I stand in solidarity with every elected Wet’suwet’en band council on the Coastal GasLink route.
For it is the people they represent who are being silenced by those who cover their faces and partake in illegal blockades.
In a democracy it is the votes that count, not the decibels or hijinks of those who do not get their way.
The National Coalition of Chiefs has said that the majority of hereditary chiefs are in favour of the Coastal GasLink project.
The reality is that all of this opposition is being driven by a very small number of hereditary chiefs. In fact, two of the hereditary chiefs who are at the forefront of opposition to this project, ran in the last Wet’suwet’en band council election on an anti-pipeline platform and lost.
In the absence of leadership, our nation is paying a heavy price. Farmers, workers, small business owners and Canada’s reputation on the world stage suffering due to the illegal actions of protestors. They are the victims that lay in the wake of this calamity.
The appalling behaviour of some, such as barricading the Premier of British Columbia’s home, is not acceptable.
Using intimidation tactics and bullying fellow Canadians is not democratic. Preventing people from going to work is not and should never be acceptable in Canada. While however noble you feel your cause, it does not absolve you from the law.
Unfortunately, it appears as though these protesters are only interested in respecting the rule of law when the courts side in their favour – this is not how a functioning democracy operates.
The rule of law must go both ways.
It must be said that opposing these illegal blockades does not contravene the reconciliation efforts throughout the country.
More than ever we need to better improve the economic and education opportunities of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Improving the standard of living and the quality of life of Indigenous Canadians must be a top priority.
We know those conversations are not always going to be easy. People will agree or disagree, which is to be expected in a robust democracy.
We also know that in the weeks and months ahead, there will be other choices that elected leaders will have to make on resource projects.
We cannot let our economy be brought to a halt every time a decision is made.
We cannot set the precedent with which it is acceptable to erect blockades in response to legal decisions that people disagree with.