Trudeau willing to boost oil and gas in Africa while Canadian industry suffers
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has held discussions with the Senegalese President Macky Sall over a partnership that could offer “attractive growth potential” in the oil and gas sector for the West African country.
Justin Trudeau has been on a world tour in an attempt to garner support for a seat at the United Nation’s security council. Trudeau was in Africa last week, where he granted a $10 million package to empower African women.
Trudeau’s willingness to engage in foreign oil and gas projects may come as a surprise to Canadians who have seen the prime minister fail to intervene in illegal blockades over the building of a pipeline in Northern British Columbia.
On top of this, the Trudeau government has been accused of killing the Keystone XL pipeline by the Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, and created significant economic strife after delaying the construction of the TMX pipeline.
More recently, the Trudeau government has considered killing another energy project in Alberta: namely, the TeckMine oilsands project that could create 7,000 jobs for the province.
Senegal is currently revamping their economy to provide more opportunities to the oil and gas sectors within their country. This expansion will supposedly offer opportunities for Canadian energy firms, while not affecting the carbon targets of the Trudeau government in Canada.
The Trudeau government’s willingness to consider oil and gas expansions in Africa (a country that is noted for it’s poor record on human rights) whilst expressing a lukewarm attitude towards Canadian energy projects, may create a strong reaction back home.
If you reward something, you get more of it.
If you punish something, you get less of it.
It’s one of the most basic precepts of human nature, and it should be the bare minimum level of knowledge a government official possesses in the execution of their duties.
It’s the entire reason we have laws.
We punish behaviour that is illegal, in order to discourage that illegal behaviour.
Of course, no system is perfect, and we don’t want a “perfect system”, particularly not in a democracy.
But it has to work most of the time, particularly when the illegality is obvious and potentially damaging to the entire nation.
And when it comes to “rewards”, often the reward is in the elevation and respect of those who act in a way that helps that country and makes Canada a better place.
That’s what the majority of community members and the ELECTED Wet’suwet’en Chiefs were doing when they worked to get a good deal for their community, approved the Coastal GasLink pipeline, and worked to help encourage jobs and prosperity.
They followed the rules. They worked for the good of their community.
And what did they get in return?
They got betrayed by Justin Trudeau and the Liberals.
Meanwhile, the radical blockaders–many of whom don’t even represent the Wet’suwet’en community–broke the laws, are damaging Canada’s economy, and are ignoring repeated court injunctions.
In short, they broke the rules, and they’re working against the good of their community.
And what did they get in return?
They got rewarded, by Justin Trudeau and the Liberals.
Trudeau has elevated them, offered meetings, sent a Minister to talk to them, and has in effect given them control over the country by refusing to enforce the rule of law.
Now, as you read at the top of this article, when you reward something you get more of it, and when you punish something you get less of it.
And the consequences are clear:
Trudeau has shown that illegal protests will be rewarded with a gain of status and an ability to meet with government leaders.
Trudeau has also shown that the majority of community members who followed the rules and followed the laws will be ignored and betrayed, with their majority voices drowned out by the more extremist minority.
As a result, Canada can expect more and more illegal protests, while fewer communities will choose to follow the law.
You can already imagine what a massive disaster that will be.
As the anti-pipeline protests continue to shut down crucial parts of Canada’s infrastructure, the CostalGas Link pipeline and there is much confusion when it comes to the Wet’suwet’en people’s stance on it.
The Premier of BC John Horgan told the CBC that it’s a fight within the nation between the equal actors of hereditary chiefs, who defend the land, and the band chiefs, who want to see their people become financially secure.
A recent Facebook post that has been shared almost 5,000 times in its first day talks about the personal relationship that Terri Tilijoe has had with the Hereditary Chiefs of the Wet’suwe’ten people.
Terri is caucasian although she is a member of the Westbank First Nation and has been since she was 16, through her marriage with Larry Tilijoe, who is Unistoten. She believes that the vast majority of Wet’suwet’en people are in favour of the pipeline, estimating it’s about 85 percent.
The post began with Tiljoe stating, “I see all these posts supporting a few OW Hereditary Chiefs but what I don’t see is the Wetsuweten people speaking up about how this office operates. I get it though, I live on Westbank First Nation, I see exactly how opportunities are disbursed based on whether you are ‘one of them’ or ‘one of us’.”
Tiljoe described her experience with the OW Chiefs and how “In 1993, we started a silviculture business, Nadina Mountain Contracting, located within the Morice Forest District. Our goal was to become a sustainable First Nation contractor who harvested, replanted and rejuvenated the areas we harvested.”
“The OW, situated an hour east of Houston, took over ALL the forest related activities earmarked as First Nations. We were forced to work under the OW for contracts within our own forests; the OW took a portion of the contract value for the ‘service’. The OW’s lack of knowledge in forest health and neglect in their financial responsibilities continually caused our business to suffer hardship which rippled to our banker, our employees, and our suppliers.”
“I personally question the integrity of some of the chiefs, and I wonder if it’s the same case with CGL; that the OW wants to control ALL the negotiations, ALL the monies, ALL the contracts and ALL benefits and administer it back to the Bands in the territory? As it stands the individual bands will receive the monies and benefits and not the OW. If the OW can’t have it ALL then NO one will have anything.”
The protests continue while the Trudeau government continues to dither twelve days in, while various road and rail blockades cripples the transport of goods and people.
As the #ShutDownCanada protests rage on into the 12th day with no end in sight, with border crossings being the latest major infrastructure spots targeted on Monday and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau only late Sunday finally taking the crisis seriously, here’s a look at some of the most important facts regarding the illegal protests.
