Coun. Gordy Robson (THE NEWS – files)

B.C. councillor runs afoul of Coastal GasLink protester

Northern pipeline not a Maple Ridge issue, insists Coun. Gordy Robson

Maple Ridge Councillor Gordy Robson got himself into a disagreement with a supporter of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs on the weekend.

On Friday afternoon Julena Breel, a clinical counsellor who works with First Nations youth in Prince Rupert, sent an email to mayor and council asking them to consider releasing a statement of solidarity with the hereditary chiefs in regards to their opposition of the Coastal GasLink project – a 670-kilometre pipeline from the province’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast.

She noted her hometown of Victoria issued a statement of support, and she included their statement in the email, so Maple Ridge’s mayor and council would have an idea of what has already been done.

READ MORE: What the Wet’suwet’en case says about how Canadian courts address Indigenous law

Late Friday, Breel received a response from Robson that upset her.

“I am so sorry that you don’t accept the decisions of your elected councils,” Robson wrote. “My solidarity is in support of their decisions to help their people. I think you’re embarrassing your band members.”

Breel, who called herself an, “uninvited white settler” in her email to mayor and council, took exception to the last line.

“[This] makes it clear to me Mr. Robson did not take the time to read my message and rather chose to reply with a canned response targeted towards Indigenous peoples,” she told The News.

“This is bullying, intimidation, and misplaced racism.”

READ MORE: Protesters block B.C. government building entrance to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

Robson said Saturday that the Coastal GasLink pipeline controversy is something council should not be getting involved in, especially since the issue is not happening in Maple Ridge.

But he clarified the remarks were his own and not those of council.

“It would just be me,” he said. “Nothing to do with council. It has never been before council, nor should it be before council.”

Regarding the last line of his electronic reply to Breel, Robson admitted he made a mistake but also noted his frustration with the situation he was asked to comment on.

“I guess I shouldn’t have said that,” he said. “But it does [annoy me] that they’ve been through so much, these bands, and they’ve had discourse through their own bands and it’s a shame that they can’t get together and form a democracy and come up with a unified position.”



ronan.p.odoherty@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Pipelinepipeline politics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

Nicole Halbauer seeks B.C. NDP nomination for Skeena riding

Halbauer is the current Chair of the Board of Directors at Coast Mountain College

Save our Children demonstration held in Terrace

Advocates call for tougher sentences, more public information

MLA rides bike from Terrace to Kitimat

Ride was to raise awareness for cancer

City, Regional District asking Terrace residents to complete housing survey

The Housing Needs Assessment Survey will help to better understand the state of housing in the city

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

‘Not criminally responsible’ hearing slated for man convicted of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein was found guilty in March of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in 2016

B.C.’s 1st mental health and addictions minister won’t be seeking re-election

MLA Judy Darcy is the fifth cabinet minister not intending to run in the next election

Vancouver’s shuttered aquarium searching for financial solution amid pandemic

The aquarium needs about $1 million a month to cover its costs

B.C., Alberta sending nearly 300 fire personnel by Friday to help battle wildfires in Oregon

Some 230 firefighters, most from British Columbia but including a number from Alberta, will be deployed Friday

Most Read