An Unending Enigma

Members of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation have been preventing company workers from getting through their checkpoints, asserting they can only pass if they have consent from hereditary leaders.
Members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation have been preventing company workers from getting through their checkpoints, asserting they can only pass if they have consent from hereditary leaders.

My oh my, but there must be days when progressive Aboriginal leaders and the companies that genuinely try to do business with them must want to gnash their teeth and scream in frustration.

Monday might have been one such, wherein a company — Coastal GasLink, operated by TransCanada Corp. — which appears to have done everything right ran up against the usual Canadian wall of impossibility, intransigence and fractured Indigenous loyalties.

This time it’s about two protest camps set up to thwart Coastal GasLink’s efforts to get to remote forest service roads near the town of Houston, about 1,000 kilometres north of Vancouver, and thereby gain access to the construction site of the company’s proposed natural gas pipeline.

No less than a B.C. Supreme Court judge, Justice Marguerite Church, last month granted the company an interim injunction prohibiting protesters from impeding contractors and from threatening or intimidating them.

The pipeline, which would run from Dawson Creek in the northeast to Kitimat in the west, has been in the works since 2012.

Some of the pipeline will be built on unceded traditional Wet’suwet’en First Nation lands over which, because of a Supreme Court of Canada decision in 1997, no Aboriginal title has been determined.

Coastal GasLink has negotiated agreements with all of the elected bands along the 670-kilometre proposed route, for whom the project promises real jobs and money for people who live without the opportunity, not to mention creature comforts, their non-Aboriginal cousins in southern Canada take for granted.

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See Also:

(1) 14 arrested as RCMP break gate at Gidimt’en camp checkpoint set up to stop pipeline company access

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