The inconvenient truth for pipeline supporters: root causes of this revolution will not be televised
It should come as no surprise that the legislative columnist for the Province, Mike Smyth, is advancing pro-pipeline arguments within the pages of the Postmedia-owned paper.
In a recent column entitled "The inconvenient truth for pipeline blockaders", he boils the entire issue down to the jobs and housing projects being created in Indigenous communities by Coastal GasLink's project and its deals with Indigenous enterprises and councils.
The amount of money is not trivial. Business in Vancouver reported last year that the LNG Canada project and the associated Coastal GasLink pipeline would deliver $900 million in contracts and benefits to First Nations business and communities.
But as large as that sum sounds, it's only about 2.5 percent of the $40-billion reportedly being spent on this megaproject. And it's just two percent of the annual provincial budget.
There are other inconvenient truths that Smyth neglected to mention in his recent column, including:
* the 1997 Delgamuukw decision in the Supreme Court of Canada, in which the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs—and not elected chiefs and councils—won a ruling acknowledging the continued existence of Aboriginal title over unceded Indigenous territory;
* the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office approved the Coastal GasLink project while overlooking the objections of the hereditary chiefs, who are Aboriginal title holders. They've filed a judicial-review application to try to overturn the EAO's decision;
* the LNG Canada project, which will be fuelled by fracked gas transported by Coastal GasLink's pipeline, will gobble up an increasingly large share of B.C.'s carbon budget in the years to come. This means that other job-creating projects will have to be foregone if Canada is to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement;
* whether the B.C. Supreme Court justice who approved the company's injunction application fully took into account the Delgamuukw ruling, which includes this statement, among others: "lands subject to aboriginal title cannot be put to such uses as may be irreconcilable with the nature of the occupation of that land and the relationship that the particular group has had with the land which together have given rise to aboriginal title in the first place";
* the hereditary chiefs, who speak for the collective holders of Aboriginal title, have declared that the Coastal GasLink pipeline is illegal under 'Anuc niwh'it'en (Wet'suwet'en law);
* shale gas development has been linked to earthquakes;
* methane releases from fracking operations and the transportation of natural gas are significant contributors to climate change, which is ultimately going to drive up the cost of food if carbon emissions don't level off;
* climate change could trigger feedback loops that put human civilization on the road to extinction;
* the falling cost of renewable energy and increasing take-up of solar and wind power in other countries will undermine long-term demand for B.C. natural gas;
* as Canada eagerly approves fossil-fuel projects, it has the potential to delay other countries from making the switch to renewable, life-supporting energy sources;
* the Horgan government provided $6 billion in incentives and the Trudeau government provided a $275-million subsidy to lure Royal Dutch Shell and its other multinational and state-owned fossil-fuel company partners to B.C. to build an LNG plant;
* Canada is a high-cost fossil-fuel producer, so its exports might only remain competitive internationally with large government subsidies like that.
* the Chinese state-owned engergy company, CNOOC, recently refused LNG cargoes by invoking the "force majeure" clause in its contracts—essentially claiming that the coronavirus outbreak was out of its control and justified the decision regarding LNG shipments.
That's to say nothing of the importance of the Unist'ot'en Healing Center in decolonizing Wet'suwet'en people by reconnecting them to the land.
Here's another inconvenient truth: there's probably never been a pipeline project in Canada that the vast majority of Postmedia columnists haven't adored.
In 1970, musician Gil Scott-Heron recorded "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised"—and the slogan's origins date back to the Black Power movement of the 1960s.
In a similar manner, those rebelling against the fossil-fuel industry shouldn't expect to see sympathetic treatment from media outlets in these rebellious times.
That's because the root causes of this climate and Indigenous revolution will not be televised. To borrow a phrase from Scott-Heron, this revolution will be live.