1. What is the pipeline project?
The Coastal GasLink pipeline project is a 670 km pipeline that is meant to carry natural gas across the northern section of British Columbia. The project is estimated to cost $6.6 billion. The pipeline path starts in the Dawson Creek area close to the border of BC and travels west to Kitimat, B.C.
2. Prolonged and growing illegal protests
On Dec. 31, the BC The Supreme Court granted an expansion injunction to Coastal GasLink against members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation who were obstructing access to construction.
Blockades began on Feb. 6 when the RCMP started to enforce the injunction and protestors were asked to leave the camp. The protestors were blocking a service road close to Houston, BC Tensions have been escalating since the incident and #ShutDownCanada blockades started springing up across the country.
The protests are still going strong, with cargo and passenger trains shut down across the country and border crossings blocked today. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cancelled a trip to Barbados last minute Sunday and had a meeting with a group of cabinet ministers in Ottawa on the subject Monday. Trudeau said his government is focusing “on resolving this situation quickly and peacefully.”
3. Arrested protesters
Many of the protests have illegally blocked major parts of Canada’s infrastructure with impunity, but others have ended up in cuffs.
On Monday, Feb. 10, 57 protestors were arrested for the Metro Vancouver port blockade.
On Jan. 7, there were 14 arrests made at a protest camp in Northern BC.
There were 12 protestors arrested in the office of the BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources.
On Feb. 8, there were 11 people arrested at the Port of Vancouver.
Another 6 arrests occurred earlier in the month at a blockade in Northern BC.
Despite these arrests, the majority of the anti-pipeline activists have gotten away with breaking the law, with one counter protestor trying to remove a blockade getting arrested instead of the people illegally blocking a highway.
4. Support vs. opposition for the pipeline
The Angus Reid Institute created a poll that sampled 1,508 people and asked them about their opinions on the pipeline. The poll found that 51 percent of Canadians support the pipeline while 36 percent are against it. Less than half of Canadians are for the Wet’suwet’en solidarity protestors with 39 percent supporting them.
Most people feel that further consultation with the hereditary chiefs is needed to discuss the pipeline properly.
The poll was taken from Feb. 10-12.
5. Majority of First Nations involved want the pipeline
There are 13 hereditary chief positions, but not all of them are currently filled. These chiefs oversee the Wet’suwet’en Nations five clans.
All 20 of the elected First Nations councils who are located along the path of the pipeline have signed agreements with Coastal GasLink. These councils represent approximately 2,800 people.
Five Hereditary Chiefs have claimed that the project does not have any authority to carry on without their consent.
6. Why isn’t law enforcement breaking up blockades and arresting more people?
Law enforcement may be hesitant to break up blockades because the protests going on resemble that of the Oka Crisis which began on July 11, 1990 and lasted until September 26, 1990, spanning 78 days. The Oka Crisis is an ugly chapter in Canadian history that the government does not want to repeat.
The Oka Crisis involved a standoff between the Canadian military and the Mohawks. The standoff was over the expansion of a golf course onto Native land and eventually resulted in one fatality.
TVO talked to Kahente Horn-Miller who remembers the crisis. She said, “Oka is still in our memory. There are still a lot of people who are alive who were a part of that. That was only 30 years ago. And it was a moment of awakening for a lot of us, because my generation were teenagers, right? So it’s not easy to forget,”
The crisis finished after the expansion was cancelled on Sept. 26, 1990.
7. Shortage of goods due to CN Rail trains blocked for over a week
Goods that travel by rail across the country have been at a standstill along with the trains. This is leading to shortages of groceries, propane, drinking water, baby formula and personal hygiene products.
8. CN Rail lays off employees
CN rail announced Monday it has had to send out layoff notices to employees in Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia due to the prolonged shut down of their operations. Other employers that have a supply chain that relies on Canada’s railway system will also inevitably be affected by lay offs if the protests continue.
9. Via Rail says nearly 100,000 passengers trips cancelled
Via Rail announced on Saturday that over 400 trains had been cancelled and over 83,000 passengers were unable to take the train to travel across Canada in the span of the last week and a half. As trains are still not moving, that number continues to rise and would undoubtedly raise the price of other modes of transportation such as air travel.
10. Difference between hereditary Chiefs and elected chiefs
Hereditary chiefs are chiefs who have their titles passed down from generation to generation. These titles predate colonization. The chiefs are representatives of the separate houses that together make up the First Nations. Hereditary chiefs are in charge of traditional land management.
Elected band councils differ from the hereditary chiefs because they are elected community members. These councils came in 1876 after the Indian Act was established. The act created a guideline for how the Canadian government interacts with Indigenous people.
Anti-pipeline protestors took to the streets in both downtown Toronto and Ottawa this afternoon, bringing traffic to a halt. In Toronto, the major artery of Bloor Street was blocked. While in Ottawa, protestors stopped traffic in Byward Market.
Protests and blockades opposing the Coastal GasLink pipeline have entered their 12th day, bringing traffic and the nation’s economy to a standstill.
The scene in Toronto is intense, with thousands marching.
“Obviously we’re a country of the rule of law and we need to make sure that those laws are followed,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said about the protests on Monday. “We are going to continue to focus on resolving this situation quickly and peacefully.”
Nationwide protests that claim to be in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en have exploded after RCMP arrested pipeline protestors on Wet’suwet’en territory. Protests have already effectively shut down VIA Rail and CN Rail and at least two US border crossings.
The Wet’suwet’en Tribal Council supports the pipeline project.