Lax Kw'alaams dissident calls LNG vote a joke because two-thirds of band members didn't cast ballots

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      Not everyone is thrilled with the recent vote by members of the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation to resume discussions on an $11-billion liquefied natural gas project near Prince Rupert.

      Lax Kw'alaams member Dean Febbo told Vice that the vote of 812 band members was a "joke".

      That's because according to Febbo, two-thirds of the band members did not cast ballots.

      About 65 percent who voted ended up approving of the band council's wish to continue talks with the province and industry.

      Pacific NorthWest LNG's proposal for a plant and marine terminal on Lelu Island is being reviewed by the Canadian Enviromental Assessment Agency. The company's majority shareholder is the Malaysian state-owned energy giant Petronas.

      The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has received 8,377 documents on its website under the heading "comments received/responses".

      In 2014, Pacific NorthWest LNG  obtained an environmental certificate from the B.C. government.

      Last year, a bulletin on the band's website stated that it would receive $1.15 billion in benefits over 40 years if the project is approved. That offer was rejected by band members.

      Meanwhile, the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation has posted a series of answers on its website to questions asked by band members.

      One question asks if people are being paid off, i.e. receiving benefits from LNG developers.

      "Absolutely not," the website states. "The Band has policies approved by membership that govern payments to councillors. Additionally, Canada’s Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act prevents companies from offering public officials (including councillors) individual benefits or inducements."

      In an August 19 news release following release of the B.C. government's climate plan, Green party Leader Andrew Weaver pointed out that the B.C. Liberals have amended the Clean Energy Act "to exclude emissions for liquefaction" from the province's LNG industry.

      "We have a new Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act that introduces an 'emissions intensity' framework that is more about supporting an LNG industry than limiting emissions," Weaver stated.