Hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en territory have long been fighting to keep energy companies off their land located within the borders of Canada’s British Columbia. Those against a 640-km natural gas pipeline are fearful that the project could contaminate their food and water supply.
Unlike other First Nations in Canada, Wet’suwet’en land has never been ceded by treaty to the government. But complicating the issue is a difference in opinion between two segments of First Nations leadership: While Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs are against TC Energy’s Coastal GasLink project, elected band councils have approved of the pipeline construction.
On February 6, Canadian police entered the territory to remove Wet’suwet’en land defenders from a protest camp. The move by authorities – which protesters view as illegal – has sparked blockades on major rail lines and roads to show solidarity with Wet’suwet’en. Some protesters have been arrested by police. The blockades have led to temporary layoffs for railway workers and disrupted rail service across the country.
In this episode of The Stream, we’ll get an update on the Wet’suwet’en crisis.
In This Story: Canada
Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. It extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres (3.85 million square miles), making it the world’s second-largest country by total area.
Its southern and western border with the United States, stretching 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi), is the world’s longest bi-national land border. Canada’s capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.
Various Indigenous peoples inhabited what is now Canada for thousands of years before European colonization. The Canada Act 1982, which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the British Parliament. Canada is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy in the Westminster tradition, with a monarch and a prime minister who serves as the chair of the Cabinet and head of government.
As a highly developed country, Canada has the seventeenth-highest nominal per-capita income globally as well as the thirteenth-highest ranking in the Human Development Index. Its advanced economy is the tenth-largest in the world, relying chiefly upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed international trade networks.