Justin Trudeau’s tears are worthless. This week’s assault shows he’s just another corporate stooge.

Left, Trudeau offers tearful apology to Indigenous groups; rights, Canadian state forces raid unceded Indigenous territory.
John McEvoy

Through teary eyes, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau offered a “long, overdue apology” in November 2017 to Indigenous populations who had suffered at the hands of the Canadian state. “Saying that we are sorry today is not enough,” he continued, “it will not… undo the harm.”

But for as long as Trudeau continues Canada’s colonial legacy, his tears are worthless. And in the latest chapter of Trudeau’s subservience to corporate interests, Canadian state forces have invaded Indigenous land to defend a gas pipeline.

Unceded territory

During what Canadian activist Naomi Klein described as “a shameful day for Canada”, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) raided protected Wet’suwet’en territory in the west of the country on 7 January. Those protecting the land’s boundaries captured the moment the RCMP – some heavily armed and wearing balaclavas – forcibly entered:

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The Wet’suwet’en people have “unanimously opposed all pipeline proposals”. And they are resisting a court injunction ordering them to grant the Coastal GasLink project – operated by Canadian corporation TransCanada (which is currently considering a name change) – access to infrastructure within their territory. They claim the proposed pipeline is a threat to their rights, means of survival, and way of life.

Freda Huson, a spokesperson for one of the Wet’suwet’en clans, said:

I am here in my home, on my land… Without water, no human will survive and these projects like TransCanada’s Coastal Gaslink threatens the water.

Not the first time

For not the first time in Trudeau’s administration, Indigenous groups are claiming that the government did not adequately consult them about pipeline plans. Moreover, Article 10 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states that “Indigenous Peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their land or territories”. So the invasion of Wet’suwet’en land and the subsequent arrest of 14 people seems to be in clear violation of international law.

The RCMP’s mobilisation into First Nations territory is also symbolically important. Though people romantically refer to them as the ‘mounties’, the RCMP was central to the dispossession of Indigenous groups during the “Great March West” of the 1800s. According to historian Katherine Pettipas, they were “employed to assert Canada’s hegemony in the Western interior”.

The world is watching

Protests across Canada quickly spread into expressions of solidarity worldwide:

And the Wet’suwet’en people responded by saying that they are “humbled by the outpouring of solidarity”:

Trudeau’s pandering to corporate interests threatens both Indigenous people and the environment. So we must look past his tears. Because the assault on Indigenous rights is unacceptable; and it exposes Trudeau for what he really is – just another corporate stooge.

Only sustained global pressure and solidarity can end this.

Featured image via Michael T /screengrab and CBC News

Get involved

  • Support the Wet’suwet’en people by donating to their legal fund.
  • Follow the Unist’ot’en camp’s Twitter page to get the latest updates.
  • See more Environmental stories from The Canary.

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    1. Quite a few of us In Canda are feeling like we are natives too, and we are not indigineous,
      We have weak politicians accessing the public’s deep pockets of funds without our say to give to foreign corporate interests, and issuing a legally flawed rule book on how to behave, along with ” letters of mark” to these Social Godzillas to deposit money into the Account of Our State.
      It is for State Revenue without an accounting, or discussion by us in this democracy.
      To put this in perspective, in 1927 the governments of Canada conspired in preventing any land claims from going to Court.
      We have come a long ways without this kind of colonial dominance dictating to us how to think, and will do so in the future.
      We have England’s past to learn from for this, and I have a sympathy for what the people of England are suffering through now with austerity.
      Austerity is fascism’s visible social face.
      Without the austerity imposed on Germany in reparations for WW1 I don’t think you would of seen the rise of Hitler.

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