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Haidas Wear ‘No LNG’ Shirts While Paddling Will and Kate in Canoe

The royals were treated to a more political welcome than expected when they ventured out into the waters of BC.
September 30, 2016, 9:41pm

William and Kate embark on a coastal voyage in a replica Haida war canoe. Photo by Tim Rooke/CP.

As they paddled Will and Kate in a replica Haida war canoe on Friday in the waters off Skidegate, Haida Gwaii, in Northern British Columbia, several members of the Haida Nation wore bright blue "No LNG" t-shirts in silent protest of a massive liquefied natural gas project near Prince Rupert, BC.

Protesters showed up in dress shirts, but then removed them to reveal the "No LNG" shirts underneath, a Haida member told VICE News. Another group of Haida community members continued their protest on land, wearing the tees and holding signs declaring "United Against Tankers."

Other protesters showed up wearing orange t-shirts for "Orange Shirt Day" to remember the children who were forced to attend residential schools in Canada.

A Facebook event dedicated to the LNG protest stated: "The Royals have expressed great interest in the environment—let's get them onside!"

It's a sea of Orange Shirt Day shirts and blue No LNG signs as students line up to see the royals tour the Carving House — Andrew Hudson (@andybythebeach)September 30, 2016

The protest followed the Canadian government's decision on Tuesday to approve an LNG project which is slated to sit across the water from Haida Gwaii off the BC coast. The Council of the Haida Nation has long opposed Petronas' LNG proposal because it would export the fuel on tankers. The Nation fears the increased tanker traffic would put its coast at risk and disrupt the area's delicate marine ecosystem. In 2014, a Russian cargo ship carrying 400 tonnes of bunker fuel nearly ran aground on Haida Gwaii, which only increased those fears. The opposition to the LNG project also stems from other First Nations' opposition to the project on their territories, and because the natural gas is extracted through fracking in northeast BC. Ahead of the visit, Haida elders, matriarchs and community members met to discuss how to both respect their royal visitors and also make it known that they did not accept the federal government's approval of the project. Though the Haidas' "No LNG" t-shirts appeared in photos in international media, the protest itself received little, if any, attention. Follow Hilary on Twitter.