May 28th, 2024

Why block pipeline that will provide welcome employment?

By Letter to the Editor on March 13, 2020.

Re: Letter of Dave Sheppard, “who owns unceded land in B.C.”

Dave Sheppard is probably right. But I don’t see what that has to do with a pipeline crossing Wet’suwet’en land. Twenty duly-elected chiefs and councils have nothing against it. And they are corporate owners of said lands. They rightly see it as a welcome source of employment, especially for the younger generation. So why would a few hereditary chiefs try to block this project? It shows they don’t give a hoot about their own people.

Now we have the Mohawks in the East pitted against tribes in the Wet’suwet’en territory. And then there is Premier Horgan preaching to protesters to heed the rule of the law, so his pet project, the GasLink pipeline, can proceed. This is the same guy who tried everything in his power to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline, including disregarding the rule of the law.

Now, Mr. Horgan, you have a taste of your own medicine. So, suffer. He is just a puppet of the Green Party. And so, we all know the Green Party is against everything that smells of oil. But in the meantime, enjoying all the benefits of oil. Go figure. This country is so hopelessly divided. Province against province. Tribe against tribe. And absolutely no leadership from the guys in their ivory towers in Ottawa. So, what’s next? Anarchy? Vigilantism? Impossible? It’s already happening. Something has to give. Anyways, that’s the way I see it.

George Van Bostelen


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“And so, we all know the Green Party is against everything that smells of oil” George they are all hypocrites in the worst way! I wonder how many of them do not think twice when jumping on their jets and in their limousines just to preach their hatred of anything oil. So difficult to take this eco-religion seriously in any form.

Southern Albertan

Elected chiefs and councils are still, answerable to the federal government, which could be a problem. “Band councils are a structure that was introduced by the federal government through the Indian Act.” Hereditary chiefs, are not, and therein lies a problem, still, on the rights of hereditary chiefs re: unceded territory. Federal Liberal and Conservative governments, have had the ability to get this ‘fixed’ and have not. Again, it sure is something that blockades had to bring this to the fore.
It means that if hereditary chiefs have control of their unceded territory, corporate activity there, might not happen, or, they might have more say on how and what would happen…..the whole bottom line.
It might be helpful to read this:
“Band councils, hereditary chiefs — here’s what to know about Indigenous governance.”


so.ab – well stated. thank you for the link. too bad j57 and the writer will not read or digest it. it runs counter to their belief system. band councils, like our elected scammers, rarely exist to serve the big picture, just their selfish needs. the electoral process clearly renders us with the worst leadership – lack of it, in fact. rather than wise, knowledgeable people, we elect hubris, ego, puppets, clever/sly, greed. also keep in mind, j57 and gvb, the band council system was imposed upon the indigenous; their system of governance prior was far more serviceable and representative of the needs of the whole.
as for the refrain of providing jobs – the vast majority of jobs related to pipelines are temporary…less than a couple of years. meanwhile, the fallout from spills related to them last for generations.


Temporary work is better than no work at all.


Well biff I did read it and i did digest all of it but to bad that gave me indigestion. Would appear to me they can’t even agree amongst themselves on this one project! That’s when we need the Feds to come in and overrule all these feuding factions. Especially for the long-term prosperity of the whole!
This project is about clean Natural Gas movement from point A to B not oil that can potentially leak from pipelines as you stated in your last couple of sentences. You should re-read the article and re-digest its contents again and if that does not help, your local drug-store can provide you with over-the-counter medication to assist.


Mr. Van Bostelen offers the reader his perspective on this entire situation. And, it is perspective that plays an important role in contributing to an holistic assessement of anything, really.

In reference to Mr. Van Bostelen’s letter, as Southern Alberta has already pointed out, elected band chiefs and councils are an imposition of the Indian Act. Historical Indigneous governments are not copies of or models of the Westminster Parliamentary system. Therefore, the source of disputes between various groups comprising the Wet’suwet’en Nation can be said to originate from an imposed governance system creating conflict within the framework of an historical governance system.

