Regina protest speaks out against Scheer’s comments on rail line blockades
Demonstrators gathered in front of Andrew Scheers constituency office in Regina to protest his comments about the rail blockades. (Brendan Ellis/CTV News)
REGINA -- A group of around 25 protesters gathered in front of Andrew Scheer’s constituency office in Regina, to voice their displeasure about his comments on the protests blocking rail lines across Canada.
Protesters across the country are showing their support for the Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs, in their fight against the Coastal GasLink pipeline on their lands in northern British Columbia.
These blockades have shut down major railways across Canada.
"These protesters, these activists, may have the luxury of spending days at a time at a blockade, but they need to check their privilege, they need to check their privilege and let people whose job depends on the railway system – small business, farmers – do their job," said Scheer, speaking to reporters in Ottawa on Feb. 14.
“When Andrew Scheer said, in any context, that Indigenous people should check their privilege, or the protesters should check their privilege, I instantly thought to myself ‘does anybody even know what’s going on on our side of things,’” said Lee Prosper, who spoke at the protest.
CTV News reached out to Andrew Scheer for comment about Saturday’s demonstration, and in a statement he doubled down on his stance on the nationwide demonstrations and blockades.
“Everybody in our democracy has the right to protest peacefully. But no one has the right to break the law, ignore court injunctions or block critical infrastructure.”
“The reality is that the majority of the Wet’suwet’en community and every single elected band council along the pipeline’s route supports the Costal GasLink project. This project will create jobs and bring investment to the Wet’suwet’en community and help reduce emissions around the world.”
Prosper says while the protest was focused on supporting the Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs and their battle for their land, there are deeper issues at play in this conflict.
“It goes much further than the pipeline, it’s racism, systemic racism it’s in legislation and it’s in basically all industry,” said Prosper. “As subtle as it is, it’s real.”
Speaking on Friday afternoon, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the rail blockades need to come down.
"The injunctions must be obeyed, and the law must be upheld," said Trudeau, addressing reporters from the National Press Theatre. "Canadians who are feeling the very real impact of these blockades are running out of patience."
Amid the call from the Prime Minister to dismantle the blockades nationwide, protesters say that will not happen until the RCMP leave the Wet’suwet’en territory in B.C.
With files from CTV's Stefanie Davis