The Coastal GasLink Pipeline
Coastal GasLink/TC Energy is constructing a 670-kilometer fracked gas pipeline from Dawson Creek, B.C. to the coastal town of Kitimat, where an LNG processing plant would be located.
The CGL pipeline route passes through the territory of the Wet’suwet’en peoples.
In 1997, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Wet’suwet’en peoples, as represented by their hereditary leaders, had not given up rights and title to their 22,000 square kilometre territory. CGL does not have consent from the Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs and is in violation of Wet'suwet'en traditional law. The Wet’suwet’en continue to stand up and defend their land from this extractive project.
Despite the COVID-19 global pandemic, international solidarity calls for an end to all construction, and an eviction notice by Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs, CGL and RCMP continue to illegally occupy sovereign Wet'suwet'en Yintah. Their presence on the territory puts communities at risk; endangers Indigenous womxn, two-spirit, and non-binary people with the building of man camps along the pipeline route; and threatens land, water, climate, and air.
Wet’suwet’en traditional law and resistance to the project
The Wet’suwet’en laws are and were distinct from those of all other Indigenous Peoples. The hereditary chiefs of each of five clans are the title-holders over all Wet’suwet’en land, as cited by the Supreme Court in Delgamuukw v. British Columbia (1997). This means they have the right to permit or disallow entry to their land. Trespassing is one of the worst offences in Wet’suwet’en law, punishable by eviction or banishment.
The hereditary chiefs are following their traditional law. As a colonial state, Canada puts common or civil law above Indigenous law. In addition, there is a significant difference between band council Chiefs and Hereditary Chiefs. Band council chiefs were imposed by the Canadian government to abolish Hereditary Chief governance. Hereditary Chief governance traditionally has jurisdiction over relationships with specific areas of land. The Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs have title over the land - a fact that was recognized by the Canadian government in the Supreme Court case Delgamuukw versus British Columbia (1997). To respect Indigenous rights, Canada must respect Indigenous law.
Even though British Columbia Premier John Horgan’s government passed a provincial law for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) to be implemented, and despite the Delgamuukw court decision, he continues to allow the project to be pushed through without consent from hereditary leaders.
Who is funding the CGL pipeline?
Coastal GasLink is a multinational project. Canada’s TC Energy, Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AimCo), and KKR own the majority of shares in this project. They have partners including (South) Korea Gas Corporation, LNG Canada, Japan’s Mitsubishi, PetroChina, and Petronas of Malaysia.
Twenty-one banks, led by JPMorgan Chase, BMO, CIBC, and Deutsche Bank, have provided funds. Other funding banks include Alberta Treasury Branches, Desjardins, Export Development Canada, National Bank of Canada, RBC, Scotiabank, and TD from Canada; Bank of America, Citi, and Wells Fargo from the United States; Barclays, Crédit Agricole, Credit Suisse, and HSBC from Europe; and Mizuho, MUFG, and SMBC from Japan.
A Report from the Wet'suwet'en Resistance Camp
An MEJC volunteer recently got back from a short trip to Wet'suwet'en territory in response to a call for support. Read his account of what's happening there on our blog.
Resources to learn more and take action
LNG Canada registered nine in-house provincial lobbyists on same day Unist'ot'en matriarchs were arrested
Wet’suwet’en Supporter Toolkit 2020 from the official Unist’ot’en website
An info sheet from Simon Fraser University exploring the legal background of Wet’suwet’en
[FEB 2020 Update] Who's banking the Coastal GasLink pipeline? - The Understory
Untangling the 'rule of law' in the Coastal GasLink pipeline standoff
News updates from the Office of the Wet’suwet’en
Beyond bloodlines: How the Wet’suwet’en hereditary system at the heart of the Coastal GasLink conflict works
Link to the film ‘Invasion’: http://unistoten.camp/media/invasion/
Video: John Borrows on the Wet'suwet'en and the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline
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