WHEN IT COMES to my thoughts and beliefs around what is happening with the on-going and continual illegal blockades (including city streets, public highways, and even rail crossings), let me unequivocally say, they should not be permitted.
That does not make me a racist — nor does it make me ill-informed of the facts.
Already at least one individual has pushed their way through a protest line with the vehicle they were driving … and another ripped down, and threw in the ditch, materials one protest group was using to block a road. For that, apparently, THEY were arrested. A Global News report stated … police eventually arrested one of the masked residents for obstruction after he attempted to pull down a barricade that anti-pipeline protesters had erected.
Wait a minute … protesters are blockading the road, and yet someone trying to remove the blockade gets arrested for ‘obstruction? How does that make any sense?
For several days now anti-pipeline activists, complete with a burn barrel, have had the steps of the B.C. Legislature blockaded.
So, what of the disruptions? What of the inconvenience being caused? What of the possible, or potential illegality? For how long can, or should, they be tolerated?
What more can governments at all levels do with regards to consultations with First Nations peoples?
I did ask several individuals attached to the BC Liberals for comment about the circumstances, with the escalating protests, however I was not able to get a response. The leader of the BC Conservatives, Trevor Bolin, did agree to respond though, saying;
“I believe we are seeing what happens when government has lost touch with the people they were elected to represent. Today it’s pipelines, tomorrow is sky rocketing taxes, and the cost of living.”
“The BC Conservatives, and myself as Leader, stand behind these projects (Trans Mountain and Coastal GasLink), and support the need for them to be completed and operational on time. The fact the current Government has not dealt with the underlying issues, is a whole other story.”
The Conservative leader then went on;
“When I look at the larger picture — and that’s beyond a single pipeline issue — these sorts of actions appear to show British Columbians left with what they feel is no other choice but to cause chaos to be heard.
“To the folks that feel this is the only avenue to be heard, it isn’t. Electing a government that will listen and respond to all the needs of British Columbians from all over the province is”, Bolin continued.
That, at least to me, sounded like typical political swerving, and sidestepping, so I pressed on asking … what about the democratic right of “our” elected officials to do the business of government? People are getting angry as things gets out of hand. What danger, if any, do you see from that?
Bolin responded saying:
“Those that break it (the law) need to be dealt with accordingly. As mentioned, this isn’t an issue of today, it’s an issue of years past that has brought us to today. The government can continue ignoring the people it is elected to represent, or they can choose to provide more than just media lip service.
… you can not expect people to understand or trust them …
B.C. should be a champion on an international stage for our resources … when the government stops being ashamed of them, we as a province can come together and be proud.”
Some, understandably, are confused by the whole situation. Who speaks for the Indigenous people of B.C.? Is it the governments they have elected to serve them – or is it the Hereditary Chiefs? How many of any, or either, does it take before they can claim to speak for members of the lands these people live on?
As one Vancouver Island resident stated, “I don’t understand the sign. Twenty First Nations band councils signed on to the (CGL) Project. That means that the representatives of these First Nations bands gave consent for the project to move foreword — on behalf of the people that are member of those bands. What legal standing do these hereditary chiefs have to say ‘no’ with?”
Let me conclude by saying that I for one am very concerned about what is going on at the B.C. legislature! I also worry about what the future holds, when what appears to be a minority of people, can blatantly try and force their will on the majority.
The saying, ‘Things are going to get worse before they get better’, is not a situation we want to be headed towards.
Alan Forseth is a Kamloops resident and former member of the Reform Party of Canada and the B.C. Reform Party, and a past and current member of the BC Conservative Party. His blog is My Thoughts on Politics and More.