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

VIDEO: North Island Bantam Eagles are ready for playoffs

The bantams will be playing their first two playoff games in Port McNeill this weekend.

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: The top of Mt. Wolfenden

“A few shots at different focal lengths and then I was back inside editing with a coffee in hand”

Check out a new future at career and education fair in Comox

Event today features booths from more than 40 employers and educational institutions

Book reading: The Blue Haired Girl

Adam Hayes will be at the Book Nook (inside Cafe Guido) Feb. 1 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Veteran Island journalist battles cancer through pioneering treatment

Vancouver Island rallies around JR Rardon and family during stay in Seattle

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

VIDEO: Drone footage shows extent of damage in Highway 4 rockslide

Tofino, Ucluelet still cut off from rest of the island, as crews work to repair roadway

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

UBC grad and sister killed in Iran plane crash had bright futures ahead, close friend says

Asadi-Lari siblings Mohammad Hussein and Zeynab were two of 57 Canadians aboard downed Flight PS752

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

Most Read