Thursday, February 20, 2020

How the rail blockades are hurting the Canadian economy

Recently, CN Rail and Via Rail have started suspending services across Canada. This is following days of rail blockades over the Coastal GasLink pipeline slated to run through northern B.C. The feds are willing to sit down with Indigenous leaders, but it seems that there's a catch. Nationwide rail blockades are hurting Canada's economy, as protests over the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern B.C. show no signs of slowing down. Hopefully, this issue can be resolved fast. Unfortunately, the blockades are stopping the flow of important supplies.

If rail blockades continue, it is possible that there will be more factory shutdowns and more layoffs. CN already recently announced 450 temporary layoffs as disruptions cause $425M worth of goods to sit idle every day.

Protesters can be seen standing and sitting on train tracks during the blockade of the rail line leading to Macmillan Yard in Toronto on Saturday. The protest is in solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs opposed to the LNG pipeline in northern British Columbia.

The rail blockades have slowed down Canada's manufacturing industry. If this situation continues, the industry will start seeing more plant closures and temporary layoffs. In British Columbia, some Indigenous protestors and helpers have shut down a key rail line in Northern B.C. because they oppose the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline on the grounds that it would run through the hereditary land of the Wet'suwet'en people.

Over 1,000 protesters have marched in downtown Toronto in support of Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs.

Wetʼsuwetʼen are a First Nations people who live on the Bulkley River and around Burns Lake, Broman Lake, and Francois Lake in the northwestern Central Interior of British Columbia. The name they call themselves, Wetʼsuwetʼen, means "People of the Wa Dzun Kwuh River (Bulkley River)".

The Wetʼsuwetʼen are a branch of the Dakelh or Carrier people, and in combination with the Babine people have been referred to as the Western Carrier. They speak Witsuwitʼen, a dialect of the Babine-Witsuwitʼen language which, like its sister language Carrier, is a member of the Athabaskan family.

Their oral history is actually called kungax.

The traditional government of the Wetʼsuwetʼen comprises 13 hereditary chiefs, organized today as the Office of the Hereditary Chiefs of the Wetʼsuwetʼen.

In Canada, the First Nations are defined as the predominant indigenous peoples in Canada south of the Arctic Circle. Those in the Arctic area are distinct and known as Inuit. The Métis is another distinct ethnicity. It developed after European contact and relations primarily between First Nations people and Europeans. There are currently 634 recognized First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia.

Under Canadian Charter Jurisprudence, First Nations are a "designated group", along with women, visible minorities, and people with physical or mental disabilities. Keep in mind, First Nations are not defined as a visible minority by the criteria of Statistics Canada.

North American indigenous peoples have cultures existing thousands of years. Some of their oral traditions accurately describe historical events, such as the massive Cascadia earthquake of 1700 and the 18th-century Tseax Cone eruption. Many think that written records began with the arrival of European explorers and colonists during the Age of Discovery, beginning in the late 15th century. Interesting European accounts by trappers, traders, explorers, and missionaries give important evidence of early contact culture. To add to that, archeological and anthropological research, as well as linguistics, have helped scholars create a greater understanding of ancient cultures and historic peoples.

In modern times, there are about 200,000 Indigenous people in British Columbia. They include First Nations, Inuit and Métis. There are 198 distinct First Nations in B.C., each with their own unique traditions and interesting history. More than 30 different First Nation languages and close to 60 dialects are spoken in the province of British Columbia.

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