But when they got to Ottawa, the chiefs were told that the meeting with LeBlanc was cancelled. LeBlanc, along with Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, were bound for Vancouver where, on Tuesday afternoon, they would announce approval for the $36-billion project.
The chiefs couldn’t believe it. They had jetted from the west coast to meet with the fisheries minister only to find out after landing that LeBlanc was in Vancouver.
“Isn’t that insulting?” said John Ridsdale, one of those chiefs, in a telephone interview Friday after his return home.
“We just sat there, looking at each other, shell-shocked,” Ridsdale said, adding that if LeBlanc and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were members of a B.C. First Nation and did something like that, they would have to publicly atone for it.
“If he was in our territory, he would have to throw a shame feast because he’s done that to high chiefs.”