Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Vince Fedoroff

ENDORSING INDIGENOUS SOVEREIGNTY – The bitter cold didn’t dissuade an estimated 50 protestors from attending Tuesday’s event.

Image title

Photo by Vince Fedoroff

JP Pinard, Charles Laanstra, Sidney Maddison

Solidarity protest draws dozens outside RCMP offices

At least 50 protestors showed up in front of the Whitehorse RCMP detachment early Tuesday afternoon to show support for the Wet’suwet’en Nation.

By Palak Mangat on January 9, 2019

At least 50 protestors showed up in front of the Whitehorse RCMP detachment early Tuesday afternoon to show support for the Wet’suwet’en Nation.

The frigid event was just one of many rallies planned in 55 cities across the country yesterday.

Charles Douglas Everett Laanstra is the organizer behind the Whitehorse event.

He explained the location was a strategic one to send a message to police action on protestors in the territory’s southern neighbour.

“We wanted to be in a public place because the more people RCMP know are watching, the safer our comrades are on the ground” in B.C., Laanstra said.

That was after reports of officers confronting members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation over pipeline protests surfaced, with some showing that armed police tore down barricades and arrested more than a dozen people.

The protests are in a show of solidarity to the nation in “defending their unceded lands from unwanted fracked gas development,” explained a release circulated at the Whitehorse event.

After some protestors manned a couple of checkpoints that blocked Coastal GasLink from accessing the B.C. area, reports showed that dozens of officers used a court injunction Monday that led to the arrests of 14 people.

That included the blockade set up along the Morice River Forest Service Road, sitting just southwest of Houston, B.C.

One of those 14 arrested earlier this week was Molly Wickham, a spokesperson for Gitdumden – one of the clans part of the Wet’suwet’en Nation and checkpoints set up.

The work that was trying to be accessed by Coastal GasLink is part of a project that will see a 670-kilometre pipeline that is to eventually deliver natural gas from Dawson Creek to Kitimat, B.C. (slated to be the future site of LNG Canada).

Back in Whitehorse, Laanstra said there was once again tense relations between a First Nation in the province and the federal government as a result of such actions.

“We are here in front of the RCMP station because (they) have taken a very narrow interpretation of Indigenous title,” he said, feeling it reflects favouritism shown to private interests.

Himself a Canadian of Scottish, Dutch, Irish and English background, Laanstra said it was disheartening to see peaceful protestors being arrested, particularly those who are Indigenous.

Another person on hand, Sidney Maddison, agreed.

“We’re protesting the fact that RCMP are taking Indigenous people off their land, they are protesting on their own land,” Maddison said, saying it can be a poor sign of reconciliation to use a court injunction to confront protestors.

That’s because the injunction gave some of those protesting about three days to remove obstructions.

That, police said, did not happen, thus preventing the company (Coastal GasLink) from working around the area.

Explaining he is not an official spokesperson for Wet’suwet’en but a concerned private citizen, Laanstra felt compelled to organize the event after reading about what he was concerned led to the “RCMP going above and beyond their mandate.”

The protests and arrests, which garnered national attention, also prompted Coastal GasLink to release an open letter (available on its webpage) to B.C. residents and First Nations.

Legal action was taken “as a last resort,” company president Rick Gateman wrote.

That was in reference to Monday, when company representatives visited the checkpoint along the Morice River bridge to gain access to the area but were unable to come to a resolution. That resulted in the RCMP enforcing the injunction order granted Dec. 14.

“The outcome of the impasse at the Morice Bridge River crossing is not one we wanted,” Gateman’s letter said.

“It’s unfortunate that RCMP were forced to take this action to ensure the re-establishment of lawful access to this public bridge and road that leads to our pipeline right of way.”

Adding the group’s preference is to have open communication, he continued that it respects the right for defenders to peacefully express their points of view “as long as their activities do not disrupt or jeopardize the safety of the public, our employees, our contractors, and even themselves.”

