OTTAWA – As the Trudeau government hopes for a breakthrough when it comes to pipeline and Indigenous rights demonstrations, a Conservative MP is questioning if ongoing blockades across the country constitute acts of terrorism.
The moment came during a committee meeting on Parliament Hill, where Public Safety Minister Bill Blair appeared as a witness about budgets.
Conservative MP Doug Shipley asked Blair about the ongoing situation, and after reading the definition of terrorism, asked if the recent protests cross a legal line.
“Why would they not be intentionally intimidating the public or a segment of the public with regards to its security?” Shipley said, also asking the minister if the blockades were being “deemed as a terrorist activity,” to which Blair replied, “No, they’re not.”
Following the committee meeting, Blair reiterated his point, adding that call is for police to make.
“I have not been advised by any law enforcement official that they have made that determination, so to this point, the answer is no. But the investigations conducted by the police, the determination is under their discretion,” he said.
.@BillBlair also pointed out it is not for a politician to make that call, it is up to investigators/police. So far law enforcement agencies have not indicated they are investigating the blockades in this way. #cdnpoli
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) February 27, 2020
During her testimony, RMCP Commissioner Brenda Lucki said they have policies for dealing with Indigenous blockades.
“Of course, enforcement is the last option, it’s about dialogue and trying to find a peaceful resolution,” she said.
This came a day after protesters in Tyendinaga, Ontario stood in front of a moving train, throwing rocks and lighting a fire on the tracks.
Meanwhile, the government has said it’s hopeful Thursday’s meeting with hereditary chiefs who oppose a natural gas pipeline through the Wet’suwet’en territory can lead to some sort of resolution to de-escalate the tensions.