There's an attitude, a vibe, out here on the left coast that's a bit different. Maybe it's the isolation of the multiple mountain ranges that sequester us. We're just more progressive. We have some fine progressive media outlets such as the venerable Georgia Straight, The Tyee and the surprisingly good National Observer. In a nation dominated by chains such as National Post, Bell/Globe Media and such, these indie papers are a very welcome breath of fresh air, even sanity.
There is an understated distrust of things east of the Rockies, especially governments, provincial and federal. We don't like getting steamrollered by "the east" which is pretty much everything from the foothills to the Ottawa River.
Maybe it's all of these things that explain why we're more sympathetic to protests whether it's to block a new coal port on the Fraser or First Nations standing against our government to defend the old growth forests of Clayoquot Sound, or the 1995 Shuswap/Secwepemc standoff at Gustafsen Lake. Does this sound familiar?
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police launched one of the largest police operations in Canadian history, including the deployment of four hundred tactical assault team members, five helicopters, two surveillance planes and nine Armoured Personnel Carriers. (the vehicle shown is not an APC but an AFV, an Armoured Fighting Vehicle of the sort we used in Afghanistan) The RCMP kept journalists well away from the site and some reporters became uneasy that the only side of the story being told was that preferred by the police.
On September 11, RCMP detonated an explosive device buried in an access road to the camp, heavily damaging a supply truck being driven by occupiers. The incident resulted in a firefight that made use of the military-loaned Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs). Non-indigenous occupier Suniva Bronson was shot in the arm during the shootout and would be the only injury in the extensive exchange of bullets. On the following day, an unarmed man crossing a field designated as a no-shoot zone was shot at by police sharp shooters. Police later admitted to this mistake. The standoff ended peacefully on September 17 when the few remaining occupiers left the site under the guidance of medicine man, John Stevens.
By the end of the 31-day standoff, police had fired up to 77,000 rounds of ammunition, and killed a dog. One of the indigenous leaders claimed that at least one of the shooting incidents blamed on them in fact occurred when two APCs fired on one another when their view was obscured. The operation was the largest paramilitary operation in British Columbia history and cost $5.5 million.Then, as now, more blame was attached to the federal government than was their due. Then, as now, the provincial government was NDP.
It's hard not to sympathize with the Wet'suwet'en when you see the state overplay its hand. Whether it's Coastal Gaslink (provincial NDP, LNG lobby) or the Trans-Mountain pipeline (federal Liberals, Alberta PCs, bitumen lobby) our First Nations are doing the heavy lifting and a good many of the rest of us are deeply grateful for their resistance. The Petro-State is not going to go quietly into the night. Imagine a government that declares a climate emergency one day and the very next day greenlighted a massive bitumen pipeline that it had stupidly purchased in our name.
Non-violent civil disobedience is the order of the day. I expect the Coastal Gaslink protests are just a pre-cursor to the resistance that will be sparked by Trudeau's Folly as the pseudo-green Dauphin drives his ridiculous pipeline to "tidewater."
It's like the "death of a thousand cuts." With each insult I feel more British Columbian and commensurately less Canadian. It's not the Wet'suwet'en who are undermining national unity. No, that's the handiwork of people like Trudeau and Kenney.