Meanwhile, JP Pinard, a Whitehorse-based engineer and consultant, said the bigger picture is also worth looking at.

Explaining he is working as a renewable energy expert, Pinard said his focus is to promote renewable energy for the territory and the country’s remote communities.

“This is another example of yet another pipeline being pushed through to extract even more fossil fuel into our country,” Pinard sighed.

Looking out into the crowd gathered, some of whom had brought drums, he said it’s encouraging to see a number of similar events across cities in Canada pop up.

“That’s what keeps me going, that’s what I need. To be amongst people like this to keep me encouraged,” Pinard said of those braving the -30 C temperatures around midday Tuesday.

But the overall picture, he said, is something he hopes will be brought out by events like these: what he called the federal government’s coziness with pipeline projects.

“It’s the wrong approach, the scientists of the world are saying we only have 10 years to get off fossil fuel.

“That’s 10 years, but we should be acting now.”

Other cities in which there were planned rallies to support Wet’suwet’en land defenders include Calgary, Toronto, London and Thunder Bay in Ontario, along with international ones in Atlanta, Milan, New York City and San Francisco.

Comments (34)

Up 2 Down 0

Josey Wales on Jan 15, 2019 at 9:00 pm

Hey Sally....Anger? Naaaah, just dissent and critical thinkers.
If we that are not like you, are alleged to be angry...?
Sally Wrong, reads like you are a graduate of Victim U?
I come from a cultural that essentially was the industrial revolution, to critically think....creates critical change and really neat s**t.
Oil is the current lubricity of modern life, until there is a realistic replacement...pipelines rock, oil rocks, machinery rocks, science and reason does too.

Wallowing in suggested self pity and victimhood, vilify all whom dissent?
Nope Sally Wrong those traits do not rock.
Have a good day SW

Up 2 Down 0

Josey Wales on Jan 15, 2019 at 8:40 pm

Hey Ed...use those keys with quotation marks on them, and show me what in my participation is racist please.
Just right below, should be easy?
You do have a point though, there are a lot of OJW haters out here in this now beta town.
Ever think that folks may agree with me, as my points are very often valid and factual ...being correct is a by-product.
Back to NorthBeat eh Ed?

Up 0 Down 2

Ed Norton on Jan 15, 2019 at 5:24 pm

Mr. tired of it, let's be clear here. This is not about all people who want to see us open their eyes about how we are destroying the place we depend on to live, not using resources. We all know that we have to extract resources in order to live like we do now, it is about how we extract, there should be places that resource extraction does not happen. At the end of the day we need to care for this small planet. Let's think about what we are doing, there has got to be middle ground, your grandchildren and mine are depending on it.

Up 20 Down 3

Tired of it on Jan 15, 2019 at 4:03 pm

@ Sally Wright and JP: and how do you protect mother earth? How do you get into town, buy your food or use your internet? You probably have a canoe too, and if it is not made out of birch oil was used. Same with your bike. If you are so sanctimonious you should walk the walk. Live off the land (berries and meat), don't come into town and don't go on holidays. Ever. As a matter of fact, living in a big city would have a much smaller impact on the environment than living in good old Yukon.

Up 2 Down 17

Ed Norton on Jan 15, 2019 at 1:55 pm

It is hilarious how all people disagree with JW if he is talking about anything other then First Nations.
The moment he starts spewing towards First Nations, the racist in all comes out. LOL.

Up 4 Down 31

Sally Wright on Jan 14, 2019 at 7:16 pm

So much anger directed at people who realize and are willing to stand up for all your children's future. We are in dangerous climate change times. The danger is apparent to the homeless people created by wildfires in BC and California. The future has to be fueled by renewable energy. It is well known that LNG has the same carbon footprint as coal. The Indigenous people of Canada are telling us that we need to protect Mother Earth, we need to heed their wise words. Best protest of 2019 so far. Thank you. Massi Cho.

