There were at least three other pro-Wet’suwet’en protests in our area, in addition to the Feb 12, 2020, demonstration in Campbell River. The smallest was probably on Cortes, but it was the easiest for me to attend. I only learned of the events at the Tyee Plaza and in Courtenay days after they were over.
The Feb 10 Event On Cortes
Sixteen people tricked in for the February 10, 2020, demonstration on Cortes. Four of them were students from Cortes Elementary Junior Secondary School, who returned to their classes before the last of the adults arrived. Thus the faces you see in the photo at the top of this page are substantially different from those in the photo below.
“The BCCLA is highly concerned about the developing situation in Wet’suwet’en territories. We are alarmed by the institution of an overbroad RCMP exclusion zone prohibiting Wet’suwet’en people, journalists, and the public from entering and monitoring police activity. The BCCLA strongly urges the RCMP to refrain from instituting exclusion zones that prohibit the public, invited guests of the Wet’suwet’en, and media from accessing the area.”
“Restricting the movement of Wet’suwet’en people through their own territories is a grave violation of Wet’suwet’en law and jurisdiction, and constitutionally-protected Wet’suwet’en rights and title.”
There was some discussion about recent revelations that a segment of the Wet’suwet’en community actually want the pipeline to go through.
“I came to this protest today because I wanted to show my solidarity with all those who are opposed to all fracked gas pipelines. The fracking process is a carbon bomb waiting to go off. Methane contributes something like 73 times as much greenhouse gas emissions as CO2,” said Ashley Zarbatany.
Three Other Protests
As we walked towards Rachel Baney’s and Claire Trevana’s constituency office, on Feb 12th, Susan Western told me, “A couple of days ago there was a First Nation’s protest at the Tyee Plaza. We didn’t learn about it in time to join in.”
There were a number of indigenous people at the protest that morning, and one told me he had been at a blockade of Island Highway exit in Courtenay.
“It’s hard to get an exact number because people were coming and going all day, but at one point when I did do a count there was about fifty people. There were about 40 of us up on the Highway and there were probably a dozen down on the parkway.”
One told the Record, “The federal and provincial governments are refusing to follow basic international principles and principles that they themselves say they follow,” she said. “[They need to] meet with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and discuss the issue and resolve the issue. They are trying to make it a law and order issue in order to attack people who are defending their hereditary lands. This is not acceptable in Canada,”