Protests against a new pipeline spread across Canada

They've been fighting against a pipeline project on their lands for several weeks. Protests are now spreading across Canada in support of the Wet'suwet'en people.

Trains blockaded by the First Nations

Since the beginning of February, these barricades have appeared on the railways in Canada. The reason: protests against a gas pipeline project by the company Coastal GasLink that will cross the Wet’suwet’en people’s territory. By 2025, the 670 km long pipeline will be able to export 700,000 liters of liquified gas every day.

As well as the environmental concerns, the Wetʼsuwetʼen protesters condemn the intrusion on their land, describing it as colonization. Numerous activists from other communities have joined them to condemn a political system that is largely hostile to the rights of indigenous peoples. While the project got the approval of the native communities’ elected leaders in exchange for promises of jobs and a portion of the profits, the decision has been challenged by the historic chiefs of these communities. The latter consider themselves to be the only ones capable of making decisions about their traditional lands.

After 10 days of protests, more than 400 trains have been cancelled which is affecting around 83,000 commuters. On an official visit to Senegal, the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, invited all parties to resume dialogue in order to find a solution quickly. The forced closure of part of the rail network hinders the transportation of several products towards the east coast of the country. According to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the economic impact is estimated to be at several tens of millions of dollars. But for the opponents, the impact of global warming caused by projects like this one would be far worse.