Canada’s Conservative Party leader is speaking out against the solidarity protests and blockades happening in different parts of the country. He’s not in favour of the disruption to rail service and had some harsh words for activists. Andrew Scheer's Wet’suwet’en protest call out included him saying activists “need to check their privilege.”
On February 14, the leader held a press conference in Ottawa where he commented on the protests happening across Canada in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation which has led to VIA Rail and CN cancelling train service.
The Conservative Party head was quick to go on the offensive as soon as the conference started.
He came up to the microphone and said “quite frankly, this is getting ridiculous” before talking about the protests regarding the Coastal GasLink pipeline in B.C.
After questions from journalists about what he’d do if he was Prime Minister in this situation, Scheer went after the people who are protesting in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation.
“These protesters, these activists may have the luxury of spending days at a time at a blockade but they need to check their privilege,” Scheer said. “They need to check their privilege and let people whose jobs depend on the railway systems and small business, farmers, do their jobs.”
"I would direct the RCMP to enforce the law, to ensure that our railway system can operate," Conservative Leader An… https://t.co/xq6aEjzS2Z— CPAC (@CPAC)1581697043.0
Scheer did agree that people have the right to protest and the right to freedom of speech in Canada but he doesn’t believe that they have the right to shut down the railway.
“These blockades are illegal,” he told reporters. “Radical activists, many of whom have no connection to the Wet’suwet’en people, are holding our country’s economy hostage.”
He also took shots at Justin Trudeau during the press conference for not being here in Canada while all this is going on.
“Meanwhile the Prime Minister has been out of the country on a vanity project to win a vote at the UN, neglecting his duties here at home,” he said.
Trudeau has been in Africa campaigning for a seat on the UN Security Council.
Scheer wants the Liberal Leader to call Bill Blair, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, to put an end to the protests and blockades.
A few scenes from last night at this morning at the #Wetswueten solidarity rail blockade in Port Coquitlam, BC https://t.co/39bLg6UuH1— Jesse Winter (@Jesse Winter)1581698086.0
The Conservative Party leader isn’t the only politician coming after Trudeau.
On February 12, Jagmeet Singh tweeted that "it's not enough for the PM to say nice things, he needs to do the actual work of reconciliation and stop avoiding his responsibility on this important file.”
Protests in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation in B.C. have been happening since the RCMP conducted raids and arrested people in the territory.
In a statement from February 3, Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs said that they “have never consented to the Coastal GasLink pipeline project.”