Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Who Wins, the Wet'suwet'en or the Rule of Law?

I 'get' both sides of the argument over the Wet'suwet'en roadblocks in protest of the Coastal Gaslink pipeline. I understand why First Nations and others are staging protests across the country in support of the Wet'suwet'en cause. I also understand the "rule of law" arguments and that these coast to coast protests are causing some economic harm.

Then I draw back and look at the bigger picture. Coastal Gaslink and that other pipeline, Trudeau's Folly, look very different when you think in terms of climate change, the thawing Arctic permafrost and that methane bomb, the wildfires that now ravage the Canadian west, and the very real prospect that our fossil fuel fetish could trigger a mass extinction of life on Earth.

It's when you step back that you see Coastal Gaslink, and Trudeau's Trans-Mountain pipeline, and the proposed Teck bitumen mega-mine in a much clearer light. That's when all my reservations about the Wet'suwet'en roadblocks evaporate.

Then there's this bleating response from the prime minister:
"We recognize the important democratic right — and will always defend it — of peaceful protest. But we are also a country of the rule of law, and we need to make sure those laws are respected."
That's "but" as in 'everything up to this point is bullshit.' He's really good at bullshit. Remember his promises about "social licence" and "First Nations reconciliation"?  Yeah, more bullshit.

The Wet'suwet'en cause doesn't end at Trudeau's "rule of law" bullshit.


Purple library guy said...

I back the Wet'suweten; I think even if I disagreed with them about the pipeline, it's their land and they get to say what goes on it. And I understand why I don't like that pipeline. That LNG, if anyone actually buys it, will make global warming worse, as will the methane leaks from well through pipeline to processing facility. And it's mostly fracked gas, which means poison in the groundwater and all that shit. And it seems to involve big tax giveaways which don't enthuse me as a BC taxpayer. And it may not be economically viable anyway, which means either the taxpayer will be on the hook for even more as governments try perversely to keep it from sinking, or there will have been a ton of ground torn up and resources expended for nothing.

But I don't really understand why the Wet'suweten don't like the pipeline. I'm glad, but I mean, to be honest it's just carrying a gas, it's not like it's going to leak dilbit all over the place; as pipelines go the thing itself is pretty innocuous at a local level.

The Disaffected Lib said...

Nikiforuk contends that they refuse to accept a "take it or leave it" offer. Those that have got a 'better than nothing' deal, after being warned the pipeline was going through either way. The Narwhal had an article exploring how these deals were a way to effect a surrender or compromise of sovereignty. There are only two ways that sovereignty can be lost - by conquest or surrender.

rumleyfips said...

The oily boys seem to prefer no pipeline if they have to pay market transit rights. They haven't gotten past the $24 of beads stage. This isn't meaningful consultation merely colonial fraud.

John's aghast said...

The Wet'suwet'en are doing us all a big favour! When, not if, Coastal GasLink goes under (not economically viable) they will leave the taxpayer with a huge cleanup bill, like all other gas and oil plays have done and are doing in Alberta.
Once the Albertans have cleaned up their mess, perhaps the Wet'suwet'en will reconsider their application. Meanwhile, there's still lots of time. There's no 'Best before date' as long as its sitting in the ground.

Purple library guy said...

Hmmm, I see their point. Really, though, spinning a hypothesis of some conveyance line that was basically a good thing, or neutral except that money was being made and so good in that sense, I think a saner way to deal with it would be to have a set formula enforced by the government: Communities along such lines get 20% of the gross or something, to be divided via a formula based on population, current average income (poor get more), and environmental value damaged. And if a community opposes it, but it ends up going through anyway, they still get the same. This whole setup where private, generally massive, corporations get to make deals individually and try to cheat each separate group as much as possible is vicious.

So then, knowing what they will get out of it and with the wrangling and oppression about that out of the way, communities would be able to decide whether they wanted a relatively known, set quantity.

The Disaffected Lib said...

The problem, PLG, is 20% of what? The royalties the NDP government is collecting are minuscule. That's not negligence. It reflects the reality that our LNG, by the time it's extracted, transmitted, compressed and then shipped to Asia by tankers cannot fetch a viable price.

As Nikiforuk pointed out, to sell LNG to Asia, we need a price of $9 per million BTU. Asian prices are now $5.5/million BTU. That means the federal and BC governments have to give the gas away. If they can't make money from it, where will the cash come from for First Nations?

“Responsible” subsidies for the foreign-funded LNG industry now include low royalties; nearly $1 billion worth of royalty credits; discounted electricity prices; reduced corporate income taxes; free water for fracking; reduced carbon taxes and the deferral of provincial sales taxes during construction. The Canadian government even invested $275 million in LNG Canada!

