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Thursday, January 30, 2020

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Industry And trades WINTER/SPRING 2020

Industry in our region

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Inside

www.pgcitizen.ca | Thursday, January 30, 2020

No consensus on

what constitutes consent in UNDRIP

pg 3

Forestry sector

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looks for rebound Traps found

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at blockade Pipeline at centre of B.C. conflict

is creating jobs for First Nations: chief pg 12 Mass timber

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construction rising Horgan says ‘rule of law applies,’

LNG pipeline will proceed despite protests

UNBC sees growth

in partnered research

pg 16 pg 19

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No consensus on what constitutes consent in UNDRIP Glacier Media

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forum on UNDRIP, and the opportunities it may either present or deny for business, including indigenous business, opened with assurances from a provincial government official that it creates no new rights for indigenous people. Nor does it confer upon First Nations a veto over projects like pipelines, panelists insisted during a discussion on legal aspects of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). That’s not the way some First Nations, the BC Human Rights Commissioner or a United Nations committee see it, however. The forum, Finding the Path to Shared Prosperity, brought together more than 500 aboriginal leaders and business people from across Canada to discuss opportunities for business in an era where UNDRIP is being enshrined in B.C. law and may soon be enshrined in federal law, as well. But even as the forum was taking place, a standoff between some members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation and

the Coastal GasLink pipeline and the RCMP loomed large in the background, raising questions about some of the central tenets of UNDRIP. Because even if UNDRIP does not grant new rights or a veto, it does require some form of First Nation consent, and there is the nagging question of who speaks for First Nations and who can either grant or deny consent. That question dogs the $6.6 billion Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline, which is a key part of the $40 billion LNG Canada project. Elected Wet’suwet’en band councils support it; several hereditary chiefs oppose it. As far as Premier John Horgan is concerned, the project has received the consent of the legal representatives of First Nations along the pipeline route, including the Wet’suwet’en. He said at a press conference Monday the project will proceed. BC’s Human Rights Commissioner Kasari Govender appears to disagree. She recently weighed into the issue, citing UNDRIP and

a UN committee, which has called for the Coastal GasLink project – as well as others – to be halted until the consent of all affected First Nations is obtained. The B.C. government has placed itself in the difficult position of trying to defend a project that some Wet’suwet’en say does not have their consent, while at the same time defending Bill 41, which the Horgan government passed in December to begin the process of harmonizing all laws in B.C. with UNDRIP. How does Horgan square the circle of insisting the Coastal GasLink project will go forward, while at the same time supporting UNDRIP, which hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en invoke when they insist the project be halted, on the basis it does not have their consent? Doug Caul, deputy minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, was asked in the opening session of Tuesday’s forum to explain the province’s position on UNDRIP and the thorny question of who represents the Wet’suwet’en.

“What the legislation doesn’t do... is it doesn’t create new rights,” Caul said. “Those rights exist. Indigenous rights are already recognized in the Constitution, under Section 35. There are rights that the courts have consistently upheld. “It also doesn’t give indigenous people the veto,” he later added. He said the “free, prior and informed consent” that UNDRIP requires “is about engaging with indigenous people about proposed activities in their areas from the beginning, in a deep meaningful way.” During a question and answer period, Caul was asked: “who defines consent?” Caul said defining consent was a “process” that First Nations themselves have to go through to decide. And so far, that hasn’t been done, said First Nations Limited Partnership chairman Mark Podlasly, who emceed the session with Caul. “There has to be a mutual understanding of what consent is, and we haven’t done that yet,” he said.


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www.pgcitizen.ca | Thursday, January 30, 2020

Forestry sector looks for rebound Nelson BENNETT Glacier Media

For B.C. sawmill workers and loggers, 2019 was a year that they can only hope is not repeated in 2020. Prolonged wet weather in the U.S. that delayed the construction season, higher stumpage rates, American duties on softwood lumber, a shrinking timber supply and one of the longest strikes ever by sawmill workers on Vancouver Island converged into a perfect storm that left thousands either on picket lines or unemployment lines. B.C. forestry companies went from making record profits in 2017 and 2018 to posting losses in 2019, and more than 3,000 sawmill workers lost their jobs. Many more logging contractors were

