On August 30, 2018 at 6:00 a.m. the Federal Court of Appeal handed down a landmark ruling on a challenge of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX) by the Squamish Nation and other First Nations and environmental groups.
The court ruled there had not been adequate consultation by the federal government, a significant win for First Nations.
No matter which way the decision went, Squamish Nation leaders wanted maximum positive news coverage. Peak Communicators worked closely with the Squamish Nation to make its position understood within its own membership and across the country.
Calling on Peak’s extensive media experience we knew that all media would want instant reaction, even before the decision was fully understood. Media is a competitive business and if Squamish Nation leaders granted one outlet the first interview, all other outlets would be angered by what they would see as favouritism. That would taint media coverage on all the other outlets, turning a positive story into a negative one. We advised against any interviews until after the 9:30 a.m. news conference.
Working with Squamish Nation leaders and the legal team, Peak prepared two short holding statements in the days leading up to the decision: one based on a positive outcome and the second a negative outcome. The purpose of these statements was to have the Squamish Nation reaction to the decision included in the news cycle until we held the news conference.
The positive statement was edited and distributed across the country, directly to the desks of news decision-makers and instantly began appearing in news coverage before 8:00.
The strategy ensured the Squamish Nation was heard, with all media feeling they had been dealt with fairly.
Peak began preparing the news conference site before 6:00 in the morning. A large turnout was expected. Approximately 50 media members attended, representing all major news networks in Canada and local news outlets. The three major TV networks, CBC, CTV and Global all carried the news conference live.
After the event, Peak spent the next several hours coordinating additional radio, newspaper and television interviews for Squamish Nation spokesperson and Councillor Khelsilem.
Squamish Nation appeared in over 120 positive news stories
At least 40 different newspaper articles including the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, National Post and Vancouver Sun
58 TV hits with coverage on all major newscasts across Canada including CBC’s The National – the messaging was clear: First Nations needed to be respectfully and properly consulted by government; a meaningful and deep two-way dialogue is required
TV interviews with Khelsilem on BNN Bloomberg and CBC’s Power and Politics and radio talk show interviews on various CBC shows
The Nature Trust of British Columbia, a leading land conservation organization based in BC, recently called for donations to acquire and protect the Salmon Estuary River on Vancouver Island. Here lies a critical land that provides a year-round habitat for some of BC’s rarest wildlife and fish species, including Great Blue Heron, Marbled Murrelet, Northern Pygmy Owl, Roosevelt Elk, and eight species of salmonids.
The Nature Trust of British Columbia is a non-profit land conservation organization that acquires and manages ecologically significant land in BC.
Peak has worked alongside The Nature Trust of British Columbia since 2013 to boost brand awareness, and promote the organization’s mandate to exclusively protect land in the province.
Peak created and executed a streamlined, cost-effective media relations campaign that generated widespread coverage across British Columbia, Washington state and Canada-wide.
The campaign platform, in line with the organization’s tag line, is “Conserving land in B.C. for future generations.”
Over an 18 month campaign, Peak has generated over 110 pieces of media coverage for the organization, including in The Vancouver Sun, The Huffington Post, Global BC, VanCity Buzz, CBC Kelowna, Global Okanagan, CTV Vancouver Island and much more.
The Lax Kw’alaams and Peak have worked successfully together on a number of initiatives, including the launch of an engineering joint venture and the rebrand of their fish processing plant in northern B.C. The band recently approached Peak to help raise awareness of the success of the fish plant both at federal government and local community level. The band wanted to demonstrate the profitability of the plant and its positive impact on the local economy, as well as engage key government stakeholders. The plant’s prosperity was also a chance for the band to demonstrate the success of the federal government’s Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative (PICFI). The band was hoping for the program to continue and was looking for a positive story to coincide with a federal delegation’s visit to the community.
Peak utilized the economic milestone of the fish plant’s payroll hitting $1.5 million annually as a news hook in order to pitch a news release to B.C. and Alberta print, TV and radio media. Peak secured numerous interviews for the fish plant’s general manager.
Peak achieved quality coverage in a range of print and broadcast outlets in both Vancouver, Northern, B.C. and Alberta including:
The front page of the Vancouver Sun business section
CBC Daybreak North
The Northern View
C. Local News
According to the band’s administrator Wayne Drury: “The coverage from the Vancouver Sun story alone was worth $5 million to the community.”
The Vancouver Sun cover story appeared a day before the visit from the federal ministers, prompting them to publicly champion the story, the band and the PICFI program. Minister of Industry James Moore tweeted about the fish plant and engaged in a robust social conversation on the topic. The PICFI program is currently under review, but the probability of an extension is high.