In a move that ushers in a new chapter in the federal government’s longstanding commitment to pretending to listen to Indigenous peoples, before doing whatever it feels is best for the political survival of whomever is currently in power, three white people will meet in Upper Canada today to discuss whether or not to put another pipeline on First Nations’ land.
“We have listened carefully to the esteemed people of the Secwepemc nation,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, referring to the tribe whose land Kinder Morgan intends to run 518 kilometres of oil pipeline through, with or without their consent. “We listened so carefully, in fact, that they don’t need to be here today to take part in these discussions, as that would be redundant. As well as potentially awkward when we outright ignore them.”
“New chapter?” Responds Kanahus Manuel, a noted activist from the Secwepemc nation. “More like a run-on sentence. What’s the book called anyway? How To Win Elections And Ignore Indigenous People?”
While there will always be some people who won’t be happy with having bitumen piped through their land and shipped along their coasts with 100% surety of a major spill at some stage, many in the federal government are pointing to the positives to be found in this particular instance of ignoring the concerns of Canada’s original inhabitants.
“Back when we built the first Trans Mountain pipeline, Indigenous peoples weren’t even allowed to politically organize or hire lawyers to advocate on their behalf,” said an Ottawa-based oil lobbyist who didn’t want to provide his name but had buckets of opinions. “At least this time they get to formally say they don’t want this pipeline, nice and clearly, before being unrepresented when it matters, and ultimately ignored.”