Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach might not have sat in Parliament long, but already he’s asking some pretty big questions.
During the Indigenous Affairs portion of oral question period on Feb. 5, Bachrach put the question to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as to why he has hasn’t been to Wet’suwet’en territory to meet with the hereditary chiefs.
“The issues surrounding Coastal GasLink and the Wet’suwet’en have been deeply divisive for communities in my riding,” said Bachrach, noting he did not want to see a repeat of the Jan. 7, 2019 enforcement of a previous injunction related to the matter.
The hereditary chiefs have stated on numerous occasions they wish to meet with Trudeau.
“The government’s promises of reconciliation are on the line, and the chiefs have asked to meet with the Prime Minister. Why is he refusing to meet with them?” Bachrach asked Trudeau.
In his response, Trudeau once again stressed the federal position that this is an issue of provincial jurisdiction.
He also pointed to the recent appointment of former Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen by the Province to engage in talks with the Wet’suwet’en.
“We have full confidence in the NDP government in British Columbia to move forward in the correct way,” said Trudeau. “Why do the NDP members in the House not have the same confidence in the NDP government of British Columbia?”
He added that the Liberal government is committed to renewing its relationship with Indigenous people and will continue to engage with leaders across the country.
But for hereditary chief Na’Moks (John Ridsdale), those words aren’t enough. Na’Moks says if Trudeau really means what he is saying it’s important for him to visit with the hereditary chiefs.
“When they say that they’re going to have the best relationship with Indigenous people and then they ignore the Indigenous people, that is not fair, that is not proper and it most certainly is not respectful,” said Na’Moks.
“He needs to show respect to the Indigenous people. When we are changing the history of this country the Prime Minister should be here to listen to us.”