The Liberals and the NDP combined forces to shut down a motion to give a voice to elected Wet’suwet’en chiefs who were excluded from a secret deal signed earlier this year.
Conservative MP and critic for Crown-Indigenous Relations Jamie Schmale introduced the motion during Friday’s Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs.
The purpose of the motion was to invite the elected chiefs to testify before the committee on how the coronavirus has impacted the indigenous community and their ability to be properly consulted on the Memorandum of Understanding hastily signed between hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs and the Trudeau government.
“It is appalling that the Liberals, with the support of the NDP who represent the Wet’suwet’en in the riding of Skeena-Bulkley Valley, would shut down a motion giving a voice to Indigenous peoples,” said Schmale.
The memorandum, which was originally hidden from the public, effectively excluded any input from the band’s elected leadership.
“I have been hearing from the chiefs and members of the Wet’suwet’en, they are beside themselves and can’t believe they are being ignored by the Trudeau Liberals. They have so many questions and deserved to be heard by the federal government,” said fellow Conservative MP Bob Zimmer.
Prior to the agreement’s signing, protesters claiming to be in support of the Wet’suwet’en people sabotaged and shut down Canada’s national railway system.
“Providing essential community services to the people of the Wet’suwet’en is the responsibility of elected chiefs and to exclude them from decisions that affect the people they represent is unconscionable. Conservatives will continue to pressure the Liberal government to do the right thing and listen to the democratically elected chiefs and the people of the Wet’suwet’en,” said the Conservative critic for Indigenous Services Gary Vidal.