Our apologies for accidentally resending yesterday’s newsletter. Here is today’s:
The protests at Wet’suwet’en over the Coastal GasLink pipeline and the blockade of rail lines in Ontario continue.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to address the issue at a news conference this afternoon. He met this morning with his crisis group, who were supposed to discuss not just the protests, but also the coronavirus and the ongoing quest to get Iran to hand over the black box of the downed Ukrainian airliner. (If you want an idea of some of the myriad issues facing cabinet at the moment.)
The protests started because some of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed the construction of the liquefied-natural-gas pipeline through their unceded territory. Some of those chiefs are in Ontario today to meet with the members of the Mohawk Nation in Tyendinega who are behind the rail blockade.
However, many members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation do support the pipeline, including the elected band councils. One hereditary subchief Rita George spoke to The Globe, saying she and many other elders in the community are dismayed by how divisive the protests have become. As well, protesters have come in from outside to advance their own policy goals, she said.
“I want the world to know what’s been happening to us. We are being bullied, it’s so shameful, so hurtful. We are being humiliated," Ms. George said.
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The federal government is continuing with plans to establish a national museum for the RCMP in Regina. It would take over from the RCMP Heritage Centre on the grounds of Depot Division. What remains to be seen is how the institution will tackle some of the more difficult parts of the police force’s history, including its relationships with Indigenous communities. “I just don’t see how you can, in Saskatchewan, build a museum about the RCMP, unless you deal with the truth-telling about the history of the police and First Nations,” said law professor Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond.
The government has decided to leave the video game industry out of upcoming digital-content legislation.
Four Conservative MPs from Alberta are pushing the “Buffalo Declaration," a document that says their province is treated as a “colony” by the Eastern “power elite.”
About 200,000 teachers and education workers are on strike in Ontario today as negotiations continue between the province and the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario.
U.S. intelligence officers are warning lawmakers that Russia is once again trying to interfere in the upcoming election by boosting Donald Trump’s prospects. Mr. Trump and the Republicans, of course, say they doubt the evidence.
And a number of Nobel Prize-winners have decided to weigh in on the federal government’s looming decision on the Teck Frontier oil sands mine. The laureates, including Alice Munro (Literature, 2013), say that the Liberals should act with “moral clarity” and reject the mine because of climate change. The Vancouver-based company, meanwhile, posted weaker fourth-quarter results than expected and said it will have to write down $1.1-billion if the mine is denied.
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on what the rule of law really means: “By contrast, patience on the part of the authorities – not capitulation, but patience, goodwill and, where possible, negotiation – is likely to maintain the support of the larger section of Indigenous opinion. This places a similar constraint on their antagonists on the barricades: In the battle for the middle ground, whichever side appears the most reasonable has the best chance of winning.”
Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on some of the voices protesting the Coastal GasLink pipeline: “Let’s face it: There are a whole bunch of people who have glommed on to this dispute because it offers them a chance to protest about their real cause, which is climate change. Most of them know nothing about the lives of those who actually live along the pipeline route, nothing about the poor Indigenous communities that stand to benefit from this project.”
Shachi Kurl (Ottawa Citizen) on public opinion: “Given that most swing voters identify climate change as their most important issue, and as this country struggles to offer a plan to meet its COP21 targets, does Canada risk turning into a country where the only good resource development project is a cancelled one?”
Chris Selley (National Post) on the Ontario Provincial Police not taking heat for the blockade: “Alas, the OPP are every bit as responsible for enforcing the Criminal Code as they are court injunctions. Without some transfer of enforcement responsibility, the Mohawks of Tyendinaga will continue to be able to shut the CN railway down any time they like, for as long as they like, for any reason they like. It is maddening to see politicians fighting tooth and nail over this issue when they don’t have a single workable idea between them to accomplish what they all claim to want: a clear path both for CN’s locomotives and for CGL’s pipeline project.”
Lisa Kimmel (The Globe and Mail) on how institutions can build trust: “To build confidence, institutions must also work together to tackle the issues that Canadians are concerned about. When it comes to the future of work, government is most trusted to protect gig workers, while business is most trusted to facilitate work-force retraining. These issues are intertwined and there is clearly an opportunity for both parties to work together.”
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on the need for more female leaders: “Imagine a meeting between a prime minister and finance minister, both men, around budget time. Demands are many and revenue limited. If the choice is between replacing some aging frigates or increasing the budget for home care, the men may incline toward the navy, knowing their wives or sisters will make sure mom and dad are looked after. But if the prime minister and finance minister are women who are dealing with the challenges of their own aging parents, maybe increased funding for personal support workers would take priority.”