also left without work. Even mills that are still operating eliminated shifts. And when those shifts are added to the permanent mill closures in the province, it is the equivalent of eight sawmill closures in 2019, according to forestry consultant Jim Girvan. The central issue in 2020 for the B.C. government will be fixing the current stumpage system, said Russ Taylor, managing director of the Forest Economic Advisors consultancy.“The model is broken,” Taylor said, adding that the severe downturn in the industry was unique to B.C.“Alberta, they made a ton of money last year,” he said. Taylor recently concluded an analysis of 29 lumber-

producing jurisdictions. It confirmed that, in 2019, B.C. was the highest-cost producer in the world – even higher than Germany, which traditionally had the highest log costs, but which has been burning through a bonanza of salvage wood from a spruce beetle epidemic.Taylor expects lumber prices will increase by 10 per cent in 2020. That may forestall further mill closures in 2020.“The mills that have closed – they’re gone,” Girvan said. “But there’s 20 more that are in reduced shifting or they just closed indefinitely because of markets. All of those, they should be able to come back.” The B.C. NDP government can expect to face increasing criticism in 2020 for failing to

address the crisis in forestry, according to the mayor of Port McNeill, Gaby Wickstrom. “The NDP has been coasting along in its belief that it is immune to the forestry crisis, and therefore hasn’t been expending an ounce of political capital to fight to help the workers and prop the sector up during its worst crisis in decades,” she tweeted in December. Taylor said there is little question that the formula for calculating stumpage rates in B.C. is the biggest problem and needs to be fixed. “It’s absolutely crystal clear to me that the B.C. wood costs are the only region that’s gone up in the world, and it should be going down,” he said.


Traps found at blockade

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Arthur WILLIAMS Citizen staff

RCMP are conducting an investigation into dangerous traps along Morice West Forest Service Road, southwest of Houston, after patrols found trees pre-cut for felling and stacks of tires containing jugs of fuel. The Morice West Forest Service Road and Morice River Bridge – located 47 km southwest of Houston – are the location of an ongoing blockade by Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their supporters against

development of the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline through the area. On Jan. 3, the Wet’suet’en hereditary chiefs and members of the Unist’ot’en camp issued an “eviction notice” to workers at camp 9A and the surrounding area. In a statement, RCMP said they have brought their concerns to the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and have launched a criminal investigation under Section 247 of the Criminal Code for

traps likely to cause bodily harm. Officers from the CommunityIndustry Safety Office (C-ISO) are monitoring the situation along the Morice West Forest Service Road to ensure the safety of people at the blockade site, Coastal GasLink employees and general public, the statement said. “On Jan. 6, 2020, during the course of regular patrols, officers attended the 39.5 kilometre mark and were stopped by a blockade

of fallen trees. Officers conducted foot patrols towards the 44 kilometer mark, and noted several dozen trees had been felled across the roadway,” the statement said. “Of particular concern for safety, they noted some trees that were partly cut in readiness for felling. This creates a hazard where these trees can fall unexpectedly due to wind. Three stacks of tires were also noticed, each covered by tarps and trees, and contained cont. on page 6


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www.pgcitizen.ca | Thursday, January 30, 2020 cont. from page 5

several jugs of accelerants – gasoline, diesel, oil, kindling and bags full of fuel soaked rags.” The RCMP respects the rights of individuals to peaceful, lawful and safe protest, the statement said, but the RCMP will act to ensure any person who unlawfully threatens the safety of people or property will be held accountable in accordance with Canadian law. “This applies to demonstrators, industry employees and contractors, as well as the general public,” the statement added. “Our priority is to engage with (Coastal GasLink), Indigenous communities and government to facilitate a resolution without police enforcement,” North District RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Madonna Saunderson said

via email. “And our senior commander has already been in direct contact with representatives of all these stakeholder groups, including the hereditary chiefs.” In a statement published on the Unis’ot’en Camp website Wednesday afternoon, the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their supporters reported finding signs of activity in the area of the blockade. “Trespassers were heard walking toward and behind the Gidimt’en checkpoint, and chainsaws were heard operating,” the statement said. “Snowshoe tracks were found, and we believe that the trespassers were trying to create a trail to access/ surround the camp.” The statement also said that copies of the B.C. Supreme Court ruling made on Dec. cont. on page 7


