‘More Blatant Hypocrisy’

It’s becoming more and more obvious that Canada needs serious criminal penalties – including mandatory jail time – for those blockading public roads and rail tracks. Where are the federal and provincial so-called ‘Conservative’ parties on this issue?

“A Vancouver Island ‘First Nation’ {‘Aboriginal community’} is poised to blockade the {public} highway between the town of Gold River and its port to logging traffic, until it gets ‘compensation for the use of its land’.

{This cuts both ways! They have never paid any ‘compensation’ – or even taxes – for their use of the taxpayer-funded highway…} 

“Mowachaht/ Muchalaht ‘First Nation’ {a ‘nation’ of 615 people} (MM‘FN’) has announced its intention to restrict access to the portion of Highway 28 that passes through Ahaminaquus Indian Reserve Number 12 (IR 12) to the logging company Western Forest Products (WFP), effective immediately.

This act is in response to WFP’s continued and repeated ‘trespass’ on MMFN IR 12, and the province’s failure to fairly compensate MM‘FN’ for the ongoing ‘trespass’,”
said the ‘Nation’ {tribe} in the statement.
Since MM‘FN’ never approved or consented to WFP’s use of the road that crosses MM‘FN’s IR#12, WFP’s continued use of the road constitutes an act of trespass.”

“MM‘FN’ said it has the “right to control use and access to its reserve lands”. According to its statement, ever since Highway 28 was built 50 years ago, it has been in trespass. It maintains the land has never been legally transferred to the province and it has not been paid a cent for the use of the road by the logging company.
{The tribe never paid for either the construction or upkeep of the highway…which they use…}

“The legal basis for this is section 18(1) of the ‘Indian Act’, which states that “reserves are held by Her Majesty for the use and benefit of the respective band for which they were set apart”. The ‘Nation’ also stated that ‘trespassing’ upon a reserve or part of a reserve is an offence under sections 30 and 31 of the ‘Indian Act’.

“WFP uses the section of Highway 28 in question to bring fibre to its log sort. Much of this fibre is then offloaded onto barges destined for Asia.
{And what does the tribe use the ‘free’ highway for?}

Millions of dollars worth of their business goes through this road through Gold River to the waterfront”, 

{And so do your community’s supplies, you ungrateful hypocrite…}
said Dorothy Hunt, MM‘FN’ lands manager who has been trying to negotiate a ‘road use’ agreement with WFP and the provincial Ministry of Transportation.

“Hunt said that the Mowachaht/ Muchalaht took the step to restrict access after trying to negotiate with the company “for many years”. However, it states WFP’s responses are “not feasible”. According to Hunt, WFP has not been willing to meet compensation demands and has been “pushing off” its responsibility onto the province.

The ‘Nation’ has been patient with the province and WFP but it has been a disjointed progress all along”,
said Hunt.
WFP has to come to the table and be realistic about the Road Use Agreement with MM‘FN’.”

“In addition, WFP’s decision to change its operations in Gold River and contract work for ‘Tree Farm Licence 19’ outside the community was done without consultation or informing MM‘FN’, Hunt said.

“In an email, WFP spokesperson Babita Khunkhun said the company has been in ongoing discussions regarding the portion of Highway 28 that crosses IR #12 and is working in good faith to quickly resolve this complex issue. She also said that the company values its relationship with the Mowachaht/Muchalaht and understands the desire of the ‘Nation’ to resolve the issue.

“Khunkhun also said that WFP is seeking clarity from the province on its position in relation to this road, given it has been held out as a provincial highway.

Like other businesses in the area, Western has relied upon the classification of the road as a provincial highway to invest in the region”, {!}
KhunKhun said.
Highway 28 is a critical artery in the Gold River community, not just for Western, its employees and contractors, but also for community members, many of whom use the road daily to travel to and from work in various industries operating in the area. We are committed to continuing to work in good faith to achieve a fair resolution for everyone.”

–‘Vancouver Island First Nation blocks highway access to logging trucks in Gold River’,
Binny Paul, Campbell River Mirror, Oct. 29, 2020
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Thank you from ERBL inc. Canada

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