Cybergeo (Mar 2021)

Oléoducs et gazoducs : catalyseurs d’enjeux de pouvoir sur des territoires dans l’Ouest canadien

  • Lucie Roudier,
  • Frédéric Lasserre,
  • Pierre-Louis Têtu



Read online

In British Columbia (Canada), the TransMountain pipeline expansion project and the Coastal GasLink pipeline construction project have been the subject of intense controversy. Opponents to these land use projects are primarily First Nations Native groups. In a context of reconciliation between the federal government and Native peoples, First Nations benefit from specific laws requiring the Government of Canada to consult them on certain types of projects. The concept of consent has consequently emerged in the debate. There is currently no legal requirement to obtain consent, except for projects on land where the Native peoples have an explicitly recognized title. However, in British Columbia, most of the provincial territory is not covered by treaties between Canada and First Nations, and this opens the way to legal interpretations that fuel representations, sometimes contradictory, and various strategies. The purpose of this article is to explore the diversity of First Nations’ positions in conflicts over the construction of oil and gas pipelines in British Columbia, and to expose the power games that characterize these development projects. To do this, we rely both on the theory of the strategic actor, which we enrich with a territorial component, and on the analysis of local geopolitical systems in British Columbia, in order to analyze the repercussions of gas pipeline projects.