cont. from page 6

31 were posted at the 39 km mark of the Morice West Forest Service Road. The ruling authorizes Coastal GasLink to remove barriers set up on Morice West Forest Service Road and on the Morice River Bridge, and gives the RCMP a mandate to arrest and remove persons preventing that from happening. “Combined with the posting of this notice on their website, this means the Wet’suwet’en are given until approximately 3 p.m. on Friday to comply with the orders and remove gates and cabins on our own unceded lands,” the Unist’ot’en camp statement said. “We continue to stand strong in our laws and to remain peaceful. No access will be granted to Wet’suwet’en territories without our concent.” However, a spokesperson for Coastal GasLink said in an email last week that the company has no plans to act on or request enforcement of the injunction at this time. Construction is continuing along other sections of the $6.6 billion, 670-kilometrelong pipeline project connecting northeastern B.C. to the LNG Canada natural gas export terminal in Kitimat. “As we have stated, we believe that dialogue is preferable

Thursday, January 30, 2020 RCMP found jugs of gasoline and other accelerants and kindling under a stack of tires covered by tarps during a patrol on Morice West Forest Service Road on Jan. 6. RCMP handout photo

to confrontation while engagement and a negotiated resolution remain possible,” the spokesperson said via email. In a statement issued last Thursday morning, Coastal GasLink president David Pfeiffer called on Chief Namox and the other hereditary chiefs to meet with the company to find a solution to the situation. “Coastal GasLink respects the rights of individuals to peacefully and lawfully protest so long as their activities do not jeopardize the safety of the public, our employees, our contractors or the RCMP,”Pfeiffer said in the statement. “Our primary concern is the safety of all users of this public forestry road, including those who wish to protest our activities. Unlawful actions that put people at risk for serious harm are dangerous, reckless and unacceptable, and do not reflect peaceful protest.” “Once again, I invite Chief Namox to meet with Coastal GasLink so we can try to find common ground and a mutually agreeable solution that ensures the safety of all involved and that results in a peaceful resolution.”

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Pipeline at centre of B.C. conflict creating jobs for First Nations, chief says www.pgcitizen.ca | Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Canadian Press

A pipeline at the centre of a conflict between hereditary chiefs and a natural gas company in northern British Columbia is creating jobs for Indigenous people and lifting communities from poverty, says an elected chief of a band that supports the project. All 20 elected band councils along the Coastal GasLink pipeline route have signed benefits agreements with the company. The Haisla Nation in Kitimat is among them and Chief Coun. Crystal Smith said the project will help the community become less reliant on meagre federal funding. “Our governance system has been managing poverty. It’s a similar situation in every First Nation in this province, in this country, of managing limited

funds to be able to assist our people,” Smith said. “In order to achieve independent nations, we need independent members. The opportunities that are available for today’s generation and future generations of First Nations people that participate in these projects are life changing. They’re nation changing.” The 670-kilometre pipeline will deliver natural gas from the Dawson Creek area to a liquefaction facility in Kitimat as part of the $40-billion LNG Canada project. However, five Wet’suwet’en hereditary clan chiefs say the pipeline cannot proceed without their consent. Their supporters at a camp near Smithers have been blocking construction in violation of a

court injunction. The elected band council of the Wet’suwet’en, on the other hand, has signed a benefits deal to support the pipeline. The dispute has highlighted a debate over whether hereditary chiefs should have more power under Canadian law. The Indian Act established band councils, made up of elected chiefs and councillors, who have authority over reserve lands. Hereditary chiefs are part of a traditional form of Indigenous governance that courts have grappled with how to recognize. Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief Na’moks, who also goes by John Ridsdale, said he wishes pipeline supporters would consider the dangers of the project.

