Participants in Thursday’s rally at Portage and Main gathered beforehand to make posters. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC) Winnipeg supporters will rally at Portage and Main Thursday, in solidarity with people from a northern B.C. First Nation whose fight to keep out pipeline workers has drawn national attention.
"The time is now," said Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie, who helped plan the rally. "We’re frustrated and fed up, and enough is enough."
The rally at the busy intersection is set to begin with a round dance at 4 p.m., Lavoie said. Supporters met beforehand at the University of Winnipeg for what they described as an "artbuild" to make signs.
The event follows a 24-hour sacred fire at the Manitoba Legislature , which burned Tuesday and Wednesday in support of people from Wet’suwet’en Nation in B.C. Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie said the rally is about young people in Manitoba showing solidarity and unity to people from the Wet’suwet’en Nation in B.C. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC) Members of that nation have been preventing company workers for the Coastal GasLink pipeline from getting to their traditional territory with two camps established along the forest service road with fortified checkpoints: Gidimt’en and Unist’ot’en.
On Monday, RCMP entered a fortified checkpoint on a forest service road near Houston, B.C., about 620 kilometres north of Vancouver. Police arrested 14 people.
A tentative agreement was reached Wednesday to allow workers to access the territory by Thursday 2 p.m. Hereditary leaders said the move doesn’t mean they’re consenting to construction.
During a Winnipeg visit Thursday, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett said the government wants to ensure the conflict doesn’t set back reconciliation efforts.
"I think we’re all very grateful that the conversations have taken place and that the tensions have been reduced," she said.
"I feel that we as Canada really have concerns that we are moving the project of reconciliation forward." Winnipeg supporters of Wet’suwet’en anti-pipeline camps in B.C. painted signs to hold at a solidarity rally at Portage and Main on Thursday. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC) On Thursday, Winnipeg police put out a news release warning the public of potential disruptions at Portage and Main due to the rally. Officers and cadets will be at the scene, it said.
Lavoie said the intersection is a fitting place for the rally because of the commuter traffic and the city’s recent referendum decision not to open it to pedestrians.
"It seems to be, you know, this big inconvenience for a lot of people. And ultimately, we’re the ones that are facing the bigger inconvenience," Lavoie said. "I’m sorry, but there has to be some way to get your attention." ‘We want what’s best for the people’
The Monday arrests spurred protests across the country.
"I think it’s a broader issue in terms of the relationship with Indigenous peoples, and the way that the Trudeau government is basically crocodile tears, saying, you know, ‘I want this relationship with Indigenous peoples and it’s important,’" Lavoie said.
"But yet the actions that has happened shows really that he’s … letting people get arrested for being on their own territory."
The 675-kilometre pipeline, which would move natural gas from Groundbirch, B.C., to Kitimat, B.C., for international export was cleared by provincial officials by April 2016. It is owned by TransCanada Corp., which changed its name to TC Energy this week.
The National Energy Board launched a multi-step process last fall to determine if the $4.8-billion pipeline should fall under federal jurisdiction and undergo further regulatory review. Supporters at the rally will hold a round dance at Portage and Main, Lavoie said. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC) Lavoie said the issue should matter to people across Canada, because it speaks to the broader question of the relationship between Indigenous peoples […]
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