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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

FELDSTED: What we are witnessing is a clash of arrogant, egotistical, irresponsible brats -- lusting for power -- and unconcerned over the impact of their playpen spat on Canada and Canadians

HuffPost – Wednesday February 19th:
VANCOUVER — A Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief says the chiefs won’t meet with the federal government over their opposition to a natural gas pipeline until both the RCMP and Coastal GasLink leave their traditional territory.  Na’moks, who
Hereditary Chief Na’moks ... who also goes by John Ridsdale
also goes by John Ridsdale, said Wednesday the chiefs have communicated their terms to Carolyn Bennett, the minister responsible for Crown-Indigenous relations ...

The audacity of this group of hereditary chiefs is breathtaking. Five of the thirteen chiefs have made a claim for sovereignty over 22,000 sq. km. of land with a population of about 2,800 people.

The land claim has not been negotiated or settled. It is a claim which does not consist of an obligation to Canada any more than sending someone a bill puts an obligation on the recipient; there must be some validity of the claim established before an obligation can be recognized.

The notion that a band of traditional indigenous chiefs representing 2,800 people can dictate terms to a nation of 37.5 million people is ludicrous.

What we need in Canada is a version of the New Zealand Waitangi Tribunal to settle issues between indigenous and non-indigenous elements. To be functional the Tribunal must recognize and respect the right of each group to co-exist with the other.

There cannot be an all or nothing battle for control of territory.

The Wet’suwet’en cannot claim control over territory without accommodation to Canada, respecting infrastructure required to link distant portions of Canada ... and Canada must accommodate indigenous people to allow free trade and movement in and out of indigenous lands.

What we are witnessing is a clash of arrogant, egotistical, irresponsible brats, lusting for power, and unconcerned over the impact of their playpen spat on Canada and Canadians. There are no responsible adults involved.

No one has thought the Wet’suwet’en claims through; think about it.

Refusal to recognize the Canadian legal framework, and constitution, carries with it the removal of the human rights acts -- and charter of rights and freedoms -- for residents of the claimed territory.

Are we really prepared to allow removal of human rights and freedoms, from 2,800 people, to satisfy the power aspirations of five hereditary chiefs?

The precedent set by giving in to Wet’suwet’en claims can affect the legal rights and protection for nearly 1.7 million indigenous people in Canada.

Another aspect of this tussle for power is that the Wet’suwet’en have no treaty with Canada, but exercise of sovereignty can spill over into treaty protected indigenous people. Success of the Wet’suwet’en claims removes any and all obligation of support by Canada.

A separate, sovereign Wet’suwet’en nation in northern British Columbia cannot be part of Canada. It would be treated the same as any other foreign nation.

The Wet’suwet’en nation would have to negotiate allowing highways, railroads, roads and pipelines to run through its territory in exchange for being allowed to travel and trade in and out of its territory and to arrange for education and health care services. Wet’suwet’en people would not be eligible for EI, CPP or Canada pension benefits.

No one in parliament is raising any of these issues.

Our Members of Parliament seem content with the media portrayal of Wet’suwet’en claims as a David and Goliath tussle, when it has potentially onerous and serious consequences for about 4.5% of our population.

We can’t put the legal and personal rights of our indigenous population at risk to satisfy a handful of hereditary egomaniacs in northern British Columbia.

Sanity has fled parliament. We need an election and a reset.

The issues raised by the blockades are far too important to allow our government to meet behind closed doors and refuse to tell us how they plan to deal with highly complex issues.

The government has not even articulated what the issues are, so it is not to be trusted.


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