If there is one thing clear about all the Wet'suwet'en protests that have sprung up around the country it's that the First Nations people have had their agenda completely hijacked by all the climate change alarmists, pseudo-anarchists, and left wing radicals masquerading as their supporters. Oblivious to any argument that fossil fuels are here to stay for quite some time, that the only real alternative is nuclear power not wind or solar, and that natural gas is at least an improvement to burning coal, these self-righteous people are only comfortable when their collective heads are stuck in the sand. In spite of their complaints about capitalism and colonialism they don't care if they create disruption for the working class people going back and forth to work and home and they certainly don't care about improving the lot of First Nations folks.
In spite of unanimous agreement by the various bands along the pipeline route for the project to proceed, the argument made by the hereditary chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en people is that they haven't granted approval for this pipeline where it goes through unceded territory that is not part of the reserves. What this is really about is who controls the decision making process, the elected bands or the hereditary chiefs, and the First Nations people have not been consistent in resolving this issue. In Canada we have reconciled our hereditary ruler known as the King or Queen of England with our elected rulers that form the various levels of government and, while the hereditary ruler is welcome to provide advice, they certainly cannot overrule a decision made by the elected government.
The hereditary chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en, and certain other tribes, don't want to acknowledge the power of the elected bands because they say this is part of the hated Indian Act but they are going to have to convince the majority of people living on the reserves of their supremacy or else find a place for themselves in the decision making process. This of course is only something the First Nations people can decide amongst themselves but, like so many other issues, it should have been worked out years ago. These internal rivalries are only adding to their misery and delaying any effort to improve their well being.
The federal government, which is responsible for all First Nations people, has been woefully neglectful in improving their well being. From the residential school debacle to the drinking water fiasco and now the acute housing shortage on every reserve, 80% of the reserves in Canada are living below the poverty level which is set at an income of $22,000.00 per person, and a disproportionate number of them are filling up the country's prisons. Projects like the Coastal GasLink pipeline will provide well paying jobs both during construction and afterwards that will help lift at least some of the Wet'suwet'en out of poverty as will the TransMountain pipeline the federal government will be eventually selling to another group of First Nations people.
If the protesters were really interested in supporting the First Nations people they would be campaigning for a more efficient way of providing modular housing to First Nations communities combined with water purifying systems and greenhouses to grow fresh vegetables, and providing support for better economic opportunities wherever they can find them. In other words true reconciliation. Instead they are using the First Nations internal grievances to promote their own myopic agenda that is completely divorced from reality. Even worse, the general public will soon be thinking the First Nations people are behind all these demonstrations and, fueled by right wing racists, turn against them just when sentiment is finally starting to be on their side. The sooner the First Nations people realize these protesters are nothing more than backstabbers to their cause the sooner they can start to move forward with resolving their real issues.
Excellent. Well said.ReplyDelete