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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Returning tracks is just an excuse not to fund rail

Decision on rail inconsistent with government’s actions on natural resources, says letter writer
Giving rail corridor land back to the Snaw-Naw-As First Nation is not about reconciliation, it’s about finding an excuse to not fund this needed infrastructure, says letter writer. (News Bulletin file photo)

To the editor,

Re: Canada, B.C. announce Island Rail Corridor lands being returned to First Nation, March 14.

Ostensibly in the name of supporting ongoing commitments to reconciliation, more than half of our railway has now been stranded, ending the possibility of eliminating a way to rid us of parked tankers while committing people and businesses north of Nanaimo to the more polluting, more dangerous, and far more expensive motor vehicle.

If our senior levels of government are actually committed to reconciling to the first keepers of this land then they will immediately end subsidies to the extremely toxic practice of fracking for gas in the northeast portion of B.C., as demanded by First Nations there, force pipeline companies to negotiate with First Nations in good faith before ramming through their unceded territories, terminate the Site C dam (condemned by the United Nations for riding rough-shod over legitimate Indigenous concerns), and cease giving out logging permits on the land of First Nations who are opposed to this wholesale destruction.

No, giving land back to the Snaw-Naw-As First Nation is not about reconciliation (as worthy as is this cause), it’s about finding an excuse to not fund this needed infrastructure, one that could benefit First Nations and the rest of us.

If the province were actually committed to modernizing our railway, and since the province isn’t about to return the land occupied by the highway in the name of reconciliation, perhaps they should pay to move the railway to adjacent to the highway as it bisects the reserve?

Don’t count on any of these options seeing the light of day.

Ian Gartshore, Nanaimo

The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of Black Press Media or the Nanaimo News Bulletin.

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