Pity the Farmers and Oil Workers?


The Wet’suwet’en  First Nation issue is very complicated. The truth is murky.  I am finding it difficult to get information about the issue from Arizona. As I understand the facts, 5 out of 6 of the Tribal chiefs and councils under the Indian Act have signed Benefit Agreements with the Pipeline Company. But the hereditary or traditional chiefs are opposed. At least some of them are opposed. I also understand that the pipeline is not actually passing through the territory of those 5 Chiefs and Councils. Their jurisdiction is limited to their reserves. But their land claim might be affected. I don’t know.

One indigenous  person, I heard on CBC radio was opposed to the pipeline and claimed that Coastal GasLink the company that wants to establish the pipeline has signed Benefit Agreements with some First Nations that are not affected because they are easy to persuade (because it does not really affect them). Having a large group of First Nations signing such agreements makes consultation and informed consent sound more  impressive than it really is. On the other hand, Coastal GasLink has to make sure that it consults with as many groups that are affected as possible. If they don’t they will be criticized for that. Where do they draw the line? I sympathize with their plight.

I understand Canadian farmers (many of whom have suffered from poor crops)  are very upset that their grain shipments are held up. I can understand that. I also understand how oil workers or pipeline workers was to get to work to earn a living. That too is perfectly understandable.

Yet I wonder how many of the farmers or workers have ever urged their Member of Parliament to encourage them to have the Canadian government negotiate long-standing land claims made by the Wet’suwet’en people. I would have more sympathy for them if I knew that they had lobbied the government to honourably negotiate those claims as soon as possible rather than wait for the next crisis, as it seems to me they have done.

For example, many Canadian farmers supported the previous Conservative government led by Stephen Harper. Did he make any serious efforts to settle those claims? If he did I was not aware of them. What have the farmers done to help the Wet’suwet’en people?

I have less sympathy for groups that only advocate for what is good for them. That is too easy.

Everyone needs to walk a mile  in the moccasins of the others. That includes protesters and  anti-protesters.

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