"These subsidies, however, still can’t make LNG economic. In 2018 the Canadian Energy Research Institute examined the economics of LNG.
It concluded that Western Canada LNG would be $1 to $3 more expensive than the current spot price in Japan of $8 per million (BTU) and needed more subsidies and tax credits.

"CERI then calculated what the LNG industry would need in terms of future prices to remain economically viable: a market price of $8.99 per million BTU or higher in Asia to break even. Or an oil price of approximately $80 or higher to break even under long-term LNG contracts.

"Those conditions don’t exist and show no signs of coming into being.

"A global LNG supply glut has collapsed prices in Asia to as low as $5.5 per million BTU in Japan and India. Analysts say the glut could last years."

Purple library guy said...

Mound, please note I don't actually support any current pipeline projects, because as far as I know nobody is proposing pipelines for things other than fossil fuels and I want us to stop using fossil fuels. I was talking about the general concept of things being run, for profit, across territory. Say you had a maple syrup pipeline, or something. And I was saying it would be better to have a law, saying that for all such things, people in the territories the thing passes through get, between them all, a substantial chunk of the revenue off the top. So like say, 20% of the fees being paid to the owners of the thing. Gross, not net profits or like that.

And well, if some project wasn't going to be viable because the finances didn't add up if the people owning the land it wanted to use were compensated . . . too bad. I'm also of the opinion that if a property developer can't pay the municipality for utility hookups, they shouldn't get to develop the property, et cetera et cetera. There's no point in economic developments if they need externalities to be profitable--that just means they're not really profitable, they're a form of disguised theft from the "external". Anyway, the size of costs often matters less than their predictability; if there were a set payout companies could figure that into their cost structure and move on.

So the specifics of why this pipeline and the LNG project associated with it are not currently likely to turn a profit are really not what I'm talking about. I agree, it probably isn't . . . not right now anyway . . . and it's unconscionable that the citizens are paying through the nose to try to turn this private loss into private profit. But if the price of natural gas spiked, as it could if we don't start bloody phasing the stuff out, I'd be just as much opposed to the thing because I don't want the planet to fry.

e.a.f. said...

I get the protests/picket lines. We protested nuclear arms in Vancouver in the 1970s with up to 250K people at marches. We marched and picketed in the early 1980s against Bill Bennett Jr. and his "restraint" economic theories which ruined the economy. We've had picket lines with striking workers since I can remember. All of this involved mainly "whites". this time the picket lines protestors are Indigenous People and that is frightening for many in this country. Indigenous People have always been expected to accept what was handed out by the whites and colonial powers which ruled the country.

What many don't understand, there are still those who never "settled' with the colonial powers. They have the right to protest and protect their traditional lands. As to those who protest in "non traditional" lands, they need the attention of the press, to "press" their case. Having been on more than one line in my life, I get it. The question is: do the Indigenous People and their supporters make exceptions for things like the Leg and ports, etc. First question is for me is: did we ever make exceptions for Indigenous People when we were destroying their economies, their lives, their traditions, their health, etc.? Not so much. this is a case of what goes around, comes around. we still have the mercury problem in Grassy Narrows so why would any Indigenous group give a shit about what we in the "white/colonial" group want. we have never cared about them when it inconvienced us.

Now protesting which might change the minds of government in favour of pipelines. It might work if it goes on long enough, but having gotten to this old age and watch all sorts of protests in this country, my opinion is sooner or later the government will move in the RCMP and military if necessary. You can go all the way back to the murder of Ginger Goodwin or the Winnipeg Strike and killings, the On to Ottawa thing, etc. Government words regarding reconciliation is only if that reconciliation doesn't interfere with the government or white power structure and their ability to make money.

Given these pipelines are very expensive and most likely will never make money why would the government set themselves up to have to financially "rescue" these corporations or provide them with subsidies of one sort or another. If any one is entitled to "subsidies" its the Indigenous People who still haven't even been provided with decent housing, education, health care, etc. they're first in line. Been waiting for at least a 100 yrs in some places. Then there are all the other people in this country who ought to be considered for government "hand outs" prior to "hand outs" to corporations. Many of these corporations benefiting from hand outs are not even Canadian corporations. why should we destroy our land for foreign corporations and countries.

I'm not happy about the blockade yesterday at the corner of Cambie and Broadway, because it slows ambulances. On the other hand I tell myself, get over it. How many Indigenous people have died in this country due to inadequate health care, housing, etc. You reap what you sow and this country has sown very deep seeds of racism, neglect, etc. and those chickens have come home to roost.

the salamander said...

.. I'll have to get a update re the timeline or chronology detailed with all the key stages.. this over the entire enterprise, rhe whole tangled mess, the prices projected at the time or gilded (fraud and/or malfeasance)

Subsequent to or interwoven within three key Supreme Court decisions is and was, the game plan of Stephen Harper Inc. And then Justin Trudeau et al, as well as Christy Clark Inc / John Horgan et al came numerous ventures or 'plays'. Coastal of course is natural gas pipelined to Kitimat - a planned Liquifaction Installation and port. So I need to understand the intervening events.

