Canadian Energy Weekly Round-Up: February 24, 2020
Canada continues to be in the grips of protests that are shutting down roads and rail lines, impacting thousands of commuters. Here are the top news stories covering Canada’s energy landscape:
Fringe Groups Driving Protests Against Coastal GasLink Project
Protests against Teck Frontier’s Coastal Gaslink pipeline project began when a small group of hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs voiced opposition to the project. The protests are occurring despite the fact that Teck Frontier secured permission and approval from all First Nations, and their elected band councils, who live along the pipeline’s route.
Extreme environmental activists wasted no time in amplifying this opposition through disruptive protests. Now, groups like Extinction Rebellion are using support from Wet’suwet’en nation members as an indication of the legitimacy of their protests.
Writing for The Globe and Mail, Adam Pankratz—a lecturer at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia—shares why these protests are worrisome: they not only disregard the rule of law but also the opinions of First Nations and a majority of Canadians:
“The court injunctions granting the company access to construction camp 9A through Wet’suwet’en traditional territory must be respected if the rule of law is to have any value … It must be said that the right to peaceful protest and for people to voice opposition is essential in any democracy. The protesters have had this opportunity. Now they are rejecting the courts in such a way that chaos has ensued—affecting those who might be sympathetic to the protesters’ message—and the rule of law risks being tarnished.”
Extinction Rebellion Misrepresents K’òmoks First Nation
One of the groups active in protests—Extinction Rebellion Nanaimo—had to issue an apology for misrepresenting the K’òmoks First Nation. In a statement, the Extinction Rebellion chapter said it was “defending [its] home in K’òmoks Territory with the aid of some K’òmoks Nation people.” K’òmoks First Nation Chief Nicole Rempel shared her disappointment that the Nation’s name was used to promote the protest as it “was organized by non-indigenous Comox Valley residents …[who] in no way represent Kòmoks.”
Extinction Rebellion was compelled to apologize for this example of appropriating First Nations voices to lend legitimacy to the protests:
“Although there were K’òmoks First Nation individuals present, we did not have the permission of their elected Chief and council for the action. We do not represent this group …we were trying to find an adequate description of the various members comprising our group.”
First Nations in Quebec Support Further Resource Development
Despite these protests, First Nations are continuing to work with energy companies and governments to develop Canada’s natural resources. This week, Quebec and Cree leaders reached an agreement on initiatives that would benefit the province of Quebec and the wider Cree community. As the National Post reports:
“[Premier Francois Legault and Abel Bosum, Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees,] announced a multi-million dollar feasibility study that will look into developing the James Bay territory, with costs split equally between the Quebec and Cree governments. Just one potential project, to expand the northern rail system and facilitate lithium mining and transport, is evaluated at $4.6 billion.”
For more Canadian energy news and setting the record straight on the day’s top stories about the oil and natural gas industry, visit Canadian Energy Network.