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Protests and marches sparked by RCMP arrest at B.C. pipeline protest camp

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The arrest of 14 people at an Indigenous blockade in a remote area of northern British Columbia became a flash point Tuesday that sparked protests across the country. 

Protesters delayed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s speech in Ottawa, stopped traffic in Vancouver and Victoria and prompted a counter protest in front of the headquarters of the company building the pipeline at the centre of the dispute.

RCMP made the arrests Monday at a blockade southwest of Houston, B.C., where some members of the Gidimt’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation had set up a camp to control access to a pipeline project across their territory.

Police were enforcing a B.C. Supreme Court injunction granted to TransCanada Corp. subsidiary Coastal GasLink. It ordered the removal of obstructions in Wet’suwet’en territory as work gets underway on a $6.2-billion pipeline carrying natural gas from the Dawson Creek area to Kitimat. 

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs told a crowd at Victory Square in Vancouver that it would be a watershed year for Indigenous people in the fight against pipelines crossing their lands.

“We’re starting off 2019 with a bang,” he said to cheers and applause. “I want to say to Prime Minister Trudeau: Welcome to battle ground British Columbia.”

About 60 people attended the rally in support of the First Nation outside the headquarters of TransCanada Corp. in downtown Calgary. They were greeted by about the same number of pipeline supporters who were encouraged to come out by Canada Action, a Calgary-based lobby group.

Chants of “Build that Pipe” drowned out the blockade supporters initially but the anti-pipeline group found its voice and were soon matching the volume with their own chant of “Consent. Sovereignty!”

There were no physical confrontations but angry words and hand gestures flew back and forth as at least a dozen Calgary police officers used their bodies and bicycles to separate the groups.

Stephen Buffalo, CEO of the Indian Resource Council of Canada, which represents oil and gas producing First Nations, took part in the pro-pipeline part of the rally.

“The big thing is we’ve got to be able to support our communities that said yes to this (project) because it’s their community that needs that financial benefit,” he said.

“It’s about getting out of poverty and finding a way for our people.”

Police concerns about a protest in Ottawa forced Trudeau to move to another building close to Parliament Hill to give a speech at a forum.

The company has said it has signed agreements with all First Nations along the route for LNG Canada’s $40 billion liquefied natural gas project in Kitimat, but demonstrators argue Wet’suwet’en house chiefs, who are hereditary rather than elected, have not given consent.

In an open letter issued Tuesday, Coastal GasLink president Rick Gateman said the company took legal action as a last resort and while it respects the rights of people to peacefully express their points of view, safety is a key concern.

“It has been a long, and sometimes difficult, journey but we are proud of the relationships we’ve built, and the support of the communities and all 20 elected Indigenous bands along the route as well as the many hereditary chiefs who also support the project,” he wrote.

He said the pipeline will meet rigorous environment standards and bring significant benefits, including an estimated 2,500 jobs, many with First Nations contractors.

The national chief of the Assembly of First Nations said the use of police force against people peacefully protesting the construction of the pipeline is a violation of their human and Aboriginal rights. 

“Building consensus under duress will make the resolution of the situation in northern British Columbia very difficult,” Perry Bellegarde said in a statement Tuesday. “Real consensus will be built when the parties, with very different views, come together in meaningful and productive dialogue. And I am confident that they can do this.”

Bellegarde said the Canadian and B.C. governments have promised to implement UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples but in northern B.C. they are imposing their laws over those of the Wet’suwet’en.

Gidimt’en member Jen Wickham said hereditary chiefs had gathered near the site of the B.C. camp Tuesday.

The Gidimt’en set up a gate in December in support of an anti-pipeline camp that members of the Unist’ot’en, another Wet’suwet’en clan, established years ago.

Wickham, who has fielded calls from India and the United Kingdom about the pipeline resistance, said it’s been “surreal” to see the international response.

She said she believes the issue is gaining attention now because the Gidimt’en have dispelled the myth that it’s only individuals from one clan opposing the project.

“I think now that the Gidimt’en have stepped up and said, ‘No, this is a nation-based issue, this is about sovereignty,’ it’s really sinking in,” she said.

New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen, who represents the area, said the protest he witnessed on Monday was “determined” but “peaceful. He estimated about 200 police officers were used to enforce the court injunction.

Cpl. Madonna Saunderson would not say how many RCMP officers were involved in the operation.

The Mounties placed exclusion areas and road closures near the Morice River Bridge where the blockade was located that prevented Coastal GasLink from getting access to its pipeline right of way.

LNG Canada announced in October that it was moving ahead with its plans for the Kitimat export facility. Construction on the 670-kilometre natural gas pipeline is scheduled to begin this month.

