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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

Even though the government knew there was no chance of resolution with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, they had to make the effort

Lost somewhat perhaps, with news of the Court of Appeal Ruling on the Trans Mountain Pipeline, was news regarding the Wiggus Table that had been held over a period of seven days.

The Wiggus table, with the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, was related to the stalled Coastal GasLink Project -- an attempt to get the pipeline project back on track. 

Yesterday (February 4th) Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, commented:

We and the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs made a committed effort to find a peaceful resolution to the situation. It was very clear from our discussions that all of us came together in good faith to try to find a way forward together”.

He went on to say, “While we were not successful in finding a resolution to the current situation, we continue to remain open to dialogue with the Wet’suwet’en leadership on this issue”.

I have to believe I am not the only one wondering this, so my question is, ‘Did anyone really expect that there would be a different outcome to the talks around the Wiggus Table?’ 

Why did they do it? Was it just for appearances?

According to Nechako MLA John Rustad, “Whenever there is an impasse with an indigenous group, it is incumbent upon the government to try for an engagement to resolve it.”

Even though the government knew there was no chance of resolution with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, they had to make the effort. The real question now is how will things proceed from here”, he continued.

According to a spokesperson for Coastal GasLink they remain ... committed to ongoing engagement and dialogue with all Indigenous communities across our route, including the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and the Unist’ot’en, to ensure that all parties benefit from the cultural, environmental and historical knowledge of our Indigenous partners. 

On January 8, 2020, the RCMP issued a news release expressing safety and security concerns following their discovery of hazardous blockades, partly cut trees and stacks of flammable materials and accelerants at locations along the Morice West Forest Service Road. 

The big question to be asked, given failure to come to resolution that would put an end to the need for injunctions to end blockades of the project, is how will the protesters react to the injunction, and what will happen to the existing blockades?

If they do not end, then Coastal GasLink will likely have no other option than to enforce the Interlocutory Injunction granted to them at the end of December. This followed the interim injunction the courts provided Coastal GasLink (December 2018), against protesters of the project, and then confirmed again early in December last year.

I agree with the thoughts of Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser, who yesterday said, “We hope that the paramount need for safety stays the top priority for all parties”.

Ultimately though, at least to me, this is very much going to depend on the next moves of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, and those who are allied with them.


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