Indigenous people have same rights as Canadians to be served, protected by a police service, said Bill Blair
#MohawksProtesters; #Blockades; #QuebecandOntarioRailTrackBlocked; #RCMP
Ottawa, Feb 27 (Canadian-Media): During this morning's meeting of the House of Commons, when MP Doug Shipley asked the Public Safety Minister Bill Blair whether the ongoing protests along rail tracks in Quebec and Ontario were being examined as terrorist activity under the Criminal Code, Blair replied that these are not terrorist acts, media reports said.
Bill Blair. Image credit: Facebook page
But Blair agreed that the protesters had crossed a line when they started burning goods on rail lines across Canada and added that as minister, he has a responsibility to leave it to police to use their discretion in investigating potentially criminal acts.
Blair also said the people who live there have a right to be protected by police.
RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki, who was also at the committee meeting told the committee Thursday morning that RCMP had been very patient with the protesters for several days before they were injuncted.
"We have the discretion of a couple of things in an injunction, mostly about the timing and the intensity. So we can decide when and how we will enforce it even though the injunction is in place."
Lucki said dialogue between the B.C. RCMP and the hereditary chiefs continued.
"We have a specific policy that we have created specifically for Indigenous blockades," she said. "Of course, enforcement is the last option."
Last week, the RCMP in British Columbia moved its officers out of an outpost on Wet'suwet'en territory to a nearby detachment in the town of Houston.
But the hereditary chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en Nation were determined that RCMP leave their traditional territory entirely and the pipeline company ceases work in the area.
"I think there's a very important principle: There are thousands of Canadians that live in that area [that] are entitled to policing services," Blair said.
"They are entitled, as every Canadian is, to be served and protected by a police service, and that's what takes place in all parts of Canada, including in British Columbia."