Time to call in the RCMP? Has Enbridge offered bribes?

Imagine if a company, let’s say a casino company, offered money to a council member or three in a recalcitrant Municipality in exchange for support for its casino project. We’d call it bribery, and criminal proceedings would almost certainly take place. Now tell me how this is different:

The Council of the Haida Nation published on Facebook a letter alleging that Enbridge has offered monetary rewards to individual hereditary chiefs in exchange for support for the Northern Gateway Project . Here is an excerpt from the letter:

“Enbridge has attempted to elicit written support from Haida Hereditary Chiefs through two Term Sheets. Under the Term Sheets, Hereditary Chiefs were offered monetary rewards in exchange for written support for the Project (Northern Gateway Pipeline – ed.) which was intended for public distribution.”


The full Facebook link is here : https://t.co/ixTCQtk5fm

Given that the Haida Nation is represented by its full council, and rewards have allegedly been offered to individual members of that Council, (quote, “the CHN incorporates the band councils and the Hereditary Chiefs”) , tell me how this doesn’t constitute bribery?

Update October 24 2016: It’s now been clarified through continued examination by Discourse Media that the money flowing through Enbridge to the councillors went to a Trust Fund for the councillors to use for cultural activities. Questions about secrecy and accountability remain. Two of the Hereditary Chiefs who signed these term sheets have been stripped of their status. This has not happened in Haida Gwaii in hundreds of years and happened only once in BC in the last century.

4 thoughts on “Time to call in the RCMP? Has Enbridge offered bribes?”

  1. Kiwkwetlem Chief Ron Giesbrecht approved an $8.2 million payment from the province of British Columbia to relinquish aboriginal claim to a large parcel of Crown land on Burke Mountain the province wanted to sell to one of the BC Liberals’ biggest campaign donors. The Chief then took ten percent of the $8.2 million as a bonus under the terms of his dual role as economic development officer of the band.

    Did the province know the chief would personally benefit to the tune of $800,000 when they were negotiating the relinquishment? If so, would that constitute a bribe? Would that arrangement fly in any BC municipality subject to the Local Government Act? Are the RCMP the least bit interested?

    1. Another great question for the lawyers. Please chip in, anyone with expertise in these areas.

      In both cases, I’m sure the money is somehow defensible under bribery law, just not sure how. I can’t imagine Enbridge has left itself so vulnerable to charges, but…It stinks for sure! With the Giesbrecht case, the conflict is apparent, and while we are comfortable with sales agents taking commissions, his role as Chief is problematic. Conflicts of interest are a large recurring theme in BC.

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