How in hell did all the aforementioned Parties and any related Governments crawl so deep in bed and in the pocket of Big Business - in this case, Big Energy. The three Supreme Court rulings confirmed Aboriginal Title, valid without question, but, big but, not the actual specific borders of the territories First Nations legally held which was a technicality of the filing & to be corrected. A new trial was required though, astonishingly expensive like 30 million $ to the Wet'suwet'en.. up against a bottomless money pit of taxpayer $$. To this day, all those aformentioned Glvernments have balked and obstructed the legal process while running a 'National Interest' grift. The legal level of malice applied to 'gain certainty' - (the new euphamism for land grab).

Why the delaying defying malice and aforethought ? It works. Just like our Federal Government failing the SARA mandate re species at risk, simply by ensuring the respective Minister never 'moves' or stamps a directive for caucus to act on. Harper and Peter Kent did this for years re boreal caribou. We now see the impending failure of the west coast fisheries staring us in the eye as well.

This has been collusion of Big Energy, Political Parties and Governments with added oomph from Neoliberal doctrine & practice plus the steroid injection of similarly sold out Mainstream Media. Irresponsible factions of Main Media and Social Media being 'the juice', and money is the Viagara aphrodisiac boner drug. It reminds me of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls by Peter Biskind from 1998 - everyone cheating on everone - out of their collective minds.. so whacked that a psychopathic coven were pool buddies and drug conduits and killers

Current status re the protesting Wet'suwet'en is go directly to jail, the red dresses torn down, police dogs and tactical squads dismantling a healing camp among others. Its a classic clusterfuck with the fuse lit. It is simply impssible to believe our Public Servants have such a hard on for payoff or neoliberal idealism that they claim the Supreme Court declared something completely different than reading the decision tells anyone what was made very very clear. Horgan and Trudeau Inc both declare tiny aspects of vast territories are all that was 'awarded' or intended and without the trial that is all First Nations 'deserve' - essentially saying just the actual villages or fishing sites have Aboriginal Title. Bullshit, bullshit bullshit .. grooming to get on to the complete 'legal' assault.. enforced by the RCMP .. where we are now

That is my summary.. and I aint even begun to dig deep. ASAP the required additional trial to correct the trial judge errors needs to be laid on. Perhaps GoFundMe driven with accompanying facts. The current injunction should never have been needed or been acceptable. Its classic Trump, classic Harper.. deny, delay, blur, distract, protract, appeal, deceit all pimped and pumped up on MainMedia.. Classic Steve Bannon - dump as much shit on the media as fast and constantly as possible. Sow confusion in the masses via media

The Disaffected Lib said...

Every now and then I wind up mulling over the nature and merits of civil disobedience. It's usually when rulers defend unjust laws with the "rule of law" argument.

I have trouble swallowing their argument, especially when, with somewhat less than 40 per cent of the voting public in support, one party manages to form a majority government and, hence, impose its will on the other 60 per cent. Then, when it inevitably introduces policies that were never part of its platform, hence not even endorsed by the 40 per cent support it did garner, it claims to be acting pursuant to some contrived 'mandate.'

Perhaps I'm reaching the "fuck it" point with the petro-state and its outrages against the environment and what we will bequeath to our grandchildren. It's difficult for me to see much legitimacy in that.

Anonymous said...

Excellent comments.

It's worth posting the link to the Narwhal's investigation:

"Documents obtained by The Narwhal reveal representatives of resource industries and government sought the ‘surrender’ of Indigenous land rights in the wake of the precedent-setting Delgamuukw decision, which affirmed Aboriginal title on unceded territory."

As usual, we're getting BS from government if what the Narwhal reveals is true and it seems to be. Dangerous lying BS from Trudeau and the Cons and Horgan the Maybe Dipper who doesn't believe in UNDRIP. Who gets to these people after they're elected and turns them into goons?

Oh well, my personal nemesis, Chrystia was held up trying to get in and have a chinwag with the Halifax mayor today. Seems that there was a large pro Wetsuweten demonstration outside City Hall just for her benefit. She's an anti-indigenous person if ever there was one, IMO. Bolivia. And suport for Jungle Juan Guaido, titular Dunce of Venezuela.


The Disaffected Lib said...

it's pretty sad, BM. it's not the Canada I was raised in.

karen said...

PLG, I think one of the objections to the pipeline is the damage the construction will wreak. In my understanding Coastal Gas has already been excessively destructive and disrespectful of the land they’re on. I’m never 100% sure of the things I’ve read and heard, but I think the Wet’suwet’en suggested a slightly different route because the proposed one runs through a culturally significant area and Coastal Gas refused.