Anger at Canada’s support for fossil fuel expansion boiled over Tuesday, driving Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to physically change venues before giving a speech to Indigenous leaders in Ottawa — where he failed to mention a blockade in British Columbia that had spurred a nationwide solidarity movement.
Trudeau was originally scheduled to give opening remarks at 2:30 p.m. at a government building at 111 Sussex Drive in Ottawa, near his official residence, where an annual forum was being held concerning treaties between First Nations and the Crown.
But he wouldn’t be able to speak until after 4 p.m. He was rerouted at the last minute to another venue across downtown, at 180 Wellington Street opposite Parliament Hill, after a long column of demonstrators charged into the venue.
The move came with little notice and resulted in a mad scramble by media to make it to the new location in time. Legislative Chief Peter Hanson of the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Chek’tles7et’h First Nation, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett at the Canada—Modern Treaty and Self-Governing First Nations Forum in Ottawa on Jan. 8, 2018. Photo by Andrew Meade “Thank you all for your patience today,” Trudeau eventually told the crowd that had been reassembled at the Wellington building, for the Canada—Modern Treaty and Self-Governing First Nations Forum. He thanked those around the table for the “incredible hard work” they have done in their communities.
“Today we have a chance to reflect on what we’ve accomplished,” said Trudeau, and then discussed his government’s promised legislation to protect Indigenous languages, as well as other efforts to reform child and family services and promote a new fiscal relationship with Indigenous governments.
He took no questions from media before reporters were ushered out of the room, on a day that saw dozens of people march past heavy RCMP presence to express their frustration in chants, signs and cries of passion at the building on Sussex.
"There is no relationship more important to the Government of Canada than the one we have with Indigenous peoples," the prime minister said in a statement released Tuesday evening.
"We recognize that when our relationships are based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership, we deliver better results for everyone—stronger communities, healthier citizens, thriving cultures, and greater economic success." "You cannot rape the land, and then tell us that you’re going to pass a bill that says you love us and respect us" pic.twitter.com/49AClqOfdm — Carl Meyer (@ottawacarl) January 8, 2019 Demonstrators are against a proposed 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink Pipeline in B.C. The TransCanada subsidiary wants to carry natural gas from the Dawson Creek area to Kitimat on the west coast.
Many had become furious at the government, after the RCMP arrested over a dozen people for blocking access to the pipeline project, at the Gitdumt’en checkpoint on Morice West Forest Service Road in northern B.C.
The Mounties had also announced one day before those arrests that they were setting up an " exclusion zone " to keep members of the public and the media away from two camps that they were going to raid and dismantle, including the Gitdumt’en checkpoint.
The Mounties said they were enforcing an injunction issued by the B.C. Supreme Court, that had ordered obstructions interfering with the project to be removed. Coastal GasLink says it has signed agreements with First Nations along the pipeline route.
But the Wet’suwet’en First Nation hereditary chiefs say they never ceded or surrendered territory, and have a duty to protect their land for future generations.
In dozens of cities in Canada and the United States, demonstrations were scheduled Jan. 8 to show support for the Wet’suwet’en.
In Vancouver, Green […]
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