Chris Selley: Canada on the brink of terminal gridlock
When it comes to the rail blockade, the message boils down: ‘We hope they lose interest and leave.’ If that’s the best-case scenario, Canada is screwedThe majority of Wet’suwet’en First Nation members support the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline project, and they are in an objectively peculiar situation. On the one hand, the RCMP is doing its best to clear away the protesters and let construction proceed. On the other hand, anti-pipeline protesters claiming solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en have created chaos in their name — most notably the total shutdown of CN Rail’s eastern Canadian network, the cancellation of nearly every Canadian passenger train, and the layoffs and untold economic costs that go with that. If protesters acknowledge the diversity of opinion among the Wet’suwet’en at all, they will defer to the authority of five hereditary chiefs who oppose the project, or observe that the five elected Wet’suwet’en band councils — all of which have signed community benefits agreements — represent a form of settler democracy imposed by the Indian Act. They’re not wrong. But had Cabot and Cartier stayed home and farmed potatoes, surely Canada’s First Nations would not govern themselves today as they did 450 years ago. Settler Canadians know something of hereditary rule, after all: It tends to evolve, and often in the direction of democracy. You don’t have to like Western democracy to deplore the tyranny of a minority. Theresa Tait-Day is in an especially peculiar situation. She holds a hereditary title under the Laksilyu clan of the Wet’suwet’en — or at least, she did. Nowadays it depends who you talk to. Tait-Day, along with hereditary house chiefs Gloria George and Darlene Glaim, formed the Wet’suwet’en Matrilineal Coalition (WMC) in 2015 — an effort, they say, to build a more democratic partnership between the hereditary chiefs and the elected band councils, and to get the former on board with the pipeline project. In response, they claim, the five male hereditary chiefs simply stripped them of their titles. The practical effect, Tait-Day says — and the male chiefs’ goal — was to shut women out of the decision-making process. The Wet’suwet’en are largely poor, Tait-Day observes, with many concrete problems that money, jobs and skills training associated with the natural resources industry can help solve. “We want to share our (land) wealth,” she says. “We want to live in prosperity.” Asked what she would tell anti-pipeline protesters claiming to support her people, Tait-Day suggests they simply “disengage.” “They’re not truly informed,” she says. “It’s none of their business.” Clearly the Wet’suwet’en are a divided community, including on the most basic questions of how they should be governed. It’s a mess. Mind you, look at the state of Canada as a whole. Just as the RCMP have court authorization to clear protesters and encampments along the pipeline route, the Ontario Provincial Police have court authorization to clear the Mohawk rail blockade near Belleville, Ont. Unlike the RCMP, the OPP refuses to exercise its authority. And we just have to live with that. Conservative politicians are barking at Justin Trudeau to “enforce the law,” but he doesn’t give orders to the OPP, and neither does Ontario Premier Doug Ford, and nor should we want them to. Still, you might expect senior ministers to have moderately stern words for folks illegally causing economic harm. You might expect the prime minister, at minimum, to be in the country. Instead, Trudeau spent the week swanning around Africa drumming up support for the UN Security Council seat with which he remains unaccountably obsessed, then decamped for the Munich Security Conference, where he was photographed warmly embracing Iranian foreign affairs minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, five weeks after Iran blew an airliner full of Canadians out of the sky over Tehran. “We will ensure everything is done to resolve this through dialogue and constructive outcomes,” Trudeau cooed in Munich. Back on the home front, Transport Minister Marc Garneau sounded like he had joined the blockaders: “Freedom of expression and peaceful protest are among the most fundamental and cherished rights in a democracy such as a Canada,” he said. He very unhelpfully recalled the OPP’s disastrous intervention during the occupation of Ipperwash Provincial Park in 1995, during which an officer shot unarmed Ojibway protester Dudley George to death. And then, bewilderingly, he averred that “the injunctions have to be respected because we are a country of the rule of law.” The OPP, meanwhile, went Full Orwell: “The proper exercise of police discretion should not be confused with a lack of enforcement,” a spokesperson told CBC on Friday. War is peace, freedom is slavery, etc. When it comes to the rail blockade, the message boils down to this: “We hope they lose interest and leave.” And perhaps they will. Other blockades and protests came and went over the course of the week. But it seems like that would be a tactical error. The Mohawks have made specific and plausible demands: The RCMP vacating Wet’suwet’en territory, and the cancellation of the pipeline project. The cops charged with chasing them off have done nothing but ask nicely and offer them maple syrup. The pipeline is a provincial project, not a federal one, but if the OPP won’t end the blockade and the feds aren’t willing to take truly extraordinary measures, then at some point in the foreseeable future it may well make short-term economic sense to give in to their demands. Maybe the feds can buy the pipeline from Coastal GasLink and shut it down. And what if the Mohawks do lose interest, or are somehow induced to stand down? That now counts as the best-case scenario, and it will have involved shutting down the CN railway for at least a week — maybe two, maybe three — with enormous consequences for people’s livelihoods and the economy as a whole, all in the name of killing a project supported by the vast majority of Indigenous people affected by it. And it will happen again, as many times as any group wants it to, on whatever issue they want it to, for as long as they want it to. Unless someone in power does something unusually bold and concrete in the very near future – and it’s not even clear what that thing would be — we are well on the road as a country to being terminally screwed. In the meantime, we certainly have no lessons on accountable government to give the Wet’suwet’en. • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: cselley Read more: National Post
Should Justin recall the constitutional conference (s35 1982) where his dad failed 2 reach an agreement on the meaning of Aboriginal & Treaty Rights? Should Justin gather all the historic treaty parties w the primary goal of renouncing COLONIAL UNILATERALISM once & for all?🤔 They will not 'lose interest and leave'. They realize that, because officials are now afraid to do anything, they have a very effective protest weapon, which they will use time and time again for whatever perceived reason and perceived injustice.
