Preceded by a convoy of trucks parading through the city's downtown, a rally in support of resource communities was held outside the Civic Centre on Wednesday.
About 50 people from across northern B.C., most wearing blue overalls with reflective trim, showed up, many of them holding up signs saying "I 'heart' LNG," "Resource Jobs = Schools" and "Yes to Jobs."
A civil tone was maintained as they heard speeches, kicked off with a bit of cheerleading from the main organizer, David Johnston of the Kitimat-based group TheNorthMatters.
"If we look at the history of our great province and great country, what is it that the country's built on?" he asked while standing in the box of a pickup truck.
"Resources!," the onlookers replied.
"And what are we going to do to make our northern communities more prosperous and stronger?," Johnston continued.
"Work hard," replied one participant.
"Resources are the most important thing in our communities right now for creating opportunities for our families, for our kids and their kids," Johnston said. "It's something that we need more of and something we will continue to fight for."
Speakers in favour of pipelines and related development followed. Nechako Lake MLA John Rustad was among them.
"I'm proud of the fact that this country and this province was built on our resources," he said. "The benefits we have, the life we have are all based on the fact that we have been blessed with abundant resources.
"We have to make sure that we take care of the environment, we have to make sure that we're respectful...but at the end of the day, it's you guys, it's our families, it's our communities. That's why this is important."
Prior to the rally, local MPs Todd Doherty and Bob Zimmer met with the group and posed for photos.
Haisla Village elected chief Crystal Smith also spoke. She referred to the benefits the Coastal GasLink pipeline and the LNG Canada liquified natural gas project near Kitimat will bring to the 20 First Nations along the pipeline's corridor.
"The communication needs to be about people," she added. "Forget systems, forget governments, we need to come back to what we are doing for our people."
The rally was being held as hundreds of business people and politicians had gathered that the Civic Centre for the start of the three-day B.C. Natural Resources Forum and just before B.C. Premier John Horgan was to deliver a speech to the delegates.
Johnston, who makes a living as an electrician, maintained TheNorthMatters movement he helped start is completely non-political.
"We don't have any political messaging, we just care about families," he said. "So these opportunities that are available, when the government sees that there is a mass movement pushing for it, whatever government it is, we're hoping that it will listen to that mass movement of the majority of people and go ahead with projects."
A handful of local members of the ardently anti-Trudeau yellow vest movement showed up in support but remained muted. And on the steps of the library stood one person bearing a sign saying "Wet'suwet'en Strong, No LNG."