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When anarchy rules – Trudeau’s leadership failures continue

February 2020

Prime Minister Trudeau states he will not order the RCMP to break-up the blockades set up by protesters across Canada to protest the Coastal GasLink project in British Columbia, condescendingly telling everyone that Canada is not the kind of country where the politicians tell the police what to do on operational matters.

Well the problem is that since the Ipperwash crisis, politicians have been doing exactly that by making it pretty clear they don’t want police enforcing the law when it comes to First Nations protests. Police commanders know they will be thrown under the bus by their political masters if the protesters don’t peacefully disperse.

Now I’m not in any way saying police should go all Tiananmen Square on protesters, but at some point the law must be upheld; otherwise we have anarchy.

On the other side of the coin, why should the threat of violence from protesters be tolerated? Canadians have the right to protest and demonstrate, but do it peacefully, not violently. After being given a reasonable amount of time to get your message out, protesters should respect the rule of law and peacefully disperse.

The result of political interference is that we repeatedly see police commanders blatantly refusing to enforce court orders, much to the frustration and condemnation of the judiciary. At what point does the talking and consulting stop and the government and the police say enough is enough? How can we be a country that subscribes to law and order when lawlessness is allowed to continue unchallenged?

In January 2013, Ontario Superior Court Judge David Brown publicly laid into Sarnia Police Chief Phil Nelson and Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Chris Lewis back for their “passivity” in refusing to enforce injunctions to end recent Idle No More rail blockades in the Sarnia and Kingston areas respectively. People get arrested all the time for violating court orders, like probation conditions or Family Court orders, yet our politicians put police commanders in that exact position.

We have Indigenous protesters and their supporters say that these protests are about the lack of consultation with First Nations, not an attempt to shut down Canada’s energy sector. Firstly, consultation does not mean complete agreement from every interested party; it just means the facts are laid out so everyone understands the process, thus enabling informed decisions. All 20 elected band councils along the pipeline route have been consulted and support it and the economic benefits it will bring to their communities.

Secondly, and most importantly for those seeking to shut down our entire energy sector, their definition of consultation is they do all the talking and in the end, they get all their demands met, with absolutely no compromise on their part.

CBC News report that they had secured a leaked recording of the meeting between Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller and members of the Mohawk of Tyendinaga First Nation on Saturday. In the meeting, Minister Miller asked that the protesters temporarily halt their demonstration to allow trains through but in the middle of the meeting, a Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief phoned in and refused to allow such a concession.

My solution is this: follow the money and find out who is financially supporting these protesters. Some group is working very hard to cripple and/or shut down this project and our energy sector, despite the fact that we have the 20 First Nations Chiefs along the pipeline route in B.C. who want this pipeline and the good paying jobs.

All but five of the Heriditary Chiefs want this pipeline.

It has the support of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation council.

We have the elected Chief of Tyendinaga Mowhawk Territory Donald Maracle saying the protesters on his land don’t represent his nation. As reported by Mark Bonokoski, Chief Maracle advises the blockades are “…the work of the of the usual suspects on his reserve.”

The Police Chief of the Tyendinaga Police Service, Jason Brant, attended the blockade site to tell the protesters to disperse, adding “the point has been made tenfold.” He pleaded with those of the Tyendinaga Nation to take down the barricade for the sake of friends and neighbours suffering because of these protests.

“There have been a few rounds of layoffs, that I am aware of, because of the stoppage,” Brant said. “I understand that the fat cats of CN are losing millions and millions. It’s now filtered down the working people; people living paycheque to paycheque are now being affected.”

Ellis Ross, who was chief councillor for the Haisla First Nation, one of the nations along the pipeline route, from 2013 to 2017, and now a Liberal MLA for Skeena, B.C., has publically stated, “There’s a lot of people that aren’t from these communities, that aren’t Aboriginal, that are saying hereditary leadership has full authority, and they’re not doing it based on any facts. It would be like me saying that the elected leadership of B.C. and Canada has no authority, and it’s the Queen who has all authority.”

Robert Skin, an elected member of the council of the Skin Tyee First Nation, which is part of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, has publically stated that he believes the pipeline will mean a better life for Wet’suwet’en Nation, adding “With the benefit agreement that [the Skin Tyee] did sign, I see us being in a better place even within the next five years.” and that the protesters “…don’t understand the advantages this type of infrastructure project can provide.”

So who do the protesters really represent? Who is funding their activities? Oh, some of them may honestly think they are fighting for the Wet’suwet’en , but how can even those who abhore the idea of wearing a tin-foil hat not think this is the actions of foreign funded eco groups who want to cripple Canada’s energy industry so they can sell their natural resources without competition from us.

Global News interviewed some protesters who don’t even know what the pipeline is even supposed to carry. Some probably think they are protesting the seal hunt.

Whatever your feelings are on resource development and their shipment to markets, the environmentally responsible methods used by Canadian-based companies provide much needed jobs and revenue for governments of all levels. Poverty-riddled First Nations can share in the economic benefits and many are doing just that.

The Nadleh Whut’en First Nation, west of Prince George, BC, recently opened the Little Rock Lake Lodge, an accommodation building for workers of the Coastal GasLinkon project, built on the ruins of the Lejac Residential School, which closed in 1976.

You could say this is what reconciliation is all about. This is money generated from resource development benefitting a First Nation community. It could be said that with the new Lodge, with a new name, it has enabled the Nation to finally reclaim the land on its own terms; taking a plot of land with a horrific past and turning it into something good for the community.

There is a valid court injunction authorizing the dismantling of the blockade by the OPP, RCMP and CN Police. The sooner these illegal blockades are dismantled, the sooner we can all begin to heal.

Sources: https://www.interior-news.com/marketplace/nadleh-whuten-reclaims-former-residential-school-site-with-new-coastal-gaslink-workforce-accommodation, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lejac_Residential_School, https://nationalpost.com/opinion/christie-blatchford-police-have-more-choices-than-guns-blazing-or-to-do-nothing-over-idle-no-more-blockades, https://caledoniavictimsproject.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/political-interference-with-caledonia-policing-by-mcguinty-government, https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/trudeau-tight-lipped-after-meeting-with-cabinet-ministers-to-discuss-cross-country-protests/ar-BB105wvF?ocid=spartandhp, https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/chief-meeting-mohawks-1.5466109, https://nationalpost.com/opinion/derek-h-burney-enough-is-enough-clear-the-blockades-restore-the-rule-of-law, https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/who-are-the-protesters-theres-a-lot-of-people-that-arent-from-these-communities-that-arent-aboriginal, https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/wet-suwet-en-coastal-gas-link-pipeline-lng-1.5469401, https://nationalpost.com/opinion/conrad-black-canadas-government-has-abandoned-its-responsibility-to-lead

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

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