I seem to write about this kind of thing a lot. I have always been disappointed by the cowardice of politicians and there is unfortunately no lack of examples today in Canada or around the world.

The Wet’suwet’en and Coastal Gas Link pipeline issue rolls on as the RCMP remove indigenous people from their territory, and dozens of protests happen in solidarity all over the country blocking railways, roads, highways and ports.

It is all over social media. It is all over the news. It is being talked about at dinner tables and coffee shops. It is nothing short of one of the most widespread, coordinated, and meaningful protests this country has ever seen.

And yet, it seems the only people not talking about it are the governing politicians.

Justin Trudeau, John Horgan, the Federal or Provincial Ministers of Indigenous Affairs, even the head of the RCMP, are all completely or essentially silent.

Say something and you might face consequences, say nothing and you can live forever seems to be the motto.

And what better to enable that silence than an injunction in favour of a corporation like Coastal Gas Link. Though notice there hasn’t even been that longstanding defence of “jobs”, or “prosperity”, or “economic opportunity”, and when there has been it has been tepid at best. No, for the most part, it is just silence because they know just how hollow those words are.

While courageous indigenous peoples stand against state enforcement officers in fatigues dropping from helicopters, directing bulldozers, muzzling journalists, while enforcing an ‘exclusion zone’, the politicians sit in their offices wondering when they’ll be able to go back to their stump speeches and platitudes about reconciliation.

However, citizens across Canada understand that our own Supreme Court has ruled in favour of First Nation peoples like the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and while they may not have been given a ‘veto’, they have been confirmed the right to claim title over their own land.

First Nations peoples still have a home, and who would not defend their home? Who would not stand in solidarity with them as they defend it and are dragged from it?

Politicians may think they are playing it safe by staying silent, but we are in desperate need of leadership in this country and no leader with any future has ever stayed silent.

#Wetsuweten #WetsuwetenStrong

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2 Comments

  1. The indigenous peoples of Canada absolutely have the right to govern- through the Chiefs and Councils that they elect.
    Now we have ‘hereditary’ chiefs, unelected, claiming to rule by birthright! They have no more say than the Royals in England, in my humble opinion.

    1. Except, in my understanding, that is only true for those Nations, like Huu-ay-aht and other Maa-nulth nations here, who have completed a treaty and have an elected council with full and independent control of their entire territories and destiny.

      The many many Nations that have not yet signed treaties, including many who refuse, are governed under the Indian Act. Their elected chiefs and councils have very limited powers over only their reserves. The ancestral claims to rights and title lie with the hereditary chiefs and the Nation as whole people.

      This isn’t something that is well understood by non-First Nations and I am going to stop there as I don’t want to claim good knowledge of it either.

      Judith Sayers has written extensively on the topic and speaks to the Band Council vs. Hereditary Chiefs argument very clearly in the article linked below. I highly recommend the read:
      https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2020/01/15/Horgans-Pipeline-Push-Betrays-Reconciliation-Promise-UNDRIP/

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