I hope this doesn't affect the free camping ? I bet the negative rhetoric flowed when women protested their right to vote. Protesting is how change is enabled. This effed up twinning of the pipeline will create a few jobs and the BC Coast will forever be at risk. It's a damnable shame what ppl are willing to sacrifice for $$
Weird. They claim sovereignty but they can’t keep a rag tag group of RCMP officers off of their alleged land. Not something I would expect from a sovereign nation. Everyone should get out and protest the corruption of people in government imo Invite the media (tell the truth) Canadians and JustinTrudeau to do what I did yesterday. Go to Tyendinaga On The rail is not moving. It is ILLEGAL business as usual on First Nations Land. The only people being inconvenienced are Canadians. The Conclusion. LOCK THEM UP!
Utterly unacceptable. Resign - JustinTrudeau MarcGarneau cdnpoli It's time for the Non-Confidence vote. I pay my taxes and abide the law, and can’t even use the public railway system to get to Ottawa due to terrorists blocking it and my government who is always happy to pinch more out of my paycheque does nothing with it’s head in the sand, disgrace.....
Emilyfo04914299 Protesters who prevent people from getting to their places of work or study are social terrorists. Our big expensive govt needs to deal with them appropriately;
Chris Selley: Erin O’Toole an unlikely fit as the ‘real conservative’ candidateSetting aside branding, tone, personality and parade participation, there aren’t huge policy differences between today’s Conservatives and Liberals Cancel the print media bailout? That’s it then. He’s dead to all media . I would nominate ErinOTooleMP as Minister of Defence. I think he would be great.
We have been writing about the incompetence of this Liberal cabal of a Party for 4 1/2 yrs and they are still there.Corruption runs in the liberal Party but we must have enough leadership outside this gang of ministers that can bring them down. brianlilley All this thanks to the puerile policies and whims of Justin Trudeau.
Getting to be time to Cowboy up. All while companies close over retail competition vs internet buying, electronic economy and energy wars. Let’s raise taxes! TrudeauMustGo Perhaps in the best interest of everybody, the rest of the population should blockade everything else and just help push this land mass known as Canada over the edge and start over. Time to shut er down. AB and SK will then become Rebpublics and maybe join the States.
only because a cuck still around Incompetent liberals government Meanwhile, back at the ranch... TrudeauMustGo
VIA Rail cancels trains across Canada, CN shuts down Eastern Canada network amid pipeline protestsVia Rail is cancelling its entire passenger train network across the country until further notice due to ongoing pipeline protests. But JustinTrudeau is off in foreign countries again, busy trying to build up his international reputation! He obviously doesn't much care about important domestic issues like having NO rail service in Canada! Wow! Good Now let’s get RID of PMJT
Really just think that they want to be heard. Dialogue and respect is the way to end this. We are very close Where is Bruce Cockburn? Or civil disobedience This is problematic and untrue: “Illegally causing economic harm.” Have you read section 2 of the Canadian Charter? Perhaps a review. Indigenous protesters = criminal disrupters White Alberta pro pipeline protesters = patriots Am I getting this right NP?
It makes sense for prairie provinces to join the US to secure trade routes. Canada can't be trusted anymore. Good day I am Mrs Amanda ThomsonI want to be your sugardaddy And spoil just first 200 babes I do not want sex or nudes. Thanks. First 200 people who Like /Follow, Retweet and DM ASAP Get $2500 instantly. Cashapp, venmo and PayPal details..Dm on WhatsApp +4915218469272
First fuel Then food It will be interesting to see how long the politicians can keep mouthing platitudes before people start taking matters into their own hands If the politicians and law enforcement won't do their jobs its gong to happen sooner or later Protesters can't take our economy hostage. Blocking the railways has a serious repercussion on our economy and our country. An agreement is needed to clear the tracks otherwise, the government will have to force a solution.
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Blockade tensions rise as Wet'suwet'en solidarity protests continue across CanadaProtests over the Coastal GasLink pipeline slated to run through Wet'suwet'en traditional territory in northern B.C. have triggered days of railway blockades... Shut off their electricity and water. See how they like it! Shut down their electricity and water. TIT4TAT! These radicals are ostrsizing, scaring and bullying their own people who actually support this project. Why is their concerns not being addressed?