Undermining Indigenous leadership by insinuating foreign funding is racist: Stand.earth reacts to Andrew Wilkinson

February 28, 2020

Rhetoric over our organization’s funding feeds into the increasingly divisive and xenophobic discourse sweeping our globe — and deeply patronizing to Indigenous leadership.

Unceded Coast Salish Territories (VANCOUVER, BC) — Stand.earth is deeply disturbed by BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson’s racist remarks in the Legislature, further feeding into the increasingly divisive and xenophobic discourse sweeping our globe. 

Blockades in support of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary leadership’s stand against the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline have galvanized momentum from coast to coast, and are the direct result of Indigenous leadership and organizing. It is not only patronizing, but racist, to undermine their efforts by alluding to their interests being foreign-driven.

“Mr. Wilkinson and the BC Liberal Party’s grandstanding and accusations against us today are not only racist, they are an embarrassing attempt to score cheap political points,” said Tzeporah Berman, International Program Director, Stand.Earth. “At a moment in history when BC is struggling with two very difficult questions, how to achieve reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, and how to tackle the climate crisis, British Columbians deserve better from our elected leaders.”

“Foreign-funded” is a term intended to tap into peoples’ fear of the other — a dangerous game to play. The term is a red herring to distract Canadians from real issues like climate change. Furthermore, our organization’s success depends not just on foundations, but largely on public support from thousands of Canadians.

“Mr. Wilkinson’s suggestion that somehow Indigenous-led opposition to pipelines is part of a foreign plot is not only ridiculous, it also betrays his paternalisic and outdated attitudes towards Indigenous Peoples,” said Sven Biggs, Climate and Energy Campaigner for Stand.earth. “The Wet’suwet’en don’t need us to tell them what is right or wrong for the traditional territories that they have protected since time immemorial.”   

At Stand.earth, we remain committed to our work to stop climate change and keep Earth’s warming below 1.5 degrees celsius — the threshold indicated by international scientists — to ensure a livable climate for future generations. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has noted, new oil and gas development and infrastructure is inconsistent with these goals.  At Stand.Earth, we are committed to respecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples to free, prior and informed consent. 


Media contacts: 

Ziona Eyob, Communications Manager, ziona@stand.earth, 514-999-6596
Sven Biggs, Climate & Energy Campaigner, sven@stand.earth, 778-882-8354