In Halifax, about 150 protesters gathered on the steps of Halifax Regional Police headquarters, where the RCMP has a significant presence.

“I’m here to stand in solidarity with the folks on the front lines of Wet’suwet’en that are protecting their unceded territory and to express to the RCMP,” Halifax resident Sadie Beaton said before the protest started with a sweetgrass ceremony.

Protesters marched through downtown Toronto, chanting “TransCanada has got to go” and brought afternoon traffic to a halt.

About 500 people gathered at the B.C. legislature in Victoria chanting and carrying placards.

Shelagh Bell-Irving attended the protest in support of the First Nation blockade.

“This is wrong and we have to stop it. We need to shut down Canada now and let the government know we the people are running the show and not them.”

— With files from Dan Healing in Calgary, Dirk Meissner in Victoria, Mike MacDonald in Halifax, Kristy Kirkup in Ottawa, Hina Alam in Vancouver and Paola Loriggio in Toronto.

 

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Terri Theodore , The Canadian Press

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Economy

In a “Staggering Precedent” Trudeau government dodging parliament with massive “inflation tax” on Canadians

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Federal Conservative Pierre Poilievre has released video from a recent Question of Privilege in the House of Commons where he explains how the Federal Liberal government has been dodging parliament to significantly raise taxes.

Instead of going further into debt or raising taxes to pay for a massive increase in government spending, the Trudeau government worked out a deal with the Central Bank.  Every week the Central Bank prints billions of dollars that go directly to government coffers.  Without a single vote and without consulting Parliament, the federal government is effectively raking in the largest tax increase in Canadian history.

By printing money at this unprecedented rate, the federal government is responsible for driving up Canada’s inflation rate resulting in price hikes for virtually all goods and services.  Poilievre calls it an “inflation tax”.

In this short video, Poilievre describes how the inflation tax hurts low and middle income Canadians, while increasing the value of assets owned by the richest Canadians.

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Alberta

New opinion surveys reveal overwhelming majority of Canadians support our Oil and Gas industry

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News Release from Canada Action

We are very excited to share some recent and encouraging polling results today. According to a July 2021 public opinion survey conducted by Research Co, new data shows that Canada’s public perception of our responsible energy industry is very positive.

Here are some of the key findings:

  • Almost three in four (73 percent) Canadians polled agree Canada should be a preferred global supplier of energy because of its climate and environmental record.
  • Nearly seven in ten (69 percent) say they have personally benefited from the oil and gas sector.
  • 70 percent agree that resource development could help alleviate systemic poverty within Indigenous communities.
  • Two thirds of Canadians (66 percent) support Canada’s role as a global oil and gas supplier.
  • Almost three in four Canadians (73 percent) acknowledge Canada’s prosperity is supported by the oil and gas sector and that Canadian oil and gas production helps fund important social programs like health care and education.

Referring to the fact 73 percent of Canadians polled also agreed it’s essential First Nations be included in project development to establish long-term revenue sources for their communities, JP Gladu, acting Executive Director of Indigenous Resource Network, noted the following:

Taken collectively, this is all exceptional news for all of Canada’s natural resource industries. Your support for our positive, fact based message about why the world needs more Canadian energy and resources is helping make a difference.

A Majority of Canadians ‘Agree’ that Canada Should be a Preferred Global Supplier of Energy: POLL

two thirds of canadians support canada's role as a global oil and gas supplier

A new public opinion survey conducted by Research Co. on behalf of Canada Action has found that a majority of Canadians across the country support the vital oil and gas sector! The poll, released on July 14th, showed that 68% of participants ‘agree’ that Canada should be the choice supplier to meet future oil and gas demand, while two-thirds (66%) support Canada’s role as a global oil and gas supplier versus just 19% who were opposed.

Additionally, almost three in four Canadians (73%) acknowledged Canada’s prosperity is supported by the oil and gas sector and that the industry helps fund important social programs such as healthcare and education.

“It’s a strong and very welcome result, and one that shows most Canadians feel proud of the work their energy sector is doing to enhance its record on ESG criteria. The results also show most Canadians believe the world needs more Canadian energy and are aware of the importance of the sector to the prosperity of families and communities right across the country,” said Cody Battershill, Canada Action founder.

Canada Oil and Gas Sector Generated 493 Billion Government Revenues 2000-2018-02

Between 2000 and 2018, approximately $493 billion in government revenues were generated by Canada’s oil and gas industry, capital which has been used pay for schools, hospitals, roads and the workers that make these projects possible/operational. Every Canadian has benefitted from oil and gas in some way, shape, or form; nearly seven-in-ten Canadians (69%) of participants also acknowledged that Canada’s oil and gas sector has benefitted them personally.

