Marching down Highway 16 in February 2019 in Smithers. B.C., chiefs gather in Smithers to support Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs’ position on Unist’ot’en camp and opposition to Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline. (Chris Gareau photo)

LETTER: Pipeline protests prove negotiations impossible

To the editor:

It is my understanding that duly elected Wet’suwet’en Councils in the area transversed by the proposed pipeline have successfully negotiated an agreement with the pipeline developer where both groups benefit economically by construction of the pipeline.

Subsequently, an Indigenous faction which did not take part in the negotiations, and whose agreement to the pipeline construction was not required, has organized a countrywide protest which is costing Canada’s economy huge losses. The courts have ruled, unanimously, that the agreement should be honoured and the obstructing (blockading) protests cease.

While the Hereditary Chiefs and their supporters have the right to demonstrate, their obstructing activities are therefore acting in criminal Contempt of Court, and they should immediately cease their actions which are negatively affecting Canada’s economy and the right of Canadians to carry on their economic activities and their right to access their places of employment without harassment.

What this is now telling the rest of Canada is that it is not possible to reliably come to any legitimate legal agreement, on any matter, between any Indigenous group and any other entity in Canada without some Indigenous individual or supporting group objecting and possibly generating economic damage to the rest of Canada.

It seems reasonable that the resulting costs and losses being experienced by the rest of Canada as a result of these Indigenous actions should be borne by the Indigenous communities which are supporting these costly negative actions. Period!

Yours seriously concerned,

Vern Polotikis, Vernon

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