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Scott Thompson: Why focus only on Indigenous communities that don’t support pipelines?

Railway blockades starting to impact economy
WATCH: (Feb. 12, 2020) Protests over the Coastal GasLink pipeline slated to run through Wet'suwet'en traditional territory in northern B.C. have triggered days of railway blockades across Canada. Mike Le Couteur looks at the cost to the economy, and the pleas from politicians and protesters.

Protests and demonstrations have shut down major rail corridors between Montreal and Toronto, as well as parts of British Columbia.

As a result, everything from passengers to freight have been caught in the middle and it’s starting to add up.

But what’s fascinating are the bandwagoneers jumping on this cause at the expense of the Indigenous communities who support it.

READ MORE: Canada’s industry groups worried as Wet’suwet’en protests block ‘vital artery’ of railways

The protesters disapprove of the Coastal GasLink pipeline through northern B.C. and Wet’suwet’en territory, which would deliver natural gas to coastal tidewater for delivery to Asia, hopefully helping to relieve dependency on much dirtier coal.

The pipeline was approved by not only governments, but Indigenous communities along the route who stand to benefit from the project, with many elected band councils in favour of these projects.

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However, hereditary chiefs say they were not consulted, therefore the project should be stopped.

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en to hold all-clan meetings amid solidarity protests, internal division

 

Some media and environmentalists have painted a picture of Canada taking advantage of Indigenous people, when many of those communities are on board with the development and will profit from it, including with jobs.

So why are we paying attention to only some Indigenous groups and ignoring those who are trying to grow from the project?

Ellis Ross, B.C. MLA for Skeena and former chief councillor for the Haisla Nation, said on the show that this isn’t Canada’s problem. It’s a power struggle between the elected band councils and the hereditary chiefs within Indigenous communities on choosing a way forward.

Meanwhile, some political activists and environmentalists are exploiting this internal struggle for their own agenda.

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It’s time we heard from Indigenous communities who have approved and will profit from such projects and stop the costly grandstanding by a few — at the country’s expense.

Scott Thompson is the host of The Scott Thompson Show on Global News Radio 900 CHML — Hamilton.​​​​