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9 Jan 2019

Canada: Indigenous activists protest Coastal Gaslink pipeline construction & allege violations of UNDRIP; incl. company comments

In January 2019, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested 14 indigenous activists protecting a proposed natural gap pipeline that would run through the traditional territory of B.C.'s Wet’suwet’en First Nation. The police were enforcing a December 2018 court injunction that gave Coastal GasLink (a subsidiary of TC Energy) access to the road where Wet’suwet’en people against the pipeline had erected a checkpoint. TC Energy says it signed agreements with all First Nations along the proposed pipeline route. However, hereditary chiefs have said that under Wet'suwet'en law the band councils don't have authority or jurisdiction over what happens in the nation's traditional territory and have "condemn[ed] the RCMP’s use of intimidation, harassment, and ongoing threats of forceful intervention and removal of the Wet’suwet’en land defenders from Wet’suwet’en unceded territory." 

On 31 December 2019, the Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled that Coastal GasLink suffered irreparable harm after protestors built blockades and camps to stop work crews from accessing parts of the natural gas pipeline and granted both an injunction and enforcement order. Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs representing all five clans of the Wet’suwet’en Nation rejected this decision and urged the province to "meaningfully uphold its commitment to implement UNDRIP, and to withdraw the RCMP from our territories where they oppress our people and criminalize our authority to the benefit of industry."

In February 2022, Wet'suwet'en land defenders filed a submission with the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) alleging that the Canadian government violated Wet'suet'en jurisdiction and UNDRIP by allowing the pipeline to proceed on Indigenous territory. The submission also calls attention to police violence against land defenders resisting the pipeline, including the most recent raid on land defender camps in November 2021 when thirty-two people were arrested.

In September 2022, TC Energy began preparations to drill under Wet'suwet'en waterway, Wedzin Kwa (Morice River).

In a statement, TC Energy said that it is "proud of the relationships we’ve built with all 20 First Nations along the corridor, the significant benefits we continue to deliver to Indigenous and local communities, and the role we are playing in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions." It will "continue efforts to engage with any affected groups to ensure public safety while our field crews continue to progress their critical activities."

In March 2023, it was reported RCMP arrested five land defenders in the Wet’suwet’en camp and village site after a Coastal GasLink security worker filed a complaint. The arrested land defenders allegedly gained injuries during the arrest. The article also tracked that RCMP have made nearly 100 arrests over the past four years, during conflicts related to the Coastal GasLink pipeline project. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre asked TC Energy, LNG Canada and their joint venture participants, and Cedar LNG to respond. LNG Canada, Shell, Mitsubishi Corporation, and KOGAS responded. TC Energy, Petronas, PetroChina, and Cedar LNG did not.

Company Responses

TC Energy (formerly Transcanada) View Response
LNG Canada View Response
Shell plc View Response
Mitsubishi Corporation (part of Mitsubishi Group) View Response
KOGAS (Korea Gas Corporation) View Response

No Response

PetroChina (part of China National Petroleum Corporation)

No Response

Cedar LNG

No Response