Up 3 Down 18

Marten Furtrapper on Jan 14, 2019 at 5:19 pm

@ John - Is that your name or the place you do your thinking?
In what world - Oh wait, is it okay to steal someone’s car, give them a ride here and there, keep said car and not give it back? Where is your car - We can share it - When I’m not using it!

Up 18 Down 1

Golly Gee Mister on Jan 14, 2019 at 5:07 pm

Particularly those who were Indigenous - Have we stepped away from any sense of objectivity now?
We should not arrest anyone... Especially aboriginals?

Up 21 Down 4

Josey Wales on Jan 14, 2019 at 2:55 am

Hey Jack...nothing really amazing of that which you illustrate.
Since as long as I can remember, and that is awhile...been standard operating procedure.
Remember the injustices when the cultural elites could not vote for our lying scoundrels we call politicians?
Well here we are, and we cannot vote for “their” scoundrels now.
On top of that, we are supposed to award power to birth of a chosen few?
Sounds a lot like Saudi Arabia and Islam’s Sharia to this alleged invader.

We as a country just went through this nonsense in our last federal election cycle.

When I start seeing the elites acting as the facade they propagandize, I will book my trip “home”
Actually I could walk back, without getting my feet wet.
Another example of why identity politics is an epic fail.
Figuring any of this out folks?
It is as constant as gravity the epic stupidity that is identity politics.
Union funded, Soros funded...none of it grassroots nor genuine I suggest.

Up 25 Down 5

John on Jan 13, 2019 at 10:35 pm

@Marten (or whoever you are) - Hm, seems everyone in Canada has done well from the resource extraction - both FN and non-FN. Perhaps you need to pull your head out and smell the roses.

Up 7 Down 53

Marten Furtrapper on Jan 12, 2019 at 2:26 pm

@ Martin - Those resources do not belong to Canada. They belong to the long ago people’s whose lands you dispossessed. Go home!

Up 48 Down 6

Jack on Jan 11, 2019 at 6:14 pm

Amazing how indigenous people keep making up hereditary rules. They keep changing to suit the issues, make traditional knowledge statements (whatever that is), and invent new governance structures as an industry aka cash machine.

Up 42 Down 7

Josey Wales on Jan 11, 2019 at 1:31 pm

Wow...how uninformed could a funded bunch of lobbyists ever be?
Take your perpetual whinefest to the courts on 2nd ave, as logical folks have suggested.

Do not see too many furs or any deerskin, but gobs-o-dinosaur juice spun into modern practical warm clothing.
Kinda like protesting world famine whilst eating a smokie and inhaling some poutine, quite seriously it reeeeeks hypocrisy.
Could this cognitive dissonance be a direct result of time spent in public school, watching/listening to the communist brainwashing corporation or wallowing too long in the victimhood syndrome?
I suggest a trifecta, or hat trick with all those suggested above contributing to said cognitive dissonance.
I guess the himbo in Ottawa is not going to save the world, just pander excessively using the cultural elites as mere pawns in the political games of chess?

Heating oil companies should do what Facebook does, and seems many others. If you do not support pipelines and petroleum, we will not sell to you....or illustrate how due too misaligned ideological thoughts...
We have suspended your account with monies owed given 30 days and credits refunded within 48 hrs of notice.
We did appreciate your business prior to the misalignment, but cannot any longer continue our business relationship.

I would love to start seeing that....RETURNED tactic.

Up 41 Down 6

Jim on Jan 11, 2019 at 12:26 pm

Interesting that both news outlets write the same article on this. But you can definitely tell which paper the left leaning read. Just reading the comments is a clear answer. The other article talks about the “amass” of protesters in front of the RCMP. Not sure when 50 (although looks like about 20 in the photo) was the same as amassing, but that’s the spin they wish to put on it. Would like to see the yellow vest and pro oil protests get equal amount of media coverage. There are 2 sides to every story. Just not too much in Canada.

Up 10 Down 11

Barty Bartholumeuw on Jan 10, 2019 at 9:26 pm

We the Liberals will provide.

