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Indigenous youth group panned for planned trip to Coastal Gaslink pipeline

In an online posting last week, the Indigenous Youth for Wet’suwet’en, said they were travelling to B.C. and asked for public support in terms of dollars and supplies.

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A group of Indigenous youth are being pilloried online for planning to travel to Wet’suwet’en land in B.C. to monitor construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

In an online posting last week, the Indigenous Youth for Wet’suwet’en, said they were travelling to B.C. and asked for public support in terms of dollars and supplies.

This despite orders from as high as the prime minister for people to stay home during the coronavirus crisis to avoid possibly spreading the virus.

There are also restrictions on crowd sizes across the country – B.C. currently has a maximum of 50 people.

The tweet also calls for donations of video cameras, drones, sleeping bags, first-aid kits, batteries and generators.

Close to $11,500 had also been donated by Thursday afternoon.

The plan didn’t sit very well with most people in the twitter thread.

Reaction tweet
Reaction tweet

A request for comment from the Indigenous Youth for Wet’suwet’en so far hasn’t been returned.

But a statement on their website reads: “As Indigenous youth we stand with the Wet’suwet’en nation’s assertion of sovereignty because we understand that Indigenous Peoples will cease to exist without our land; our languages, cultures, and future generations cannot survive without it.

“Indigenous youth are not only inheriting a climate crisis driven by fossil fuel projects like CGL, but Canada’s legacy of colonization, genocide, and gendered violence against Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit people. In protecting the lands from industrial development, we are protecting our bodies from violence.”

In a posting on their website, Coastal GasLink said they have completed their winter construction season.

“Coastal GasLink has been reducing our workforce numbers across northern British Columbia, to approximately 400 by the end of last week from 1,200 in February. During the week of March 30, the workforce ramp-down will conclude in advance of the spring thaw, as we have now completed our winter construction program,” the company said.

“To ensure our construction footprint is safe and secure during the spring thaw, we will continue to employ residents and local contractors to perform critical activities, including environmental monitoring, pipe delivery and stockpile. Local contractors will undertake some off right-of-way site preparation and maintenance as the spring thaw does not impact it.”

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 had kicked out Coastal GasLink workers.

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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Bigots deface French signs in historic Calgary neighbourhood

Located in the community of Rouleauville, also known as Mission, the stop signs also contained the French word ‘Arret’, French for halt.

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Bilingual signs in a historic Calgary neighbourhood have been defaced, with French words being spray-painted out.

Located in the community of Rouleauville, now known as Mission, the stop signs also contained the French word ‘Arret’, French for halt.

But vandals have recently gone through the community with black spray-paint and covered up the French part.

“Oh look: Calgary’s bigots have been busy -erasing one tiny French word. Come on guys, we’re a better city than this! #frab ⁦@cityofcalgary⁩ ⁦@nenshi,” Sheila Risbud tweeted.

Defaced signs

Leela Sharon Aheer, Alberta’s Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women, responded with disgust.

“These actions have no place in our province and must be condemned. Our government values the role of Franco-Albertans and is committed to ensuring the French language and culture flourish in Alberta,” she tweeted.

Rouleauville, now Mission, was originally named for Charles and Edward Rouleau — brothers who moved to Calgary from Quebec in the late 1800s.

The village had been founded by French Canadian priests. 

In 1907, when the village was annexed by the Calgary its French street names were replaced with the current numbered street system.

Council voted in June to add French to the signs.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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UCP hires fired federal Tory official as new executive director

Dustin van Vugt was fired in December after the federal Conservative party’s fundraising arm (the Fund) launched an internal audit into how the party handles expenses.

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The Alberta United Conservative Party has a new executive director – the man fired over the Andrew Scheer private school controversy.

Dustin van Vugt was fired in December after the federal Conservative party’s fundraising arm (the Fund) launched an internal audit into how the party handles expenses.

van Vugt was the executive director of the Fund.

The firing came less than 24 hours after Global News reported that Conservative leader Scheer was using Fund money to send his children to private school, an arrangement van Vugt took responsibility for.

In a statement, van Vugt described the arrangement as “normal practice for political parties” and said “all proper procedures were followed and signed off on by the appropriate people.”

The seven-person board, which included former prime minister Stephen Harper, were furious over the arrangement, Global reported at the time.

Other Tories said van Vugt was being made a scapegoat.

Van Vugt replaces Brad Tennant, who left the job to become a vice-president at the lobbying firm Wellington Advocacy. 

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Biden again vows to shutdown KXL pipeline calling Alberta oil ‘tar sands’

“I’ve been against Keystone from the beginning. It is tar sands that we don’t need — that in fact is very, very high pollutant,” Joe Biden said in an interview on CNBC.

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Likely U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden trashed the Alberta oil industry Friday and again vowed to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion project.

“I’ve been against Keystone from the beginning. It is tar sands that we don’t need — that in fact is very, very high pollutant,” Biden said in an interview on CNBC.

“We’re gonna transition gradually to get to a clean economy.

“But the idea of shutting down Keystone, as if that is the thing that keeps the oil industry moving, is just not rational. It does not economically, nor, in my view, environmentally, make any sense.”

Biden was repeated statements made earlier this week by a campaign official that drew the ire of Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.

Kenney noted the pipeline is part of “sensitive” Canada-U.S. relations and he would “hate to see thousands of miles of pipe pulled out of the ground” if Biden revokes the permit.

Kenney said he was “disappointed” in Biden’s stand and said Alberta officials hope to work with his campaign on the issue.

“It is supported by Americans and all the governors along the pipeline route,” said Kenney.

“KXL would guarantee North America energy independence.”

Kenney announced in April his government was providing $1.5 billion in equity investment and a $6-billion loan guarantee to TC Energy to get the Keystone XL project completed but so far no details have been publicly released. 

After the project is completed, Kenney said the government would sell its shares back to TC Energy but he did not say at what price.

Kenney said while the $1.5-billion has been used to put thousands of people back to work, the $6-billion part of the deal remains untouched.

The premier noted the cross border section of the pipeline has been completed and without the government’s $1.5 billion, work “wouldn’t have been able to start this year.”

He said the remainder of the money would be for the 2021 construction season which TC Energy won’t make a decision on until next January.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi called the Biden news “terrible”.

He noted TC Energy has had many stop-and-gos in the process and “it would be ridiculous to revoke the permit at this time.

“There has been an enormous amount of work gone into the project… and it fits into Canada’s climate goals,” said Nenshi.

If it is stopped “I would feel very disappointed…it feels very late in the game now,” Nenshi said.

 In 2015, Biden was then vice-president to Barack Obama who cancelled the permit.

“It’s still the right decision now. In fact, it’s even more important today,” Stef Feldman told the CBC Monday.

“Biden strongly opposed the Keystone pipeline in the last administration, stood alongside President Obama and Secretary [of State John] Kerry to reject it in 2015, and will proudly stand in the Roosevelt Room again as president and stop it for good by rescinding the Keystone XL pipeline permit.”

When he was elected, Trump overruled the Obama decision and approved the oft-delayed pipeline for construction.

Environmental groups in the States have fought tooth-and-nail in an effort to stop the pipeline.

A judge in Montana put a halt to further construction of the pipeline over concerns of what effects the project may have on endangered species.

The federal judge ordered the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers to conduct a further review and barred it from authorizing dredging in waterways covered by the permit.

The Keystone pipeline runs from Alberta to refineries in Illinois and Texas.

The new pipeline would run from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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