“These man camps are dangerous places. They fly in and fly out, they have no social responsibility to where they are. They get to go home. We are home,” he said. Smith said many of those employed on the pipeline are Indigenous or B.C. residents. The Haisla Nation is also in discussions for equity stakes in the project, which would create revenue that the community could decide to invest in housing, health or education, in contrast with federal money that comes with restrictions on how it can be used, she said. Smith said her band council signed benefits agreements with both Coastal GasLink and LNG Canada. The details of the deals are confidential but Smith said they contain clauses cont. on page 13


cont. from page 12

that ensure environmental protection and remediation of the First Nation’s territories. “Our territories aren’t new to development or industry: forestry, aluminum smelters. Back when those developments were occurring, our nation wasn’t a part of the development. We had no say. We had no share,” she said. “Within these projects, we have a seat at the table in terms of how they’re developed, how they’re built and the impacts on our community and our territory.” Smith said it’s concerning that the pipeline blockade is impeding the progress of the project and she believes chiefs, whether hereditary or elected, should put the interests of their people first in decision making. She added that she “feels” for the Wet’suwet’en community. “Issues like this divide communities. They tear families apart. They ruin

Thursday, January 30, 2020

lifelong friendships,” she said. Na’moks questioned how Smith could feel for the Wet’suwet’en when she is not a member herself. “We look after our nation,” he said. Mike Robertson, a policy adviser with the Cheslatta Carrier Nation, said the pipeline is located north of his community so it has not signed a benefits agreement, but it has a more minimal deal known as a community agreement. Robertson said his community is wary of some of the negative impacts of a work camp setting up in the area. But he said it has equipment and will do right-of-way clearing and other work as the project progresses, and it hopes to play a bigger role in construction. “We definitely support the project,” he said. “This economic development coming through our community is positive.”

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Mass timber construction on the rise

www.pgcitizen.ca | Thursday, January 30, 2020

Glacier Media

A new year brings new beginnings, and for Pentictonbased Structurlam Mass Timber Corp., that includes building on key developments from last year. With its expertise in crosslaminated timbers, it welcomed changes in the B.C. Building Code last March allowing for mass-timber construction in buildings of up to 12 storeys. Canada’s national building code will adopt similar rules this year.

Structurlam recently won a contract for the first project approved under the new B.C. code, a tower DB Services of Victoria Inc. is building in the Vancouver Island municipality of Langford. Other projects are in the planning stages, including one by Adera Development Corp. that includes mass timber as a component of its Quiet Home approach to construction, and an 83-room addition to the Ramada Kelowna Hotel

& Conference Centre by RPB Hotels & Resorts of Penticton. “I have never seen a code adoption happen so quickly in any of the other sectors I’ve been involved with,” remarked Structurlam CEO Hardy Wentzel. The changes in Canada parallel similar changes in the U.S., which now allows mass-timber construction in buildings of up to 18 storeys. Structurlam, which expanded its workforce to 290 with the addition of 70 people over the past year as capacity at its four B.C. plants grew, is building a fifth facility in Conway, Arkansas, to serve the U.S. That facility will open in 2021. It’s not just the new building code that’s been adopted speedily. The buildings themselves rise quickly, with a minimal labour force. Brock Commons, the landmark 18-storey tower at the University of British Columbia

that served as a precursor to the code changes, went up in just 57 days with a workforce of nine people. “A construction site is actually more of an assembly site now than a construction site because so much of this is done in a factory,” Wentzel said. “It’s quite remarkable how much faster construction is, and when you do that you get to monetize your investment that much sooner.” Similar arguments have been voiced in favour of modular construction, which is enjoying popularity not only for low-income housing in Vancouver but also for hotels such as the new 104-room Hyatt Place in Prince George that Mundi Hotel Enterprises Inc. of Kamloops is developing with components from the Kamloops plant of Horizon North Logistics Inc. That hotel is set to complete next month.


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Horgan says ‘rule of law applies,’ LNG pipeline will proceed despite protests

The Canadian Press

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natural gas pipeline across northern British Columbia is vital to the region’s economic future and it will be built despite the objections of some Indigenous leaders, Premier John Horgan said. He said the courts have ruled in favour of the project and the rule of law will apply to ensure work continues on the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which would start near Dawson Creek and extend to an export terminal at Kitimat. The 670-kilometre pipeline is part of a $40 billion LNG Canada project. Horgan told a news conference the project has received approval from 20 First Nations along the pipeline route. “We want everyone to understand that there are agreements from the Peace Country to Kitimat with

Indigenous communities that want to see economic activity and prosperity take place,” he said. “All the permits are in place for this project to proceed. This project is proceeding and the rule of law needs to prevail in B.C.” Hereditary chiefs from the Wet’suwet’en Nation near Smithers say the project does not have their consent. Supporters of the chiefs have felled trees along a road to a Coastal GasLink work site and are building a new support camp. They already occupy two other camps along the road. The Unist’ot’en camp and the Gidimt’en camp, where the RCMP enforced an injunction last year and arrested 14 people. A B.C. Supreme Court judge extended an injunction against Wet’suwet’en members and anticont. on page 17