Up 26 Down 4

My Opinion on Jan 10, 2019 at 8:57 pm

You are completely correct. Also the Rockefeller Foundation (Chevron, Exon, Esso Etc) and we can't forget the guy that owns all the North, South, Railways in the U.S. Mr. Warren Buffet, completely in his interest to see no pipelines.

Let's not even get into the U.S. wanting to control our resources until they feel it is time to just come and take them.
Nothing to see here folks just keep moving.

Up 28 Down 4

Juniper Jackson on Jan 10, 2019 at 6:01 pm

Mr. Sam McGee: Tides funded by the Open Society Foundation, and in turn funds the Sierra Club... Mr. George Soros, who founded what used to be the Open Society Institute is 88 years old now, and his son Patrick is now CEO. The Foundation and old George have both got international issues with justice, law.. Hungary has even passed a law nicknamed "stop soros". Most countries have now passed laws forbidding political parties from taking foreign money. Except Trudeau.. and he's said.. bring it on. The Open Society Foundation is looking at Canada to become borderless. President Trump is building a wall against the wrong country.

Up 42 Down 5

martin on Jan 10, 2019 at 5:31 pm

If the aboriginal people of Canada don't want Canada to sell its resources, Canada shouldn't share its wealth (fare) w/the said people.

Up 50 Down 5

Sam McGee on Jan 10, 2019 at 3:15 pm

One part of this that people might not be aware of is that the protesters in BC are being funded by multi-million dollar special interest groups and lobbyists in the United States. A lot of the funding comes from San Francisco-based Tides and the Sierra Club.

Up 42 Down 6

Groucho d'North on Jan 10, 2019 at 12:36 pm

Self-governing first nations will never require the party system to represent their contituents, they already have enough division within their governments to ensure any progress or advancement is sufficiently squelched.

Up 43 Down 8

Runs Amok on Jan 10, 2019 at 7:10 am

Why not go protest at the Courthouse - This is where the stupid decisions get made that the RCMP and others must then enact.
Take it to the Courts! They are the ones creating this Schmidt!

Up 57 Down 6

Karl on Jan 9, 2019 at 9:17 pm

Did they leave their cars idling nearby so they could go warm up?

Up 63 Down 6

My Opinion on Jan 9, 2019 at 8:56 pm

As a country we can no longer allow the Government to pander to people and create division and with this a divide and conquer type of politics. When you do this you completely create Racism.

Our economy cannot be held ransom by a very small minority of protesters. Paid protesters at that. Follow the money.

Up 46 Down 5

Juniper Jackson on Jan 9, 2019 at 8:27 pm

I am not personally in favor of just any ol' mine, or just any pipeline, or train route or shipping options, or oil well.. but.. I am in favor of responsible mining, modern techniques with respect to the land and environment.. approaches that respect the people who will be affected.. (which is all of us). The mining operations of 2018 are not the operations of say.. Cypress Anvil..

Frankly, I have no desire to live without heat.. to have a pair of wooden teeth because they can't make denture anymore.. yup..even the teeth in my head come from some by product of the trade..I don't want to ride a bike..I like my cheap little beast..it gets me from A to Z.. oh.. never mind..I wouldn't have a bike to ride.. and my wheelchair.. I don't want a log wheel, or a wooden carryall.. injections every day? yeah, I can keep my drugs in the fridge and inject myself.. I don't want to go back to..oh.. wait again.. the life span was 44 years..it's 84 now. I'd like to have my 84. My point would be..how far are these people going to go with this total ban BS? Demand responsible mining, because it isn't ALL oil and gas ya know.. and I'd be with ya'.. but I don't support how people are making their views known..and..I'm suspicious of their motives. As for the Trudeau government, that hour has 22 minutes.. and Notley? who is that anyway? But, everyone will remember Kenny.

