What Enbridge did not mention is that in accepting company shares, those groups also agreed not to stand in the project's way.
The equity agreement, which Enbridge acknowledged but is taking pains to play down, helps explain why 40 per cent of the groups declined what was essentially free money. It also illustrates the tactics the company is using as it fights a strident opposition to its $5.5-billion project.
Under the terms of the deal, unearthed through a Greenpeace freedom of information request, first nation groups that sign on to pipeline ownership "cannot proactively oppose" the Gateway project. They can, however, "raise legitimate, specific concerns" at hearings of the joint review panel that is examining Gateway.
Such language is common among equity partners, expected to support what they fund. But critics say it is an unusually strong requirement for first nations groups made up of diverse communities, who have none of their own money in ...