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Hereditary chiefs in B.C. stand opposed to Coastal GasLink pipeline despite injunction

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Hereditary chiefs and their supporters are standing their ground in a remote area of B.C., despite a court injunction saying they must move and grant access to a company trying to build a pipeline in the area.

“We want them right off Wet’suwet’en territory,” Chief Madeek said Sunday of the proposed Coastal GasLink project, which would carry natural gas from the Dawson Creek area to a plant near Kitimat.

TransCanada has said it signed agreements with all First Nations along the proposed pipeline route to LNG Canada’s $40-billion liquefied natural gas project on the coast.

But the hereditary leaders say those agreements don’t apply to the traditional territories. 

Madeek, speaking during a news conference in front of checkpoint gates on Sunday afternoon, was among the hereditary leaders from the Gidimt’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en nation who spent much of the day on site. They gathered at a checkpoint erected in traditional territory, determined to stop the pipeline company from doing construction without their consent.

Hereditary leaders’ opposition to the proposed pipeline ramped up in December, after the company secured an interim injunction  in B.C. Supreme Court that calls on people to stop blocking a remote logging road the company says it needs to access.

The injunction was initially made against a group within the Wet’suwet’en known as the Unist’ot’en, which has maintained a presence along the logging road for years.

When news of the injunction spread among the Wet’suwet’en, the hereditary leadership from all five of the nation’s clans showed up to stand in support of the Unist’ot’en to show they weren’t alone in objecting to having a pipeline built through the nation’s traditional territory.

“This is what we’re here for, is to protect the 22,000 square kilometres and this section of the territory for our grandchildren and our great-great-grandchildren that aren’t even born yet so they can enjoy what we enjoy today out on the territory,” said Madeek. 

‘I think it’s really uplifting’

After the company won its case, the Gidimt’en​ checkpoint was established. The population at this second camp has grown in recent weeks, with people coming from across Canada and elsewhere to show their support.

Karla Tait, a member of the Unist’ot’en house group, said she’s been glad to see the Gidimt’en come together to build a second checkpoint along the route.

“I think it’s really uplifting … I really hold up my hands to our next-door neighbours who are upholding their own responsibilities, to protect their rights and title,” she said.

With news of the RCMP potentially coming into the area to enforce the injunction in the near future, she said people at the Unist’ot’en camp have been increasingly afraid about what might happen next.

“Our historic relationship with police forces of Canada and of the province have been contentious in the past,” she said.

RCMP have offered few details about how they plan to proceed. But police have said their main concern around enforcing the injunction are “public safety, police officer safety, and preservation of the right to peaceful, lawful and safe protest, within the terms set by the Supreme Court in the injunction.”

‘They’re not the title holders’

The protest is not without complications.

Supporters at the camps remain opposed to the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline in the territory, despite the fact elected band councils along the route have made agreements with the company.

Alexander Joseph gifted a talking stick to Gidimt’en member Molly Wickham and the camp on Sunday. (Chantelle Bellrichard/CBC)

But the hereditary chiefs said that under Wet’suwet’en law, the band councils don’t have authority or jurisdiction over what happens in the nation’s traditional territory.

“They’re not the title holders or the caretakers of the land. The hereditary chiefs are,” said Madeek​.

The elected chief and council only have authority over reserve lands, he said.

The Wet’suwet’en territory covers a sprawling area that was part of the landmark Delgamuukw case: the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed the Indigenous nation’s land rights and title had never been extinguished.

The volunteers at the small but growing camp, meanwhile, have been enforcing the wishes of hereditary leaders, even with the looming worry over potential arrests at the site. With large red gates set up on a bridge along the service road, it’s impossible to drive through without someone opening the gates to let you pass, if they do at all. 

B.C. minister visits camp

Among the visitors on Sunday was Doug Donaldson, the NDP MLA and B.C. minister of forests, lands, and natural resources operations, who along with his wife came to the camp and donated a box of goods.

News of his arrival spread quickly through the camp and he was greeted by Gidimt’en​ member Molly Wickham, who asked him to go through the camp’s protocol before coming further in.

“What is your purpose of coming to the camp?” she asked.

“The purpose today is to support and recognize that the hereditary chief have a responsibility for stewardship of the yintah [land],” responded Donaldson.

“Are you willing to offer your support publicly?” she asked him.

“Yes, I’m going to be talking to the hereditary chiefs,” he said.

She replied it’s important that he came, and he was welcome.

But what the B.C. government plans to do about the project and the protest isn’t clear. 

