The House

CBC Radio's The House: Feb. 22, 2020

This week on The House, Chris Hall speaks to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair on hopes for a peaceful end to the blockades, as well as a disappointed member of the Wet'suwet'en Nation. Also on the show, two Liberal MPs talk about the fate of the Teck Frontier oilsands project. Plus, we hear from a woman reflecting on her time on the frontlines of the Oka crisis 30 years ago, and learn about a new effort to diversify policymakers in Canada.

Here's more from this week's episode of The House

Police walk away from the group of protesters who were refusing to vacate the rail line blockade in Saint-Lambert, Que. on Friday. Remaining protesters left the area later that evening. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Blair 'hopeful' for peaceful end to blockades

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair joined host Chris Hall on Friday, after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for an end to the rail blockades.

"The police have learned the lessons of Ipperwash, Caledonia, Oka and many other incidents, and they've applied that into their training, into their policies, into their procedures," Blair told The House

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair comments on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's call for an end to rail blockades. 8:13

"And what it does mean, is — they will try, through dialogue and every possible means, to resolve this as peaceably as they can. But at the same time, it is their responsibility to uphold the law."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a news conference with members of his cabinet to discuss the rail blockades and other topics at a news conference in Ottawa on Friday, Feb. 21. (Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press)

Trudeau's call to end blockades 'disappointing,' Wet'suwet'en member says

Trudeau's remarks Friday calling rail line blockades across the country "unacceptable and untenable" came as a frustration to Karla Tait, a member of the Unist'ot'en house group. 

Tait was among those arrested on Wet'suwet'en territory in British Columbia earlier this month.

"It was a really disappointing announcement, to say the least," Tait told host Chris Hall. "We recognize that [the past] two weeks has been a challenge for everybody in Canada, and it's been just as difficult on us awaiting a peaceful resolution."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's remarks Friday calling rail line blockades across the country "unacceptable and untenable" frustrated Karla Tait, a member of the Wet'suwet'en Nation. 5:22

Teck decision expected next week, Carr says

Former Natural Resources minister Jim Carr says the fate of the proposed Teck Frontier oilsands mine will be decided next week, setting the table for another potential showdown over an oil and gas project in Canada.

"I believe that when the decision is made, the arguments will be advanced why it is in the public interest and the national interest," Carr told The House. "And always and ultimately, Canadians will decide if they agree."

But Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith warned that Canada won't reach its 2050 net-zero emissions target if the project is approved.

"When you look at this project, when you look at the climate commitments specifically, I think it's a pretty easy 'no,'" Erskine-Smith told The House's Hall.

Former Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr says the fate of the proposed Teck Frontier oilsands mine will be decided next week, setting the table for another potential showdown over an oil and gas project in Canada. But his Liberal colleague, MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, warned that Canada won't reach its 2050 net-zero emissions target if the project is approved. 13:24

Wet'suwet'en dispute evokes memories of Oka crisis

Waneek Horn-Miller was 14 years old when she was stabbed during the Oka crisis in the summer of 1990. Thirty years later, Horn-Miller is now following countrywide protests sparked by opposition to a natural gas pipeline on Wet'suwet'en traditional territory in northern British Columbia.

She told The House that she was looking through old photos of the crisis this week.

Waneek Horn-Miller was 14 years old when she was injured on the frontlines of the Oka crisis in 1990. Thirty years later, she’s now closely following the Wet’suwet’en dispute — and reflecting on her experience decades ago. 8:20

"That reminder of just the hate that bubbled to the surface, this anger … we were being called terrorists when we weren't bringing terror to anybody," she said. "We weren't exerting any kind of aggression towards anybody else. The terror was being brought to us."

Waneek Horn-Miller holds on to her 4-year-old sister as chaos breaks out. The 78-day siege, remembered as the Oka Crisis, ended with the army moving in to push the Mohawk out on Sept. 26, 1990. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

The next generation of black policymakers

As Black History Month enters its final week, The House sets its sights on a new effort to diversify the people crafting policies in Canada.

A group called Operation Black Vote Canada is hoping to tackle the issue this year by launching a new fellowship program to help prepare young black Canadians for careers as policymakers at all levels of government.

Velma Morgan, chair of the group, joined host Chris Hall this month to talk about making space for more black voices at the table.

A government’s policies are only ever as good as the people who write them. But what if those writers don't reflect the full spectrum of ethnic diversity in Canada? That's a problem a group called Operation Black Vote Canada hopes to solve this year by launching a new fellowship program to help prepare young black Canadians for careers as policymakers at all levels of government. 5:51

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