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Trudeau calls for more dialogue over blockade; Scheer wants cops called in

Transportation Minister Marc Garneau, who earlier this week said he was “concerned” about the blockades, now said he is “very concerned.”

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says let’s have more talks. Opposition leader Andrew Scheer says let’s call in the cops.

Two different reactions to the ongoing cross-Canada protests over construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline through Indigenous lands in B.C.

“”You need to know we have failed our Indigenous peoples over generations, over centuries. And there is no quick fix to it,”  Trudeau told reporters in Munich where he is attending a security conference.

“We also are, obviously, a country of laws. And making sure that those laws are enforced, even as there is, of course, freedom to demonstrate free and to protest.

“Getting that balance right and wrapping it up in the path forward … is really important.”

Transportation Minister Marc Garneau, who earlier this week said he was “concerned” about the blockades, now said he is “very concerned.”

But he stressed protesters have the right to demonstrate – despite the fact legal injunctions are in place against them.

Garneau was at a meeting in Toronto of provincial and territorial transportation officials.

On Thursday, CN Rail announced it was closing down operations in eastern Canada while Via Rail shuttered its entire network because of a Mohawk rail blockade near Brockville, Ont.

And it could get worse Friday as protesters have vowed to try and shut down the B.C. government.

Tory leader Andrew Scheer said enough is enough and it’s time for Trudeau to call in the RCMP to clear the blockades.

“Quite frankly, this is getting ridiculous. Radical activists, many of whom have no connection to theWet’suwet’en people, are holding our economy hostage. Meanwhile our prime minister has been out of the country on a vanity project to win a vote at the UN, neglecting his duties here at home,” Scheer said, referencing Trudeau’s jaunt to Africa.

“Do the right thing, Prime Minister Trudeau. We can’t allow a small number of activists to hold our economy hostage and threaten thousands of jobs. I believe it’s time for the law to be enforced. Law enforcement should enforce the law. We have court orders, court injunctions, they need to be respected.”

Garneau said it is up to the provincial police to enforce a court-ordered injunction to clear away the blockades. 

But that’s not the way the provinces see it.

“It’s up to Justin Trudeau to solve the problem,” Quebec Premier Francois Legault told reporters. “It does not concern Quebec, it does not concern Ontario, it concerns the federal government. It’s up to them to find the solution.”

Greg Rickford, Ontario’s Indigenous affairs minister, issued a statement saying: “This is a national issue affecting all of Canada. It is imperative that the federal government take a more proactive role.”

• What the Western Standard says

The protests have been growing across Canada since last Thursday when the RCMP raided and tore down an Indigenous camp near Smithers.

Thursday, the protesters at the main camp released a new video of RCMP action at the site.

COURTESY GIDIMT’EN CHECKPOINT





RCMP officer seen at Indigenous camp near Smithers, B.C.

B.C. Premier John Horgan said provincial Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Minister Scott Fraser would meet with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs on the condition they end their rail blockade of the Port of Prince Rupert.

Thursday afternoon an agreement had reportedly been reached that will see a meeting between the chiefs, federal and provincial ministers over that blockade.

The pipeline has the support of all First Nations along the route, but hereditary chiefs of Wet’suwet’en Nation, through which 28% of the 670-km route passes, oppose it.

A group of unelected hereditary chiefs had set up a camp near Smithers and have kicked out Coastal GasLink workers.

Courtesy Twitter

The RCMP said they have found traps like felled trees and three stacks of tires along with flammables along the access road.

On Jan. 7, 2019, RCMP arrested 14 protesters along the B.C. logging road. 

International attention was drawn to the issue when a British newspaper reported RCMP were ready to shoot protesters when they broke up the camp. The RCMP denied the story.

On Dec. 31, the B.C. Supreme Court granted CGL an injunction against members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation from blocking the pipeline route near Smithers, B.C.

But the situation has been further complicated after a Jan. 3 edict by the Unist’ot’en, a smaller group within the First Nation, that they intend to terminate an agreement that had granted the company access to the land.

The RCMP checkpoint had been set up at the 27-km mark of the forest service road “to mitigate safety concerns related to the hazardous items of fallen trees and tire piles with incendiary fluids along the roadway.”

The $6.6 billion pipeline, to be operated by TC Energy Corp, would transport gas from near Dawson Creek in northeast B.C. to Kitimat on the coast and supply Canada’s largest liquefied natural gas export terminal, called LNG Canada, which is under construction.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter: @Nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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Trudeau: ‘I’m sorry for not recusing myself on vote for WE money’

“I made a mistake in not recusing myself immediately from the discussions given our family’s history,” Justin Trudeau said.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was sorry he didn’t recuse himself from a cabinet vote that gave nearly a billion dollars to a charity that had given his family members hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“I made a mistake in not recusing myself immediately from the discussions given our family’s history, and I’m sincerely sorry about not having done that,” Trudeau told reporters at a Monday press conference .

“When it came to this organization and this program, the involvement that I’d had in the past and that my family has, should have had me remove myself from those discussions and I’m sorry that I didn’t. I’m particularly sorry because not only has it created unnecessary controversy and issues, it also means that young people who are facing a difficult time right now getting summer jobs, contributing to their communities, are going to have to wait a little longer before getting those opportunities to serve, and that’s frustrating.”