NDP Premier John Horgan said it was a “great day” for northern B.C. when he learned the companies backing the LNG project in Kitimat would proceed.

Donaldson didn’t shed any light on Sunday — he left without speaking to reporters, as volunteers continued to guard the checkpoint. 

Protests are expected to take place across the country this week as various groups call for people to express support for those in the camps.

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Ottawa Book Expo 2020 – Authors, Publishers look forward to a top-notch Canadian book fair

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Diversity has always been a complex issue, no matter where you look.Case in point, world-famous writer, Stephen King, has recently come under criticism for his views on diversity. The best-selling author had stated, “I would never consider diversity in matters of art, only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong.” Many criticized the novelist as being out of touch and “ignorant,” but one cannot deny that King’s opinions on diversity, mirror the thoughts of a whole lot of people in the creative industry.

The Toronto Book Expo is coming back in 2020, with a multi-cultural concept that aims to include marginalized authors.  The Expo intends to celebrate literary works of diverse cultural backgrounds, and the entire literary community in Canada is expectant. Book-lovers and writers alike, are invited to three days of uninhibited literary celebration where diverse cultural works will be prioritized. At the event, authors will be allowed to share their culture with a broad audience. The audience will be there specifically to purchase multi-cultural works.

Multicultural literary expos do not come every day. In Canada, there is a noticeable lack of literary events celebrating other cultures. This leads to a significantly lower amount of cultural diversity in the industry. The Toronto Book Expo would aim at giving more recognition to these marginalized voices. Understandably, more recognizable work will be prioritized.

The Toronto Book Expo is making a statement that diversity is needed in the literary community. The statement is truly motivating, especially if you consider the fact that this could mean more culturally diverse works of literature.

There is a lot of noticeable cultural ignorance in literature. This is an issue that needs to be addressed and books are one of the best means of improving multi-cultural diversity in literature. The Toronto Book Expo is going to fully utilize books to fight ignorance in the literary industry.

Real progress cannot be made if there is a substantial amount of ignorant people in the industry. In spite of advancements made in education in recent years, there is still a considerable percentage of adults who remain unable to read and write.The Toronto Book Expo aims to bring awareness to social literacy issues such as illiteracy.

It is important to uphold high literacy levels in the community and to support those who are uneducated. A thriving society cannot be achieved if the community is not able to read their civil liberties and write down their grievances.

The major foundation of a working and dynamic society is entrenched in literature. Literature offers us an understandingof the changes being made to our community.

The event would go on for three days at three different venues. Day 1 would hold at the York University Student & Convention Centre at 15 Library Lane on March 19. Day 2 would be held at the Bram and BlumaAppel Salon Facility on the second floor of the main Toronto Reference Library near Yonge and Bloor Streets in downtown Toronto on March 21 and day 3 of the expo would take place at the internationally famous Roy Thomson Hall.

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A Week In Ottawa, ON, On A $75,300 Salary

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Welcome to Money Diaries, where we’re tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We’re asking millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we’re tracking every last dollar.Attention, Canadians! We’re featuring Money Diaries from across Canada on a regular basis, and we want to hear from you. Submit your Money Diary here.Today: a biologist working in government who makes $75,300 per year and spends some of her money this week on a bathing suit. Occupation: Biologist
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Ottawa doctor pens nursery rhyme to teach proper handwashing

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An Ottawa doctor has turned to song to teach kids — and adults, for that matter — how to wash their hands to prevent the spread of germs.

Dr. Nisha Thampi, an infectious disease physician at CHEO, the area’s children’s hospital, created a video set to the tune of Frère Jacques and featuring the six-step handwashing method recommended by the World Health Organization.

Thampi’s 25-second rendition, which was co-authored by her daughter and Dr. Yves Longtin, an infectious disease specialist at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, is featured in the December issue of The BMJ, or British Medical Journal. 

Thampi said as an infectious disease physician and a mother of two, she thinks a lot about germs at home and school.

“I was trying to find a fun way to remember the stuff,” she said. “There are six steps that have been codified by the World Health Organization, but they’re complex and hard to remember.” 

Thampi said she came up with the idea to rewrite the lyrics to the nursery rhyme on World Hand Hygiene Day in May, when she was thinking about how to help people remember the technique. 

She said studies have shown that handwashing is effective in reducing the risk of diarrhea-related illnesses and respiratory diseases. 

“So I’d say it’s one of the most important and easiest things we can do.”

The video includes such often-overlooked steps as “wash the back,” “twirl the tips around” and “thumb attack,” which pays special attention to the first digit.

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