Protesters standing in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs are only inflaming an already intense situation, and have disregarded the years of consultations conducted with First Nations along the pipeline route, says Ellis Ross, who served for 14 years on one of the 20 elected band councils that signed an agreement with Coastal GasLink.

“There’s a lot of people that aren’t from these communities, that aren’t Aboriginal, that are saying hereditary leadership has full authority, and they’re not doing it based on any facts. It would be like me saying that the elected leadership of B.C. and Canada has no authority, and it’s the Queen who has all authority,” said Ross, now the Liberal MLA for Skeena, B.C. “That would be a very destabilizing remark to make. It’s a very irresponsible remark to make.”