It was Trudeau’s first public comments after it emerged last week the WE organization had paid his mother $250,000, his brother $32,000 and his wife $1,400 to appear at WE events.

In April, Trudeau announced a new program called the Canada Student Service Grant that promised to pay to students who volunteer over the summer.

Management of the $900-million program was outsourced to WE Charity. WE Charity would be paid at least $19.5-million to run the program.

After controversy erupted, the WE organization withdrew from the program.

Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion has announced that his office is investigating.

WE Charity Co-Founders Craig Kielburger and Marc Kielburger issued a statement on the WE website.

“… We respect the public concern that Margaret Trudeau and Alexandre Trudeau were paid past speaking honorariums,” they wrote.

“The past two weeks have been extremely difficult. The charity’s integrity and purpose has been called into question. It has had direct impacts on our staff, supporters, and beneficiaries. We have made mistakes that we sincerely regret. It has led us to more closely examine our own internal structures, governance and organization.

“In the days to come we will have more to say on these matters and about the organization’s future. For now, we wanted to set the record straight, take responsibility for our part, and refocus on the mission that started twenty-five years ago.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Green Party leadership candidate drops out blaming May’s interference

“In the last election the party presented fewer candidates of colour than any other party… this is a situation which is wrong, embarrassing, immoral and that must be addressed,” Tyrrell said.

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A candidate for the leadership of the Green Party of Canada says he is dropping out of the race because of the “constant” interference of former leader Elizabeth May.

Alex Tyrrell, the leader of the Green Party of Quebec, also slammed his federal party as being the least diverse political party in Canada.

“When I decided to put my name forward for the federal leadership, I did so under the assurance that Elizabeth May would not intervene in the race. Although this held true for the first few weeks, her intervention in the race has become more and more visible on social media, behind the scenes and most recently when she launched a fundraising tour with one of her preferred candidates,” said Tyrrell.

“At the same time that Ms. May has been intervening in the race on a daily basis, she has consolidated power in the party by presenting a slate of candidates – managed by her husband (John Kidder), for the federal council elections.

“The unfortunate reality is that the Elizabeth May era will continue for the foreseeable future.”

Alex Tyrrell
Leader of the Green Party of Quebec

Tyrrell said he chose not to run a slate of candidates for the federal council “which turned out to be a mistake.

“Over the past months and weeks Ms. May and her entourage have made it amply clear to me that they will do everything in their power to oppose my candidacy, my political agenda of moving the party to the left and that they will fiercely undermine my leadership in the event that I would win the federal leadership race,” he said.

“In a CBC article published a few days ago, Ms. May’s husband, who is now the party’s vice president, compared my criticisms of their consolidation of power to, and I quote, “fecal matter,” before adding that I “understand nothing about governance” and that I should “return to study.” I view these comments as ageist, condescending, paternalistic and outright disrespectful.

“The level of disrespect shown to me by Ms. May, her husband and their entourage has sent the message to their supporters that it is ok to bully me, to send me hateful messages and to bend the rules against my candidacy.”

Tyrrell said he was the most experienced candidate in the race, having run for the Green Party in 10 provincial elections.

He also slammed the Green Party for its lack of diversity.

“It is no secret that the Green Party of Canada has huge problems with racism, discrimination and exclusion of marginalized communities within its ranks. In the last election the party presented fewer candidates of colour than any other party… this is a situation which is wrong, embarrassing, immoral and that must be addressed,” he said.

The Western Standard has contacted May’s office for comment but so far hasn’t heard back.

The Green Party will select a new leader in October.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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MacKay denies Tory deputy leader promised promotion in exchange for endorsement

Sources tell the Western Standard that Leona Alleslev will become leader of the opposition in the House of Commons until Peter Mackay has a seat, should he win the leadership.

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Federal Conservative Party Deputy Leader Leona Alleslev has resigned to throw her support behind leadership candidate Peter MacKay – with sources tell the Western Standard there is a behind-the-scenes agreement attached to the move.

The sources say that should MacKay win the leadership, Alleslev would be appointed the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons until Peter Mackay wins a seat, either in a by-election or in a general election.

A spokesman for the MacKay campaign categorically denied that there was any quid pro quo.

“That is 100 per cent false. Anyone who has endorsed Peter MacKay, or will endorse Peter MacKay, makes the decision freely without any promises or commitments,” said Jordan Paquet.

Some of the same sources speaking to the Western Standard we’re the same individuals leaked word that Scheer would appoint Alleslev as his deputy leader in November 2018.

Alleslev was first elected as a Liberal under Justin Trudeau in 2015, but cross the floor to the Tories in 2018.

“The selection of the next leader of the Conservative Party of Canada is too important a decision for me to stand to the side. Today, I am stepping down as Deputy Leader of her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition to engage more actively in the leadership campaign,” Alleslev tweeted.

Behind the scenes agreements that reward supporters are common in leadership races, however they are seldom official or in written form.

Mackay famously made a written agreement with David Orchard to win the 2003 federal Progressive Conservative Party leadership, promising never to merge his party with Stephen Harper’s Canadian Alliance.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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