The President of the National Coalition of Chiefs, Dale Swampy has claimed that some anti-pipeline protestors are being paid by environmental activists groups.
“People who are opposed to the project–even though we respect their position on the matter–should respect the fact that the majority of the First Nations support the project through their elected officials,” said Swampy to APTN News.
But Swampy also intimated that not only do the majority of pipeline protesters have no connection to any First Nations people, they may also be getting paid to protest by environmental groups.
“I don’t think they’re Indigenous,” he said. “People in our communities around Calgary have been offered money to protest on the streets of Calgary and the streets of Vancouver.”
Swampy claimed people were promised $300 per day and up to $500 if they wore a headdress. “They choose people who are disenfranchised, who have no job, no education, are in poverty, collecting welfare,” he said. “It’s a real concern for us that these corrupt environmentalists are taking advantage of our poor people, putting them in front of RCMP.”
This claim has yet to be proven with documentation.
The protests surrounding the Coastal GasLink pipeline have been going on for weeks now and there is much confusion surrounding the issue. The protestors have been heavily covered in the mainstream media as doing so in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people, however the reality is there are only some hereditary chiefs who are opposed to the pipeline.
“The recent conflict between the RCMP and the professional protesters, who wrongfully use Wet’suwet’en ancestry as the means to advance their agenda, are putting Wet’suwet’en community members at risk,” said hereditary Chief of the Gidimt’en Grizzly House Andrew George to APTN News.
Coastal GasLink has met all regulatory and environmental guidelines. The company has also signed pipeline benefit agreements with all 20 elected First Nation band councils along the route. This includes five of the six elected councils in Wet’suwet’en Nation.
The vast majority of anti-pipeline protestors don’t speak on behalf of the Wet’suwet’en people despite themselves, and many media outlets claiming otherwise. There are 634 First Nations in Canada.
Swampy said, “We believe there are as many as 400 chiefs across the country that want to work with the natural resource industry–including alongside the CGL pipeline right-of-way,”