MICHAEL FORTIER was jarred awake at 1:30 a.m. on May 4 by the banging on the drain pipe of his Montreal home. A neighbour was trying to get Fortier’s attention – his two cars were ablaze.
Surveillance footage of the firebombing showed two men pulling up on bikes, taking out a package and nonchalantly tossing it towards one car.
Montreal Counter-information claimed responsibility for the attack. On their website, mtlcounterinfo.org, they explained: “Mr. Fortier was a federal cabinet minister under Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Today, he is the vice-chairman of capital markets at the Royal Bank of Canada. This act is in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en land defenders and all those who fight the extractive industry.”
You might wonder why the home of a bank executive in Montreal would be firebombed by so-called Wet’suwet’en land defenders. Well, you see, RBC is one of the financers of the Coastal GasLink pipeline on Wet’suwet’en territory 4,685 km away.
RBC is just one of five commercial banks that supplies working capital to Coastal GasLink.
MTL Counter-info warns on their website:
“Mr. Fortier may think that his money and connections will protect him, his children and his grandchildren. But the ecologically dispossessed will know the names of those responsible. He must understand that no one is safe amid this storm.”
Tenuous hardly describes how thin the thread is between Fortier and the natural gas pipeline project in northern B.C. Should I be worried because I bank at RBC? Might I have to flee my home in the middle of the night from terrorists who are in a fit of self-righteous indignation?
Closer to home, workers at the Coastal GasLink pipeline site fled for their lives in the middle of the night on Feb. 17 after 20 masked attackers, some carrying axes, overwhelmed security at the site. Nine people on the pipeline site were forced to escape their remote forest work camp while attackers tried to torch a truck.
“This is absolutely shocking. And quite scary,” said MLA Ellis Ross, former chief councillor of the Haisla Nation. “There were workers inside a truck while attackers were trying to light it on fire. A lot of the people working on the pipeline are First Nations themselves.”
The terrorists caused millions of damage to machinery and property. The perpetrators have not been arrested.
The Wet’suwet’en are divided over the merits of pipeline. The elected band councils of 20 Indigenous communities along the pipeline route, including five Wet’suwet’en bands, support it. In a poll, 92 per cent of the Wet’suwet’en community are in favour of the project. Hereditary chiefs oppose it.
If these terrorists really respected the Wet’suwet’en people, they would let them figure it out themselves.
Instead, these wannabe warriors are taking the cause into their own hands, much to the dismay of Wet’suwet’en leaders.
Theresa Tait Day, a hereditary sub chief says: “I ran into a few claiming to be ‘land defenders’ coming to Smithers [the location of Wet’suwet’en office]. I said ‘go home, we don’t need you here’. But they did come and one even had a warrant out for their arrest.”
David Charbonneau is a retired TRU electronics instructor who hosts a blog at http://www.eyeviewkamloops.wordpress.com.