The issue of the protests over the gas pipeline in or near the traditional territory of the Wet’suwet’en people is extremely complex. It has generated a lot of heat. I am trying my pitiful best to shine a little light on the issues from afar. Not only am I far away physically I have come without most of my books that sadly I had to leave behind. The only way I can do that is to meander through some of he issues looking at them in small bite-sized chunks.
I find it interesting how many people are screaming that they want the rule of law. Screams are rarely the way to support the rule of law. Now I am speaking metaphorically, as I have been ensconced in southern Arizona thousands of kilometres from the scene and the “screaming” I have heard has been from Canadians on social media.
I understand that people are upset. Particularly farmers unable to get their grain and other inventory to markets, or oil sands workers and pipeline workers unable to earn a living and countless Canadians unable to obtain goods they need that were being delivered by rail. I know a lot of important goods are delivered by rail. As a former CN sleeping car porter, I know the Canadian rail system is important to the country. But so is justice.
I understand that a number of indigenous activists and their allies have been arrested, much to the delight of some those people screaming for the rule of law. There were 3 Indigenous women included among those arrested.
According to the Guardian, “Freda Huson, Brenda Michell and Karla Tait were among seven people detained when Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers – backed by helicopters, heavy machinery and dogs – moved in on the remote camp in north-western British Columbia. These are not the customary instruments whereby the rule of law is imposed upon unarmed Canadian citizens. One of the things I have been surprised at again, is how non-violent protests of Canadian Indigenous people have been over and over again. Yet, it seems, each time the Canadian police come with heavy artillery. Why is that?
Just consider how you would feel if you were at your home if helicopters landed in front of you and unloaded heavily armed police Swat teams supported by dogs. Call me a sissy but I would be a bit disconcerted. Even if I had been participating in protests contrary to a court ordered injunction, I would have been disconcerted. I guess I am a sissy. Those Wet’suwet’en women are not sissies; that’s for sure.
But I keep thinking, there must be a better way to do this. A Canadian way.