Up 51 Down 4

Elected rights on Jan 9, 2019 at 7:21 pm

So, this First Nations claim their elder (inherited) chiefs did not agree to this, but their elected chiefs did and they do not have the right ( even though their own First Nation says they do). Why aren’t these protesters lining up in front of the association of Yukon First Nations? They’re elected members signing deals and agreements on behalf of their people. Which according to the wet suwet en people is illegal.
Respect for First Nation traditions is a good thing... allowing for non representative religious / inherited power figures to represent people, is problematic at best, regressive to their own society’s at worst

Up 55 Down 4

Guncache on Jan 9, 2019 at 7:03 pm

So you don't want the pipeline. Probably best to cut off all fuel trucks entering your land.

Up 57 Down 5

drum on Jan 9, 2019 at 7:02 pm

This is all nonsense - progress is enjoyed by the bands - wealth, heated houses, gas driven cars etc. It never ceases to amazes me to find so many people able to spend so much of their time in protests and blockades - living for months in protest camps. Most people have to work for a living and go to work at least five days a week.

Up 56 Down 4

Loonie Tunes on Jan 9, 2019 at 5:49 pm

This is like watching a bad cartoon. A handful of people assume they can block an approved multi-billion dollar project without consequences. Consultation has been done. Elected chief and council have signed off. All of them. But now consultation is expected to extend to hereditary chiefs as well. Then who, every individual? If Canada hopes to be part of the world economic trading system, then these people have to pull their heads out of their butts and become part of society.
As soon as these protest warriors hear the word “pipeline”, they start colouring their stupid placards, without thinking. All these social programs that we have are in part to these types of large scale projects. And by the way, JP Pinard, it also helps pay for development of your renewable resources. Feds are paying for windmills in Burwash, solar panels in Old Crow and more. Where do you think this money comes from?
Also these people were not arrested for being on their land. It was because they were blocking access to workers who had a legal right to be there, due to the agreement signed by the bands elected representatives.

Up 17 Down 72

Dan Huntsman on Jan 9, 2019 at 4:02 pm

Since the Wet’suwet’en Nation has not agreed to a land claims agreement the government and pipeline company should deal with the use of their land through negotiation and respect.

If there is no agreement the pipeline should be located elsewhere. This all relates to modern land claims agreements and FN rights.

Up 37 Down 18

Gringo on Jan 9, 2019 at 3:46 pm

They should have trotted down to many rivers and gave them a helping hand with their alleged plight.

Up 89 Down 9

Scott on Jan 9, 2019 at 3:36 pm

What a bunch of misinformed people. Coast has agreements with all of the FNs along the route. The road being accessed is only required to get to the construction site. No construction is being done on that land. There is no fracking on that land. The RCMP are acting on behalf of the Supreme Court who have allowed Coastal access due to the agreements in place. The elected Chief and Council have a signed agreement with Coastal and will share in nearly $1 billion in profits for the betterment of their citizens. Everything has been done to the letter of the law and even more. I would suggest these pop-up protesters are uninformed and only like to hear themselves rant against everything in the world, then go back to their 4000 sq. ft. house heated with oil or propane.

Up 69 Down 8

Politico on Jan 9, 2019 at 3:17 pm

So what they want is to defy all the bands that have signed agreements with the pipeline company and for the RCMP to not enforce a lawful injunction.

Up 73 Down 13

Al on Jan 9, 2019 at 3:10 pm

Well now isn't that ducky. I could only add "No pipelines - no transfers payments to bands". Just where do you think money comes from - the sky?

Please take your collective heads out of the sand. You want change then I suggest you start at home. Everything you touch has either petrol products in it, or took them to make the product.

It is naive to the extreme to think that we can stop overnight what is inbreed to the very existence to our economic well being in the everything we do and produce.

Rather then get rid of them, find methods of reducing their emissions. Alberta has been making huge strides in this area and it's foot print is small - so small it barely registers.

I get tired of those who wish to stop projects such as these are as hypocritical as they come.

Up 74 Down 17

My Opinion on Jan 9, 2019 at 2:51 pm

So what happens when the untold Millions of dollars flowing to the First Nations dries up? Without Industry there is no money. We are going backwards so fast now with this Liberal Government that we are in a hopeless state.

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.