him next.

Singh said the NDP private member’s Bill MP from Romeo Saganash passed in the House of Commons to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was an important step in this direction.

“Our perspective is that we’ve got to make sure everything we do at the federal level has to respect that declaration, which includes free, prior and informed consent, which includes a principle of treating with First Nations as sovereign nations. That’s the way it’s got to be,” he said.

Without consensus from all communities, First Nations and otherwise, Singh said legal action and opposition would keep projects from often happening anyway.

He was also asked how places like the Northwest could rely on more than resource extraction. His answer: high speed internet.

The federal government currently has a program in place to connect remote communities, which is benefiting Northwest villages and First Nations. Singh agrees this will allow businesses to operate anywhere, with housing costs and lifestyle attracting people to places in remote and northern areas of Canada.

It might be all business while he was here, but Singh made sure to have some fun while doing it. He was set to do some river rafting on the Kispiox River and do some touring while meeting with people.

 

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh (centre) and Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen (right) get a tour of the Smithers Regional Airport expansion from airport manager Rob Blackburn Monday. (Airless Photography)

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh mingles at Bugwood Bean Monday. Airless Photography

Just Posted

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 5: Recap

Highlights and results from day 5 at the All Native Tournament

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 6: Preview

Look ahead to all the action scheduled for Feb. 16 at the All Native Tournament

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 4: Recap

Results and highlights from day 4 at the 2019 All Native Basketball Tournament

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 3: Recap

Highlights from around Day 3 of the tournament

Mermen calendar targets ‘toxic masculinity,’ raises big money for charities

Newfoundland and Labrador Beard and Moustache Club gave a cheque for more than $202,000 to Violence Prevention NL

Minister says plans to fight poverty, climate change, focus of B.C. budget

The NDP said in its throne speech last week that affordability will be the hallmark of its initiatives

UPDATED: ‘Violent’ B.C. man back in custody after Alberta arrest

Prince George man with ties to Vernon was being sought by police

After a week away, SNC-Lavalin questions await MPs returning to Parliament

Two have resigned already: Jody Wilson-Raybould was veterans affairs minister and Gerald Butts was Trudeau’s principal secretary

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld has died

He spent virtually his entire career at luxury labels catering to the very wealthy

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Most Read