In a frame from protesters' video

In a frame from protesters' video

BC VIEWS: Tree-spikers cling to Lelu Island

Who's behind Prince Rupert anti-LNG protest camp? A father, his son, and their U.S. foundation backers [WITH VIDEO]

Amanda Stanley, “science program officer” for the Seattle-based Wilberforce Foundation, headed up to Prince Rupert a couple of weeks ago to check on one of her projects.

That would be the camp on Lelu Island where a splinter group of Tsimshian tribal members and supporters maintain an effort to blockade and disrupt testing required for an environmental permit application to construct a liquefied natural gas terminal.

Stanley tweeted a picture from the camp, looking past a Mohawk warrior flag at the coastline. “So inspired by these defenders of land, water and salmon,” she wrote.

Wilberforce, the California-based Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Hawaii-based Sustainable Fisheries Partnership and others have poured money into anti-LNG campaigns in B.C., as they funded opposition to oilsands development before them. Indeed, the record suggests the long project to establish what environmental front groups named the Great Bear Rainforest was a strategy to stop hydrocarbon exports from western Canada, even as U.S. sources ramped up production.

So what’s been going on at this “science program” on Lelu Island? Its own multi-media promotion material provides some glimpses, featuring sweeping allegations and efforts to block scientific evaluation with crude threats and intimidation.

A video series called “A Last Stand for Lelu” shows two self-styled warriors confronting drilling vessels. Their RCMP escort boat suggests these ships and habitat study crews had federal permits to conduct testing at the time.

[Watch video below.]

One man, identified as Donald Wesley Jr., walks the island with a rifle over his shoulder. Among his claims is that the drilling isn’t for testing, but is actually the start of construction on the Pacific Northwest LNG terminal, which still awaits a decision from the Trudeau cabinet.

Wesley says that since crews didn’t present permits to him personally, “they’re the radicals. They’re the extremists. They’re the terrorists.”

Then he describes his preparations.

“We have a lot of stuff on the island to keep [away] helicopters and drillers, the geotech drillers that want to come onto the island and start borehole testing,” he says. “We have a lot of spikes put on this island.”

OK, who’s the extremist?

The video series is co-produced by a fellow named Tamo Campos, identified as a representing “Beyond Boarding,” with a link to an expired website.

Campos came to prominence in B.C. protest circles during the recent oil pipeline standoff at Burnaby Mountain. He appeared with his grandfather David Suzuki and other well-known protesters in a carefully choreographed show of entering a court-ordered restraining zone and briefly being arrested.

Again, they were interfering with authorized scientific testing while attempting to create the impression for media of grassroots opposition.

Wesley, his father Donald Wesley Sr. and a supporter from Hartley Bay named Matthew Danes, claim to represent hereditary chiefs. In June, a dozen Tsimshian hereditary chiefs and elders issued a letter stating that Wesley Sr. “took it upon himself to occupy Lelu Island solely on his own accord” and doesn’t represent the community.

“We do not appreciate Mr. Wesley inviting environmental militants and outsiders into our territory without the respect and manners dictated by the protocols of our ayaawyx [laws],” they wrote.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office required Pacific Northwest LNG to consult with five aboriginal communities. The Metlakatla, Kitselas, Kitsumkalum and Gitxaala bands have benefit agreements for the project signed or in progress. The lone holdout, Lax Kw’alaams, elected a new council last fall that embraced the project with conditions.

And 40 Lax Kw’alaams students just graduated from pre-apprentice training sponsored by the provincial and federal governments and the UA Piping Industry College of B.C.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca Twitter: @tomfletcherbc

A LAST STAND FOR LELU – PART 7: Warriors from VoVo Productions on Vimeo.

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

Just Posted

Postmark Group, an Edmonton-based development firm, bought two properties at 6641 and 6643 Sooke Rd. last year, and is reaching out to the community and local groups for feedback before they begin planning the designs for the development. (Photo contributed/Postmark Group)
Waterfront village development eyed for Sooke

Postmark Group development firm bought two properties at 6641 and 6643 Sooke Rd. last year

Friends have identified the man killed in Friday’s shooting in Metchosin as Shane Wilson. (Shane Wilson/Facebook)
West Shore RCMP continue to investigate shooting death in Metchosin

Man killed on Sooke Road Friday night identified by friends

Fire Chief Darren Hughes, right, pulls the old Firemans Park sign off ahead of the parks name change. The new sign for Firefighters Park is coming. (Oak Bay Fire Department Twitter)
Oak Bay changes the name of Fireman’s Park

New sign for Firefighter’s Park on the way

Alphabet Zoo Early Learning Centre wants to relocate from Langford to 3322 Fulton Rd. in Colwood, but has not been approved for a P-6 zoning by Colwood council. Residents who neighbour the property, have expressed concern to the Goldstream Gazette regarding the potential daycare site. Neighbours Ryan Landa and Selene Winchester said the noise of construction has been disruptive to the area, and the property is not suitable for a daycare. (Photo contributed/Ryan Landa)
Proposed West Shore daycare stirs up controversy amongst neighbours

Neighbouring property owners are concerned about traffic, noise that a daycare would bring to the area

Ravi Jain, Why Not Theatre’s founding artistic director, will present a Zoom lecture as part of the University of Victoria’s Orion fine art series on March 8. (Photo: University of Victoria).
Award-winning directors highlight coming University of Victoria lecture series

The March 8 and 18 Zoom events are part of the Orion fine arts lecture series

Const. Nancy Saggar, who has 11 years in policing, offers advice for other women who may pursue both policing and family. (Black Press Media file photo)
Pregnancy prompts sage advice from RCMP officer for women thinking about policing

West Shore constable with 11 years experience heads off on maternity leave

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Have thoughts on B.C.’s review of the provincial Police Act?

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
B.C. woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

Hannah Ankenmann, who works with k’awat’si Economic Development Corporation, winces as she received her first shot of the Pfizer vaccine administered by a Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Family Health nurse. (Zoe Ducklow photo)
Vancouver Island’s small remote towns to get community-wide vaccine clinics

Island Health to take a wholesale approach to immunization, rather than age-based appointments

Anyone with information is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477 or submitting a tip online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.
21-year-old motorbike rider dies after crash with ATV on Nanaimo back road

Incident happened Sunday afternoon near Boomerang Lake

Most Read