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

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

Man who stole truck and canoe in View Royal believed he was fleeing zombies, court finds

Judge finds man not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder for 2019 thefts

Electrical issue causes heavy smoke to billow from Oak Bay Avenue coffee shop

Victoria and Oak Bay fire crews responded to smoke at Victoria café

Former Victoria Royals manager celebrates Stanley Cup win

Grant Armstrong is now an amateur scout with Tampa Bay Lightning

Horgan frustrated as Transport Canada mandate for BC Ferry riders returns

Transport Canada reinstates rule that bans passengers from lower decks

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. VOTES 2020: Few solutions offered for ‘out of control’ camping

B.C. Liberals, NDP spend millions as problem keeps growing

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

Parksville pedestrian airlifted to hospital in Vancouver after nighttime collision

Police report man’s injuries were ‘significant’ but not life-threatening

Most Read