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Liberal promises on Indigenous relationship ring hollow to activists, experts as protests continue

By Charelle Evelyn      

‘Either [Justin Trudeau] means what he says but none of his ministers have the confidence to fulfil it, or he really is just about broken promises,’ says Prof. Pam Palmater.

Protesters rallying in support of the Unist’ot’en camp blockade in B.C. demonstrate inside the John G. Diefenbaker Building in Ottawa on Jan. 8, prompting a change of venue for a planned appearance by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

Protest actions, like the ones that spread across the country and internationally in support of the Unist’ot’en camp in northern British Columbia this month, may not sway the hearts and minds of the general electorate about the government’s record on Indigenous issues come election day, says a pollster. But according to experts and First Nations leaders, the police and government response in the face of opposition to pipeline construction in Wet’suwet’en territory is just the latest example of a Liberal government that’s long on rhetoric about its relationship with Indigenous people, but short on follow-through.

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