Last time I looked, I was pretty sure we were living in the 21st Century and that we lived by a set of laws, but with each passing day where law enforcement officers fail to uphold the law, I am beginning to wonder.
I refer, of course, to the continuing illegal blockades erected in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.
The actions and demands of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs has attracted a great of deal of media attention and garnered support for the chiefs around the world.
At issue is the work of Coastal GasLink, a subsidiary of TransCanada Corp., which is building a natural gas pipeline between Dawson Creek and Kitimat, where there is a major facility to liquefy and ship product to Asia.
Now, the project has the blessing of Ottawa, the B.C. government, as well 20 First Nation communities along the route, including elected chiefs and band councils representing the Wet’suwet’en peoples.
A lot of people have no idea that elected Wet’suwet’en chiefs and council members support this pipeline. Most of the news articles rarely make mention of that “little” detail. Nope. What the news stories go on and on about is the fact that the hereditary chiefs are opposed to the pipeline.
As a consequence, you get folks across the country erecting barricades on train tracks or streets in support of the chiefs, with protesters making claims that the First Nation rights are being abrogated by modern day colonialists.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The hereditary chiefs have no standing today. First Nation people elect their representatives and are in charge of their own lives.
The Wet’suwet’en people have voiced their support for the pipeline and stand to benefit from the revenue and jobs it creates.
Furthermore, that is what the courts have ruled and have granted Coastal Links an injunction to that effect.
Unfortunately, the RCMP appear to be incapable of enforcing the law and while they have made a few arrests, the blockade of the road remains intact.
Worse, police have done nothing to stop the erection of sympathetic blockades elsewhere in the country. Just recently protesters blocked train traffic in Ontario and vehicle traffic has been blocked in a number of other cities.
The law, a result, is being called into disrepute. It is one thing to protest. That is everyone’s right. But it is quite another thing to flagrantly break the law with impunity. Lawlessness can never be tolerated in a free and democratic country.