Virus checkpoints check boxes for Indigenous rights – Net Newsledger

May 11, 2020

WINNIPEG – OPINION – Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister was asked last month about First Nations establishing blockades and checkpoints on roads entering their communities in an effort to protect themselves against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I see various First Nations communities taking measures to protect their people,” he said. “I respect the right to do that.”

It’s a far cry from his position a month previous, when he wrote an op-ed for the Globe and Mail decrying Indigenous-led blockades supporting Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs fighting the Coastal GasLink pipeline and demanding Indigenous rights be respected under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

At the time — which feels like a lifetime ago — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was promising to adopt the declaration into Canadian law (as British Columbia had done provincially in November 2019).

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