Nearly three-in-four Canadians (73%) also agreed that global markets should prioritize jurisdictions like Canada that are leaders in climate action and environmental protection. This is a logical choice as Canada’s oil and gas industry ranks number one for Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices among nations with the largest oil reserves, and of the world’s top 20 producers, 2nd for governance and social progress and 4th on the environment.

“Given the world requires $525 billion of new oil and gas investment per year just to meet current demand, we think we ought to push for Canada to receive a sizeable share of this investment,” Battershill added.

68% of canadians agree that Canada should be the choice supplier to meet future oil and gas demand

Canada’s world-class ESG performance shows that our nation is home to one of the most environmentally conscious and sustainable oil and gas industries in the world. With future supply gaps on the horizon, it only makes sense that ESG-focussed investors look to Canada as a choice supplier for as long as the world needs oil – and it will for many decades to come.

73% of participants also agreed that it’s essential First Nations be included in project development to establish long-term revenue sources for their communities.

“These are heartening results. Indigenous nations and businesses want to be partners in resource development. This poll shows there’s widespread support to work together for the benefit of all,” said JP Gladu, acting Executive Director of the Indigenous Resource Network.

Below is a summary of all poll results collected by Research Co.

Poll Results:

73% of canadians agree that Canada's oil and gas sector helps fund social programs like healthcare and education

Two-thirds of Canadians (66%) support Canada’s role as a global oil and gas supplier, while one-in-five (19%) are opposed

– Almost seven-in-ten Canadians (69%) say the oil and gas industry has benefitted them personally

– Almost three-in-four Canadians (73%) agree that global markets should prioritize jurisdictions like Canada that are leaders in climate action and environmental protection

– Almost three-in-four Canadians (73%) agree that Canadian oil and gas products help fund important social programs like healthcare and education for Canadians

– More than seven-in-ten Canadians (72%) agree that sustainability measures are better served when energy is sourced from Canada compared to less environmentally friendly jurisdictions

three quarters of Canada believe that global markets should favour sustainable oil producers in Canada

Seven-in-ten Canadians (70%) agree that Canada should be the choice recipient of investments due to its climate leadership and environmental policies

– More than two-thirds of Canadians (68%) agree that Canada should be the choice supplier to meet future oil and gas demand

– Over three-in-five Canadians (64%) agree that investing in Canada’s oil and gas sector makes sense if you value climate leadership, social progress and transparency

Fewer than half of Canadians (45%) were aware that Canada is a leader for environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices among countries with the largest oil and gas reserves

– More than two-in-five Canadians (43%) were aware that Canadian energy companies are global leaders in carbon capture, utilization and storage

70% of Canadians believe Canada should be a choice recipient for investments due to ESG leadership

– Just over two-in-five Canadians (41%) were aware that Canadian natural gas exported to Asia can reduce global emissions by displacing coal power usage

– Almost three-in-four Canadians (73%) agree that global markets should prioritize jurisdictions like Canada that are leaders in climate leadership and environmental protection

– Almost three-in-four Canadians (73%) agree that Canada should be a destination of choice for energy investment due to its climate leadership, worker safety and environmental policies

– More than two-thirds of Canadians (68%) agree that Canada should be the choice supplier to meet future oil and gas demand

– Almost three-in-four Canadians (74%) think Canada should act in a similar fashion to Norway when it comes to energy practices, as the nation has said they will continue to maximize the value created from their oil and gas reserves

Canada ESG Record vs. Top Global Oil Exporters

– Almost three-in-four Canadians (73%) agree that Canada’s prosperity is supported by the oil and gas sector practices

– Almost three-in-four Canadians (73%) agree that it is essential that First Nations be included in project development to establish long-term revenue sources for their communities

Seven-in-ten Canadians (70%) agree that Systemic poverty within Indigenous communities could be alleviated with resource development

– Almost seven-in-ten Canadians (69%) agree that Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in Canada should play a role in supplying our energy to meet domestic and global demands

More than half of Canadians (56%) agree with the decision related to the TMX expansion, while one-in-five (21%) disagree, and a similar proportion (22%) are undecided. Support for the decision is highest in Alberta and Atlantic Canada (each at 63%), followed by Ontario (57%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (56%), British Columbia (55%) and Quebec (52%)

– Over three-in-five Canadians (62%) think the Indigenous communities support the Trans Mountain Pipeline (TMX) project

– More than three-in-ten Canadians (31%) are more likely to support the Trans Mountain expansion upon learning of the views of Indigenous communities, while 7% are less likely to support. More than two-in-five (47%) say their position has not changed as a result of this fact

Results were based on an online study among 1,000 adults in Canada, conducted July 7 to 9, 2021 and weighted for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

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