In regard to an historic understanding of Indigenous relationship to land, it is erroneous to assume that it involves ‘corporate ownership’. This is not an Indigenous frame of reference. It is rooted in Western European history.

It is also incorrect to state that the Mohawk protest actions are ‘pitted against’ the Wet’suet’en, when the “Mohawk Council of Akwesasne is standing in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en and Unist’ot’en Camp supporters in their efforts to protect their traditional land…”

It is also important to understand that this particular tract of unceded Wet’suet’en territory is considered to be sacred in that the “hereditary chiefs, along with Unist’ot’en camp supporters, object to the pipeline on the grounds that it could contaminate land that is a part of who they are and that they rely on to harvest food and medicines and draw water. The land [also] plays an integral role in programming at the Unist’ot’en healing center.”

With regard to Premier Horgan, his actions appear to contradict his word in that the NDP government of British Columbia passed Bill 41 – 2019 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

Additionally, rather than Mr. Horgan being a “puppet of the Green Party”, would it not be more correct to state that Mr. Horgan is more inclined to be beholden to corporate power? “The primary problem we’re facing [is]…the fact that excessive private influence has become a normal and legal part of our system. To put it more bluntly, our political system has evolved into a sophisticated enabler of institutionalized mass, bribery.” In other words, the corporate lobby dominates to direct government policy at all levels of government.

How might one’s perspective add to and/or change points in the discussion?

Consider how governments and the RCMP have responded to human health concerns expressed by the Wet’suwet’en in reponse to the Coastal Gas Link project and those concerns for methylmercury poisoning as a result of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Newfoundland and Labrador, for example. The concerns express represent the Indigenous perspective.

Now, contrast and compare this to the response of the federal and provincial governments in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In essence, the country is blockading itself in order to curtail the spread of the virus and, to date, the RCMP have not been called in to enforce any public health measures that have been put in place. These public health policies represent the perspective of the dominant government(s).

In both cases a similar concern exists – the health and well-being of a nation(s).

It is the perspective which differs.

Many may agree with Mr. Van Bostelen’s concern over the lack of federal leadership; but, many may also agree there exists an absence of strong, bold, forward-thinking leadership at many levels of government.

Mr. Van Bostelen asks, “What’s next?” Well, this is nearly impossible to predict. Here’s hoping that wisdom will prevail.


Coastal Gas Link and Muskrat Falls are not even comparable. One is a natural gas pipeline, the other a hydroelectric damn. And how is exactly is there a human health concern from a natural gas pipeline? They run everywhere and have been around for 60-70 years. There is one going to your house.


While Coastal Gas Link and Muskrat Falls represent two different energy sector projects, the impact to human health occurs through the disruption of and/or potential contamination of the country food web, the traditional subsistence food system.

Both the Coastal Gaslink project and the Muskrat Falls project impact traditional food security. Disruption to migratory animal corridors, contamination of water sources and destruction of traditional plant species are associated with the Coastal Gaslink project. The reality of methylmercury poisoning associated with Muskrat Falls is widely known.

That gas lines go to residential and other buildings in this community is irrelevant to this discussion as the majority of residents do not rely on a country food web for food security.


Yawn. The line will be built. It will bring jobs (and food security). Everyone will be fine. Happily ever after. The end.

diplomacy works

In fact it might well threaten traditional food security like trapping, hunting and harvesting as well as salmon runs and drinking water.


No. It won’t. It doesn’t anywhere else. it won’t threatening anything there either. But let 5 grumpy old men kick out 3 woman for the hereditary chief position and then rule the roost, even though 80% of the community and all bands supported the darn thing. Cash will get thrown about, a few acknowledgements here and there, a couple of concessions. Done.The pipeline will be built.

diplomacy works

Are you seriously trying to tell me no pipeline has ever leaked into a population’s drinking water and rendered it unfit for human consumption?

That cut lines for pipeline construction have never scared away game and rendered hunting more difficult – not to mention opened up area for human recreational pursuits like off roading, random camping, etc that all have a deleterious affect on wildlife?

It’s one thing to be a pipeline booster, another to completely ignore history and current risk.