Scheer ROASTS Trudeau for inaction during #ShutDownCanada
“Justin Trudeau has failed to act,” Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer said to media today regarding the #ShutDownCanada protests, which have halted Canada’s economy for the time being.
Scheer started the address by saying that it’s time for the law “to be enforced” to clear blockades, asking that Trudeau and Security Minister Bill Blair end the blockades.
Rita George, a Wet’suwet’en hereditary subchief has decided to come forward to voice her opinion about the anti-pipeline protestors who are not affiliated with the Wet’suwet’en First Nation. George is both a band member and part of the hereditary system. She also previously helped translate a major Supreme Court decision that gave greater control to Indigenous communities over their land.
“I want the world to know what’s been happening to us. We are being bullied, it’s so shameful, so hurtful. We are being humiliated.” said George.
George was only a young woman when she was selected by her community for a Wet’suwet’en leadership role. A role that George says she knew she would be fulfilling for the rest of her life.
George was initially very apprehensive about speaking out against what is happening in her community. She didn’t want to cause any further pain surrounding this issue however she said she feels it is also important that the truth be told.
“I want the world to know why I am stepping forward as a matriarch,” spoke George at the Pleasant Valley Cafe in Houston, B.C. “The world thinks the matriarchs are behind all the protests going on and that’s not true. None of the matriarchs were contacted.”
“There is no love, there is no respect. That’s not the way of our ancestors,” Ms. George said, saying she is speaking on behalf of the matriarchs and elders of her community. “If I keep quiet, if I don’t come forward to address our point of view, it will look like we are supporters. We are not.”
George expressed having great difficulty speaking out against some of her own and the unaffiliated anti-pipeline protestors who have turned her community into a battleground over issues of climate change policy. She said even the elders are afraid to voice their concerns.
Ms. George said the current influx of outside protesters who are pushing their own agenda via her community has muddled the exchange of opinions within the Wet’suwet’en community. Instead, George feels it would be much more appropriate if the Wet’suwet’en community had time and the privacy to discuss this important issue.
“It hurts me to see them [pipeline opponents] wearing regalia in the snow and mud and marching in the cities. That’s not right. That’s affecting all of us. Our ancestors would say they are dirtying the names and the regalia.”
As the nation’s economy continues to sputter due to nationwide anti-pipeline protests and blockades, the Trudeau government wants $2.1 billion for Indigenous communities.
That’s approximately 53 percent of the $3.8 billion the government is asking MPs to approve in supplementary spending according to CBC.
The ask comes as companies are turning away from doing business with Canada because of the blockades and protests. One president and CEO referred to the ongoing in Canada as a “ridiculous situation.”
Mohawk protestors have blockaded train tracks in Belleville Ontario for the last 15 days, demanding an end to the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern BC—a project approved by the Wet’suwet’en First Nation.
Conservative Treasury Board Critic Tim Uppal pledged that his party would work to ensure that the money was spent to improve the lives of Indigenous people: “Canada’s Conservatives have long advocated for the federal Liberal government to take more steps to ensure Indigenous peoples across the country are able to more fully participate in Canada’s economy.”
Conservative leadership candidate Peter MacKay is facing some online backlash and general confusion after deleting a tweet supporting fed-up Albertans who tore down a blockade set up by anti-pipeline protestors on an Edmonton railway.
“Glad to see a couple Albertans with a pickup truck can do more for our economy in an afternoon than Justin Trudeau could do in four years,” the tweet read.
The now-deleted tweet referenced a viral confrontation between protestors and counter-protestors which stopped a train in its tracks earlier that day.
Global TV’s Nicole Stillger tweeted “Counter-protestors hauling away the blockade and loading it into this truck.”
There are more and more instances of everyday Canadians confronting blockades throughout Canada.
Earlier today, a Quebec man confronted a group of protestors at a scene which was described as “carnival-like.”
“You are blocking billions of dollars from our economy. A thousand people have just lost their jobs. I don’t care about Legault and Trudeau, what I want is that you leave here safely, that’s all,” said David Skitt to protestors, translated from French.
CN confirmed that it has obtained an injunction to clear blockades on their Saint-Lambert railways.
Prime Minister Trudeau will hold a meeting with all the Canadian premiers in order to update what the federal government’s plan is to deal with the anti-pipeline protestors various blockades. Across the nation, railroads have been unusable for over the past two weeks.
Via Rail and CN Rail have now been shut down for 15 consecutive days, resulting in both companies being forced to lay off more than 1,000 total employees according to Global News.
“Today the prime minister will again engage with premiers in a call with the Council of the Federation. We’re working hard to reach a peaceful and lasting resolution.” said Cameron Ahmad, director of communications for the Prime Minister’s Office.“From Day 1 the prime minister and ministers have been directly engaging with provincial governments to resolve this complex situation,”
Protestors behind the blockades claim they are acting in solidarity with some of the hereditary chiefs of B.C.’s Wet’suwet’en First Nation who are opposed to the Coastal GasLink natural gas line project. This claim remains despite the fact that the majority of Wet’suwet’en people voted to approve the project.
The five hereditary chiefs who oppose the project are a minority of the 13 total hereditary chiefs of the community who do support the project. Members of the Mohawk community in Tyendinaga and Kahnawake said they are protesting in solidarity with those five Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who stand against the Coastal GasLink project.
The elected band council for the Wet’suwet’en people also support the pipeline, as do 20 other First Nations that are along the proposed route.
Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is confident that this new meeting will bring a resolution to this ongoing dispute.
“These are opportunities to come to a peaceful resolution,” Miller told reporters in Ottawa. “I think this will give us an increased opportunity to have those discussions so we can de-escalate.”
RCMP in B.C. offered to leave the area of the territory the Wet’suwet’en claim as their traditional lands despite having a court injunction to remove the protestors from the area.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said he feels the RCMP’s move will show some good faith, “the conditions have now been met” for a resolution. “I believe the time has come for the barricades to come down,” he said.