Video: Grand Chief Stewart Phillip endorses NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh

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      In recent years, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip has been the de facto leader of the B.C. environmental movement.

      Sometimes called the People's Chief, the president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and his wife Joan have been at the forefront of pipeline protests.

      They've been regular visitors to the Watch House on Burnaby Mountain, which was created by Tsleil-Waututh Nation members as a permanent visible reminder of their opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

      And the Phillips been championing human rights causes for decades.

      It’s ‘Joan and Stewart’,” Phillip told the Straight last year. “We’ve been in the trenches since the ’70s.”

      So their hearty endorsement of NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh will carry weight with Indigenous and environmentally inclined voters in Canada's westernmost province.

      "I believe he's a visionary leader and he's an amazing human being," Phillip says in a videotaped message. (See below.)

      Joan Phillip has been so impressed by Singh that she's running as the NDP candidate in Central Okanagan–Similkameen-Nicola. 

      "I'm just so proud to be part of a team that's on the way up," Joan says in the video.

      Her husband points out that a fundamental responsibility of leadership is to be able to inspire people.

      "We need somebody that is authentic. Somebody that's real, somebody that cares. And that person is Jagmeet Singh," Phillip says.

      At another point, he says: "Absolutely everyone is talking about this man, Jagmeet Singh... The last time we had a leader of that magnitude was Jack Layton. I think that with Jagmeet surging, there could be surprises on election night."