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

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Screen shot of a cabin somewhere in the Bulkley Valley from rare 1955 film footage of the area.
VIDEO: More rare film footage of the Bulkley Valley in 1955

Can you help identify the locations and/or people in these videos

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes his way to provide an update on the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Canada has reached a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, surpassing 10,000 novel coronavirus deaths. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Alberta COVID deaths pushes Canada past milestone of 10,000 deaths

Canada crossed the threshold of 5,000 deaths on May 12, a little over two months after the first was reported

An elderly woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past an advertisement for a television series in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. has been under a COVID-19 state of emergency for more than half the year

Province has been under a state of emergency for 32 weeks – and counting

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

Tyrell Giroux was arrested by Williams Lake RCMP on Sunday, Oct. 25. (Facebook video screenshot)
Tsilhqot’in leaders call for suspension of officers seen in controversial Williams Lake arrest

Disturbing video demands an immediate, independent investigation, says TNG

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

Most Read