The divine right of hereditary chiefs to override the desires and needs of their people – by Lawrence Solomon (Financial Post – March 7, 2020)

The hereditary chiefs are in the pockets of anti-pipeline U.S. Tides Foundation, which funds their activities, and others in the well-heeled environmental lobby

Who are these hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nations who are stopping the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern British Columbia? And who gave these chiefs the right to high-handedly override the desires of the native Canadians over whom they claim dominion?

Like the paternalistic rulers of Western nations of old who claimed to rule by divine right — France’s Louis XVI and Russia’s Tsar Nicholas II were their countries’ last specimens — the hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nations are unaccountable anachronisms divorced from the needs of their people.

The desire for development by Canada’s Wet’suwet’en natives could not be more evident. All five Wet’suwet’en bands along the Coastal GasLink pipeline route endorse the project for its economic and social benefits, as seen in public opinion and the votes of all five of their band councils.

Neither are the five Wet’suwet’en bands outliers in their desire for advancement. All 20 band councils along the pipeline route — those most affected — back the project. According to Dale Swampy, president of the National Coalition of Chiefs,

“We believe there are as many as 400 chiefs across the country that want to work with the natural resource industry — including alongside the CGL pipeline right-of-way.” As even a Wet’suwet’en hereditary subchief, concedes, “The truth is most of our members are for the pipeline.”

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