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'Sometimes democracy isn't convenient': More protests, disruptions by Wet'suwet'en supporters expected

Last Updated Feb 13, 2020 at 12:47 pm PST

Protesters blocked the Granville Street Bridge, Feb. 12. (Kelvin Gawley, NEWS 1130 Photo)
Summary

Despite traffic tie-ups angering commuters in Vancouver, Wet'suwet'en supporters are planning to gather yet again

An academic says while people may be upset about disruptions to daily life, protests are a part of democracy

Protesters said they are demonstrating in support of hereditary chiefs who are opposed to the Coastal GasLink pipeline

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – With no end in sight for demonstrations around B.C. and other parts of the country, Wet’suwet’en supporters are gathering for another day of action.

However, while there appears to be much support for the cause, many people have voiced their displeasure with the disruptions marches and blockades — which have targeted major roads, bridges, and ports — have caused.

“I’m late for two jobs now, I have bills to pay, this is not the way to get me to support your endeavor,” one commuter, who was stranded on the Granville Street Bridge on Wednesday due to a protests, said amid the blockade.

The day before, protesters blocked access to the Legislature in Victoria ahead of the Throne Speech, and took over a major intersection in Vancouver to the ire of many motorists, transit users, and others.

Now, protesters have planned more disruptions in Vancouver, reportedly telling supporters to gather at 9:00 a.m. on Vancouver’s West Side before moving on to their next target.

Fundamentals of democracy

Protesters have said they are demonstrating in support of hereditary chiefs who are opposed to the Coastal GasLink liquefied natural gas pipeline being built on Wet’suwet’en territory in north central B.C.

The cause has sparked a movement across the country, with protesters blocking rail lines and other major routes throughout Canada in support of the cause.

While the traffic tie-ups or delays getting to work may frustrate many people, one expert said, at the end of the day, it’s about democracy and the climate.

“Yes, we might be inconvenienced a little bit in our day to day lives, but just think of what is coming down the road if we don’t take some fairly drastic action,” Samir Gandesha, director of the Institute of Humanities at Simon Fraser University, said. “I would say then, we’re going to be really inconvenienced.”

Related article: Daily disruptions could waver public support for Wet’suwet’en over time, expert says

He believes protesters are mindful that people are being impacted by the gatherings and marches, but that they feel there are larger issues at stake.

“Sometimes we have to undergo some degree of inconvenience in our lives in order for a larger, more public good to be pursued,” he said. “This is the nature of public life. There’s always going to be these kinds of sacrifices demanded of us, and then we have to decide if those sacrifices are worth it.”

An Angus Reid Institute poll has found two-in-five Canadians support the protesters in the natural gas project dispute, while half support the pipeline.

-With files from Lasia Kretzel