One issue citizens have with the federal government’s immigration/refugee policies is that some newcomers don’t share our values. Question is, what are our values?
Canada has no single identity, we’re a diverse bunch, but we believe we share basic values, like equality, respect for the law, each other, and nature. Canadian law says women and men are equal and our Charter of Rights and Freedoms specifically protects us from discrimination based on race, sex, age, skin colour, religion, disability or sexual orientation.
Believing in shared values doesn’t mean we live by them. If we did, we wouldn’t have so many differences on so many issues. We wouldn’t have racism or bigotry, or politicians “altering” the truth, people snarking at each other on Facebook, and it isn’t likely we’d have the RCMP stopping Canada’s original inhabitants from protecting their land.
I’m ratty about the RCMP actions against the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs. It seems wrong that our national police force is deployed against our first citizens to accommodate foreign investors.
It’s a complicated situation with no easy fixes, but surely our People in Power (PIPs) could find a way to do the LNG thing “right” if they tried. Both our provincial and federal governments adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights Of Indigenous Peoples. It decrees that “free, prior and informed consent” is required for activities that encroach on unceded indigenous lands. Most BC land is unceded.
LNG Canada, who will build the LNG facility, is a consortium of foreign corporations. Along with helping get land for the pipeline, BC is giving the consortium tax reprieves, tax exemptions and inexpensive hydro to the tune of $5.35 billion. Getting the gas requires fracking which pollutes water on a grand scale and causes earthquakes.
What are our values?
Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian and book author.