Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Poking the social media bear

B.C. Premier Christy Clark's trip to Britain to promote the Great Bear Rainforest, as crews clean up a fuel spill off the coast, prompted contrasting reactions on social media

From right to left: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge; Prince William; and British Columbia Premier Christy Clark listen to a conservation officer during a tour of the Great Bear Rainforest in Bella Bella, B.C., during William and Catherine's visit to the province in September.

From right to left: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge; Prince William; and British Columbia Premier Christy Clark listen to a conservation officer during a tour of the Great Bear Rainforest in Bella Bella, B.C., during William and Catherine’s visit to the province in September.

Chris Wattie/Reuters

British Columbia's premier travelled to London's Buckingham Palace this week for an event to promote the Great Bear Rainforest with the Queen. The expansive area on B.C.'s central coast was the focus of a decades-long battle to protect it from development that culminated in a historic agreement signed by the provincial government earlier this year. It was also added to the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy during a visit in September by Prince William and his wife, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge.

But at the same time Premier Christy Clark was in the United Kingdom celebrating the province's role in protecting the area, crews continued to clean up a fuel spill caused when a tugboat ran aground and sank last month off the community of Bella Bella, leaking more than 107,000 litres of diesel and 2,240 litres of engine oils into the Seaforth Channel. It took 33 days to remove the stricken vessel from the reef and the nearby Heiltsuk First Nation has warned of lasting environmental damage.

Read more: Clark promotes Great Bear Rainforest in U.K. while First Nations battle oil spill

Story continues below advertisement

For subscribers: As premier visits Buckingham Palace, B.C.'s forest industry faces numerous challenges

Related: Duke and Duchess given royal welcome at B.C.'s Great Bear Rainforest

The contrast between the two events was mirrored with conflicting reactions in First Nations communities involved in the Great Bear announcement – all of which played out on social media.

The Royal Family's official account marked the trip by congratulating the agreement to protect the Great Bear Rainforest:

The congratulatory tone was shared by Dallas Smith, who signed the agreement on behalf of the Nanwakolas Tribal Council and has since become a candidate for Ms. Clark's Liberals in next spring's provincial election, and Liberal strategist Michele Cadario.

But Jess Housty, who is the Heiltsuk First Nations' incident commander for the tug spill, pointed out her community is still dealing with the disaster. The tug has finally been raised out of the water — a task that took more than a month — but the cleanup continues.

Others piled on along the same lines.

Story continues below advertisement


Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Latest Videos

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies