After having been assured in recent emails from several councillors that the City of Kamloops is an enthusiastic supporter of reconciliation with First Nations, I wish to point out a city action that is a glaring inconsistency with this position and ask council to act to correct this.
Mayor Ken Christian went on the public record this June in support of the beginning of construction of the proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project, but this is a highly questionable and somewhat inflammatory position in light of legal challenges by First Nations that have yet to be resolved.
The current situation, with the imminent beginning of construction now already set for the pipeline expansion, is a patently unfair travesty of justice in that substantial and credible legal appeals from six First Nations — not the least of which being the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc of the Secwepemc Nation — have been recently approved, but not yet heard, by the Federal Court of Appeal.
Instead of promoting the shameful colonial steamroller mentality of the pipeline owner — the federal government — the City of Kamloops could instead take the opportunity to provide positive leadership in bringing a spirit of reconciliation to this unhappy situation.
Council could initiate a new public stance, stating the city will not agree to the beginning of pipeline expansion construction activities within the Kamloops jurisdiction until such time as the outstanding First Nations major legal challenges are fully resolved.
I would respectfully suggest such a formal statement, if conveyed to appropriate federal and provincial officials, First Nations and the Trans Mountain Corporation, has the potential to have a large and positive impact all around.
Plus, it is the right thing to do.