Canada at 'tipping point' over Wet'suwet'en land dispute
Alberta, Canada – Protests, blockades and other actions by Indigenous people and their allies in Canada have brought the country to a “tipping point”.
That is according to Chief Wilton Littlechild, the former head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada.
“This is a tipping point for Canada and it illustrates a real need for reconciliation to begin where it hasn’t and to continue where it has,” Littlechild told Al Jazeera via phone.
For weeks, protesters have taken to the streets, railways and ports, paralysing parts of the country’s transportation sector, to stand in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en land defenders, who are fighting to stop the construction of a pipeline on their traditional territories in northern British Columbia. Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, who hold authority over their land, say they were not properly consulted on the 670km (416-mile) Coastal GasLink pipeline. The company says it reached agreements with 20 elected First Nations band councils.
Following the arrests of Wet’suwet’en land defenders about two weeks ago, tensions have mounted as solidarity actions have grown across the country, with many calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to solve the crisis.
On the other side, provincial government leaders have condemned Trudeau for failing to endorse forceful action on the protesters, pointing to the blockade’s economic effects.
“These illegal blockades are trying to shut down Canada, and there’s people losing their jobs, blue-collar people, vulnerable people, propane storage [is] running short in hospitals in Quebec,” said Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.
“Enough is enough,” he added at a news conference on Wednesday in Edmonton.