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pipeline supporters on Dec. 31. Coastal GasLink posted the injunction order last week giving opponents 72 hours to clear the way to its work site. The company said it was up to police to determine the “timing and manner of enforcement of this order.” The RCMP began restricting access oto the area where the court injunction applies. The Mounties say a police checkpoint was set up at the 27 kilometre mark of a forestry road into the area because of safety concerns stemming from the trees that were felled across the road and tire piles that were recently found with gasoline and other fuels inside. Those entering the area on the road are being stopped by police and given a copy of the court’s injunction, as well as being informed about hazards and road conditions. The RCMP said those being allowed to enter must have permission from the RCMP’s

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operations commander, which generally includes hereditary and elected chiefs, elected and other government officials, accredited journalists from recognized media outlets, and those providing food, medicine or other supplies. The RCMP said its commanding officer in British Columbia has been involved in a series of meetings and more are planned with the hereditary chiefs, elected band councils and others with an interest in the pipeline. “It was emphasized that the primary concerns for the RCMP are public and officer safety,” it says in a statement released on Monday. “Our duty is to preserve the safety of everyone involved in this dispute, and to prevent further contraventions to the B.C. Supreme Court ordered injunction.” The Wet’suwet’en hereditary clan chiefs have asked the RCMP not to use force against the pipeline opponents who are facing the injunction order.

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Horgan said Indigenous Peoples in B.C. have used the courts to successfully assert their rights and title, but in “this instance the courts have confirmed that the project can proceed and will proceed.”

We want everyone to understand that there are agreements from the Peace Country to Kitimat with Indigenous communities that want to see economic activity and prosperity take place,

Horgan’s government adopted legislation late last year to

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implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It mandates the government to bring provincial laws and policies into harmony with the declaration’s aims of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. The UN declaration says Indigenous Peoples have the right to self-determination, which means they can determine their political status and pursue economic, social and cultural development. It requires governments to obtain “free and informed consent” from Indigenous groups before approving projects affecting their lands or resources. But Horgan says the declaration doesn’t apply to the Coastal GasLink project. “Our document, our legislation, our declaration is forward looking,” he said. “It’s not retrospective. We believe it will open up opportunities not just for Indigenous people but for all British Columbians.”


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UNBC sees growth in partnered research

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Citizen Staff

The University of Northern British Columbia placed first in its category for corporate research income growth according to a recentlyreleased survey. According to the latest edition of the Canada’s Top 50 Research Universities ranking, produced by Research Infosource Inc., UNBC’s corporate research income grew 177.3 per cent in 2018 to $452,000. It was the largest increase of any university in the undergraduate tier. “By partnering with industry, the work our researchers do in the field and the discoveries they make in the

lab can be applied directly by companies who are looking to address complex challenges and make a difference in the lives of people in British Columbia and around the world,” said UNBC president Dr. Daniel Weeks. “The knowledge our researchers possess in a wide variety of disciplines makes UNBC an ideal partner for many industries who are seeking answers to questions that our experts can answer.” Overall, UNBC received more than $9 million in research funding in 2018, a slight decrease from the previous year. UNBC ranks 46th in the country for total research

income. Some of the research highlights from the past year include: - The opening of the Hakai Cryosphere Node, part of a $2.4 million joint research project between UNBC and Vancouver Island University focusing on the role that seasonal snow cover and glaciers play in the hydrology of key watersheds in British Columbia. - The appointment of two new Canada Research Chairs and the re-appointment of two others. - A $1.3 million five-year project to transform health service delivery in Northern

British Columbia. - UNBC and Carrier Sekani Family Services are partnering on a $1.5 million project to strengthen mental wellness and suicide prevention for elders in the Northern Interior region of British Columbia. “As an engaged university, we are always looking for new ways to look beyond the traditional ‘four walls’ of the academy and elevate the great work that we do through partnerships,” said UNBC vice-president, Research Dr. Geoffrey Payne. “The partnerships that we continue to forge are integral to our research mission.”


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