Hannah Rudderham
Hannah Rudderham
February 21, 2020

Environmental activists rally at City Hall in support of the Wet’suwet’en

Around 75 individuals gathered in front of City Hall in Fredericton | Photo by Jules Keenan

Around 75 individuals gathered in front of City Hall in Fredericton on Friday in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

The rally was organized by the environmental conservation group Extinction Rebellion.

“I really feel that what's happening up in northern B.C. is a travesty of justice,” Alex Good, an environmental activist, said. “I think it's time that the federal government starts walking the walk that it pretends, in terms of reconciliation.”

After raising their signs at city hall, a smaller group of activists continued the rally to the Westmorland Street Bridge.

The Wet’suwet’en territory is in Northern British Columbia and has been occupied by Wet’suwet’en people for generations. Since 2018, the federal government has been going back and forth with the Wet’suwet’en people who refute the Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project disrupting their land.

This is in protest of any contamination it may cause to their land, as well as restriction access to natural resources and government control of traditional land.

Members of the Wet’suwet’en nation have been blocking oil companies from accessing their land at checkpoints and blockades. At the end of 2019, the B.C. Supreme Court granted Coastal GasLink allowance to access the Wet’suwet’en land and remove those in their way. 

Since then, tensions have been rising in the region, with violence, arrests and military action arising as a result, and support has been spreading across the country. 

People protested any contamination it may cause to the land, as well as restriction access to natural resources and government control of traditional land | Photo by Jules Keenan

One of the first protestors to arrive at City Hall was Emma Johnson. 

“I think that it's important to realize that even though it's across the country, it does affect us still,” Johnson said.

Johnson stood along with others holding a sign reading “RCMP off Wet’suwet’en land.” She and others braved the double-digit below freezing weather and cold winds to march for the Wet’suwet’en. 

“It's an intersection between native rights and also environmental activism,” Johnson said.

The Coastal GasLink Pipeline is a 670-kilometer pipeline stretching across northern B.C. to deliver natural gas to LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) Canada.

Environmental activists are calling for fossil fuels to be entirely phased out to stop global warming from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Along with the fossil fuels having detrimental effects on the planet’s climate, the actual construction of pipeline projects can cause water contamination and wildlife habitats disturbances.

“Environmental things affect us all. It's an issue that gets repeated over and over again,” Johnson said.

Victor Woods was another individual in front of City Hall supporting the Wet’suwet’en people.

According to CBC, as of Feb. 10, another seven people were arrested for breach of the injunction in B.C after blocking a service road needed for construction of the pipeline.

“When the federal government takes up arms against the Wet’suwet’en,” Woods said. “It's declaring war.”

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