Here is one fact about the $6.6-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline in northwest British Columbia that may not be top of mind just yet: All 20 elected Indigenous groups across the 670 km route have signed agreements supporting the pipeline.
That’s right, 20 out of 20, 100 per cent, though the pipeline is still not supported by one smaller group led by Wet’suwet’en hereditary clan leaders. Without knowing that 100 per cent of elected Indigenous council support the project, there’s no way for any of us to fully grasp what’s happening in this pipeline dispute, correct? It’s vital context. That’s why I’m focusing on it.
It’s also why I support the dozens of RCMP who worked on the behalf of those 20 elected Indigenous councils this weekend to arrest 29 protesters who allegedly defied a court order and blockaded access roads, trapping 500 workers at work camps.
The conflict ignited an explosion of controversy. Here’s my take on the winners and losers.
Winners: clarity and context. Most media reports on the conflict only mention that 20 out of 20 elected band councils support this pipeline way down in the story, if it’s mentioned at all. And there’s rarely any description of the nature of the Wet’suwet’en internal dispute.