Earlier this year, Gerry Chidiac stated his reasons for being in support of the hereditary chiefs blockading Coast GasLink from constructing a pipeline across their traditional territory. A couple of weeks before his article came out, the International Union of Operating Engineers had a job fair in Burns Lake. This job fair’s main focus was for the recruitment of young people that will help construct this and future pipelines. The union’s objective was well-received with predominantly young Wet’suwet’en First Nation male and female kids applying to work on this project.
These young equipment operator apprentices will become proficient on bulldozers, excavators, graders, loaders, rubber tire backhoes, skid steers and more.
Their hereditary chiefs don’t want the pipeline built across their traditional territory, ignoring the huge opportunity for their children to receive union schooling and field training for a life-changing and prosperous future. Union membership also includes a lucrative pension plan and extended health and welfare plan with the best coverage in the business.
To prepare for all of the future pipeline construction, union companies are hiring one apprentice for every piece of equipment on site. This amounts to needing to hire over 300 apprentice operators for just the union’s part of the contract build. All First Nations kids belonging to nations that have signed on to the project will be guaranteed to become equipment operator apprentices. They will likely all garner enough equipment hours on this pipeline to become certified equipment operators.
For the elected chiefs of the four clans, council members, elders and all of the Wet’suwet’en people, you need to have your voice heard before you miss out on your opportunity to guide your kids to prosperity.
Due to the pandemic, the hereditary chiefs have not conducted a legitimate vote and are only using he said, she said, as their grounds to try to stop the pipeline construction. If one continues to sit on one’s hands, you will shoulder blame for your children’s life of unemployment.
We all borrow from this Earth for our children, so let’s do the best we can and make it right for them.