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REPORTING · 12th June 2012
Merv Ritchie
End Note Added

Monday, June 11, 2012, once again revealed the skill of media manipulation. Like they did on March 9, the GTS (Gitxsan Treaty Society) had a news release prepared prior to the event and released it through the major media distribution network CNW (Canada News Wire). Correcting or defending against mis-truths, lies and absolute falsehoods is always more difficult after every news organization across the country has published them as truth. Enbridge, with Paul Stanway, and the GTS with Bev Percival, have used CNW, as well as their previous media connections, to mislead all Canadians, First Nations people and non First Nations.

The news release written and issued by Bev Percival on Monday stated the following;

"We are happy to see the R.C.M.P. was able to remove the blockade without incident, though we paid a six month penalty waiting for them to do so," says Gwaans (Bev Clifton Percival), "Throughout it all, we've also listened as unfounded financial allegations were thrown about by the blockaders. They've been demanding an audit of the books. Therefore, as an act of goodwill, we will be voluntarily submitting to an assessment of our books by independent federal auditors."

The first misleading statement is how the RCMP removed the blockade. The second was the statement regarding the “act of goodwill”. The RCMP did not remove anything and the GTS was forced to submit to an audit of their books after it was revealed previous auditors demanded the GTS fire them “due to their screwy practices.” See attached email screen shot.

Had any other media been advised of the negotiated resolution to the blockade, as the GTS was fully capable of doing and had previously done, real independent media may have presented a more balanced perspective. The RCMP were present in large numbers to ensure there was no conflict but they stood back and respected all parties. The Deloitte and Touche auditors arrived from Ottawa, as was required by the Gitxsan people who had blockaded the office since early December, prior to anyone entering the building.

See a complete video of the removal of the blockade by clicking here.

Numerous news releases and media scrums have taken place since early December 2011 regarding the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline proposal and the Gitxsan Treaty Society (GTS). Beginning with Elmer Derrick promoting himself as the Gitxsan Hereditary Chief, he held a news conference set up by Enbridge spokesperson Janet Holder declaring the Gitxsan Nation had partnered with Enbridge. Attached below and also to the article linked below is the entire unedited recording of the news conference and the media scrum which followed.

A listen of the media men and women asking questions will reveal the disbelief in the reporter’s questions and the inability of Derrick to answer them.

Read report on original media news conference and find audio attached here

The immediate headline news however did not reflect these concerns. The Sun Media Chain, which Enbridge’s main media communications person, Paul Stanway, ran for over a decade, featured a bold front page headline stating “Gitxsan Supports Enbridge Pipeline”. This came on a day when the Gitxsan Nation was mourning at a funeral of a truly respected Hereditary Chief and elder. The Nation was shocked and outraged. The GTS offices were immediately boarded up and the true Hereditary Chiefs issued a directive firing the staff of the GTS; Elmer Derrick, Bev Percival Clifton and Gordon Sebastian.

This did not slow the media manipulation down. The following week the Sun Media chain featured an editorial by Elmer Derrick promoting himself once again as the Gitxsan Hereditary Chief.

The Gitxsan people have been in conflict with the GTS for many years, which have been featured in news stories dating back to March 1996 when 18 Gitxsan Chiefs and supporters attempted to get rid of Gordon Sebastian and the Uncle of Bev Percival, Don Ryan, for the same reasons as today. A letter of termination signed by 31 people stated Ryan and Gordon Sebastian brought shame to the Chiefs and the Gitxsan Nation. Sixteen years later Ryan’s niece, Bev Percival, and Gordon Sebastian remain operating a society which has been declared to be operating illegally, refusing to adhere to the Gitxsan Ayook (Gitxsan Laws) exactly as was claimed in March 1996.

A court case initiated by those opposed to the GTS in 2008 claimed the GTS was not legally representing the Gitxsan Nation and demanded the society stop claiming it was.

It took until a new organization, the Gitxsan Unity Movement (GUM), ended up in court facing an injunction to remove the blockade they had erected for a judge to discover the GTS was in fact not legally operating. On January 10, 2012, Judge McEwen had declared the society was operating illegally. Read report here. The GTS did not produce their own news release on their illegality until over a week later after they attempted to correct their non-compliance with the laws. News release here

On March 9, 2012, Bev Percival had become proficient at abusing the CNW service and issued another misleading news release. This news release by Percival, circulated by CNW, declared the Judge determined the GTS was a legal entity. The March 9th hearing was still in session on Friday when the news release was published and at the conclusion of the hearing the Judge had made no such pronouncement.

Judge McEwen stated he would attempt to reach a decision on the evidence presented, as quickly as possible, but no decision was handed down.

The news release premeditated the decision by the Judge boldly stated in the headline and in the contents the Judge declared the GTS is legal and always has been. It was a lie yet it was repeated by news organizations across the country.

Read about it here

This dilemma, major media organizations simply repeating as fact what ever any organization produces for them to reprint, has local first nations peoples, British Columbians and Canadians confused. Who knows what to believe anymore?

The truth regarding the GTS, Gordon Sebastian, Bev Percival and Elmer Derrick is nothing like what most other media represent. Like all peoples in the western world who struggle against corruption and manipulation by their governments, it is no different for the Gitxsan. The only blessing is how the local Hazelton RCMP detachment determined to keep the peace and allow the Gitxsan Hereditary Cheifs to retain some semblance of dignity.

It is sad how the other local and outside media allow themselves to portray it as something different, such as how the GTS, like other western governments, want their story represented. The truth is not in the eye of the beholder, it is in the words of the media release writer, nothing more and nothing less. And in the case of the Gitxsan, it is Percival and Sebastian who understand how to produce a spin in their favour, regardless of how long they have be functioning illegally. And as for Enbridge, Paul Stanway is the master. He continues to claim, and it is often repeated, the Gitxsan are still on board with Enbridge even after Percival's own news releases claim the opposite.

And yet more spin.


Two News Releases were issued on June 11, 2012. One by the GTS and one by the GUM. Note the wording in each. One was written prior to the event and one was written after it happened.

GTS News Release

GUM News Release

Read both and note the differences, in respect and context.
Bev Percival
Bev Percival