There have been no major demonstrations this week in solidarity with the First Nations people along the Coastal GasLink route who are waiting for change to come to their communities.
There have been no blockades disrupting VIA Rail trains; nothing in midtown Toronto; no one outside the B.C. Legislature; no disruptions on the Reconciliation Bridge in Calgary; no stopping of traffic in downtown Ottawa; and no protests along busy Vancouver intersections.
The demonstrations you’re thinking of were in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, who oppose the $6-billion, 670-kilometre pipeline across northern B.C. It’s their slogans that have been broadly adopted, their opinions that are being mirrored in protest and their case that has been taken up so fervently by supporters all across Canada.
The voices of band members from 20 First Nations along the Coastal GasLink project route who want it to continue – those who have indicated, through elections or other means, that they want construction on the natural gas pipeline to move ahead – have been eclipsed by the views of a small group of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, who hold jurisdiction over just a portion of the land the pipeline will cover.
These chiefs do not speak for all First Nations people along the route, just as no small group of Jewish leaders, or black leaders, or Muslim leaders necessarily speak for their entire communities.