‘We are ob­li­gated to pro­tect our ways of life’

Al­berta ral­lies in sup­port of B.C. First Na­tion sched­uled

StarMetro Edmonton - - FRONT PAGE - Pipe­line fight Star Metro on the ground in Wet’suwet’en thes­tar.com/ed­mon­ton

Or­ga­niz­ers in Cal­gary and Ed­mon­ton are hold­ing ral­lies Tues­day in sol­i­dar­ity with mem­bers of the Wet’suwet’en First Na­tion who are work­ing to keep the RCMP and a nat­u­ral gas com­pany off their tra­di­tional ter­ri­tory in north­ern British Columbia.

Mem­bers of the na­tion are cur­rently fac­ing po­lice re­moval from two check­points that block LNG com­pany Coastal Gas Link from en­ter­ing their tra­di­tional land.

On Dec. 14, the B.C. Supreme Court granted Coastal Gas Link a tem­po­rary in­junc­tion against the first check­point — known as the Unist’ot’en Camp — to clear the way for fur­ther con­struc­tion of the pipe­line.

Coastal Gas Link had ar­gued the orig­i­nal check­point ef­fec­tively stalled con­struc­tion on the pipe­line pro­ject.

Roughly 30 ral­lies are be­ing or­ga­nized across Canada and parts of the United States, and even as far afield as Italy, in sup­port of the Wet’suwet’en Na­tion mem­bers, ac­cord­ing to var­i­ous Face­book pages

list­ing the events.

They in­clude a rally out­side the head­quar­ters of Trans Canada Pipe­lines Ltd. — which holds Coastal Gas Link as a sub­sidiary — in down­town Cal­gary at noon on Tues­day.

In re­cent months, Cal­gary

has wit­nessed mass ral­lies of oil-and-gas sup­port­ers frus­trated with the lack of progress on ma­jor in­fras­truc­ture projects, such as the Trans Moun­tain pipe­line ex­pan­sion. The city is also home to the head­quar­ters of some of

Canada’s big­gest oil and gas com­pa­nies.

Michelle Robin­son, a co-or­ga­nizer of the Cal­gary event, said this makes a rally in the city even more im­por­tant.

“I think for us, it’s re­ally im­por­tant from here in Cal­gary to have a show­ing of what’s hap­pen­ing over there is rooted from here,” she said.

In Ed­mon­ton, a rally has been or­ga­nized by Cli­mate Jus­tice Ed­mon­ton and In­dige­nous Cli­mate Ac­tion at Beaver Hills House Park for Tues­day af­ter­noon, ac­cord­ing to a Face­book page.

Eriel Deranger, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of In­dige­nous Cli­mate Ac­tion, be­longs to Athabasca Chipewyan First Na­tion. She was one of the group of or­ga­niz­ers who helped set up Unist’ot’en Camp eight years ago, which is why she says Tues­day’s rally is of “per­sonal in­ter­est” for her.

“I’ve seen the im­mense beauty and the sig­nif­i­cance that the lands and ter­ri­to­ries hold. Not just for the peo­ple of Wet’suwet’en, but frankly for all of us,” she told Star Metro.

“We are now in a time of real cri­sis on the planet where we should be work­ing to pro­tect the last re­main­ing in­tact bio­di­verse re­gions of the world, and that is what the Wet’suwet’en and the Unist’ot’en have been do­ing for the last nine years,” she said.

De­spite the some­times an­gry tone of Cal­gary’s re­cent oil and gas ral­lies, Robin­son said she isn’t con­cerned about the safety of those who show up Tues­day.

Rally or­ga­niz­ers have con­tacted Trans Canada and the Cal­gary Po­lice Ser­vice in ad­vance, she said, and she doesn’t be­lieve that pro-oil sup­port­ers are nec­es­sar­ily op­posed to them.


The Gidimt’en check­point, one of two set up by mem­bers of the Wet’suwet’en Na­tion.

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