The RCMP in B.C. say they are prepared to move away from the site of the Wet’suwet’en protests. That has been a key ask of the hereditary chiefs who are opposing the construction of the Coastal GasLink natural-gas pipeline through their unceded territory.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said he hopes this mean the blockades that have crippled Canada’s rail network could soon be over. “The condition that people said was the reason for the barricades has now been met,” he told reporters this morning.
Some of those hereditary chiefs are in Ontario today, where they are meeting members of the Mohawk nation that are created the blockade at Tyendinaga. Back in B.C., members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation who do support the pipeline held their own meeting on Wednesday. “All of these protesters don’t have the right to close down railways and ships. It’s not right. Go away. I want them to leave," Marion Tiljoe Shepherd said.
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The Lima Group, a coalition of countries working to find a peaceful end to Venezuela’s economic crisis, is meeting in Ottawa today. The division of leadership in the South American nation is apparent in their representation to Ottawa: the Venezuelan embassy is staffed by officials appointed by contested president Nicolas Maduro, while the ambassador officially recognized by Canada is left to work out of his condo.
The Senate ethics officer has found Senator Victor Oh breached the chamber’s ethics rules by accepting a paid two-week trip to China. Mr. Oh’s travels were first revealed by The Globe and Mail.
The Ontario government is working to revamp its new licence plate design after criticism from some, including police officers, who said it was unreadable.
Michael Bloomberg drew the fire of other Democratic presidential candidates in a debate in Nevada last night. “Democrats take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another," Elizabeth Warren said.
And Meghan and Harry are set to end their official royal duties as of March 31. The Queen is also reviewing whether they should be allowed to call their new business ventures “Sussex Royal,” which could complicate the couple’s post-royal plans.
Robyn Urback (The Globe and Mail) on Trudeau’s response to the Wet’suwet’en protests: “Perhaps Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should have gone to Barbados after all. At least then he could’ve gotten fresh photo ops, a few more promises of support for Canada’s vain quest for a UN Security Council seat, and maybe even a tan.”
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on the issue of who has a voice in the Wet’suwet’en discussions: “Elected band councils approved a route for the Coastal GasLink pipeline to go through Wet’suwet’en territory, but there are hereditary chiefs who are opposed. The elected councils have a claim to democratic legitimacy, but critics claim they are chosen by a colonial system set up by the hated Indian Act; the hereditary chiefs claim a traditional jurisdiction. Who speaks for Wet’suwet’en? Certainly, Ottawa can’t decide that.”
Jula Hughes and Elizabeth Blaney (The Globe and Mail) on the RCMP and Indigenous communities: “It may be inconvenient for the federal government to have to negotiate rather than send in the Mounties. It may even delay some projects and derail some others altogether. But using the RCMP to aggressively support fossil-fuel infrastructure against the wishes of Indigenous protesters sends a message that the RCMP are the enemy – which in turn continues to put Indigenous women at grave risk of violent victimization.”
Corey Shefman (The Globe and Mail) on calls for preserving “the rule of law”: “The invocations of the rule of law are not simply innocent pleas to neutrality and lawfulness; they’re self-serving calls to once again disenfranchise Indigenous people so that settlers won’t have to be inconvenienced.”
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on why the government shouldn’t rely on force to end protests: “Canada is an immense country – the source of its strength, but also of its weakness. Its populated areas laid out in a narrow strip along the U.S. border thousands of kilometres long; its infrastructure – the arteries through which its people move and its goods are shipped — is peculiarly exposed. All you need is one chokepoint to shut down the lot. It is simply not possible to protect every mile of rail or pipeline, every highway and every port, from blockade or sabotage.”
Natan Obed (Maclean’s) on the need for an Indigenous human rights commission: “The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities or the UN Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination are examples of the failures of an approach without adequate redress for violation. These longstanding international treaties were ratified by Canada, yet have never been fully implemented in Inuit Nunangat, where profound gaps in services remain for the most vulnerable members of our society. The most glaring challenge: governments, which are reluctant to hold themselves accountable for non-compliance, and have the sole responsibility to report on their own conduct in implementing the rights affirmed in those treaties.”
Bessma Momani (The Globe and Mail) on Trudeau shaking hands with Iran’s foreign minister: “This was a diplomatic coup for the Iranian regime. A leader of the liberal world order, shaking hands with a representative of a regime responsible for killing so many people, offering Iran a chance to claim a foreign-policy win at a time of continued international isolation, painful U.S.-imposed economic sanctions and internal protests calling for the removal of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. But we must remember that in this moment, Canada got the mechanics of diplomacy right, yet it failed royally in the optics.”
Lori Turnbull (The Globe and Mail) on allegations of partisanship in the appointment of judges: “Given that partisan and patronage appointments have been woven into our political fabric, the news that, over the past several years, politicians, party members and party volunteers have been throwing their two cents into discussions on judicial appointments will come as a shock to absolutely no one.”
Rita Trichur (The Globe and Mail) on government incentives: “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a lofty goal, but governments should be cautious about how they stoke demand for electric vehicles to avoid creating unintended risks for the financial system. Debt-laden Canadians have increasingly opted for longer-term auto loans in recent years to lower their monthly payments. Given the relatively high price of electric vehicles, more government-mandated sales could result in even longer amortizations for auto loans and leave consumers deeper in hock.”