Science for Peace is shocked by last week’s RCMP raid on Wet’suwet’en territory, lands that have never been ceded to Canada and that support an Indigenous nation and culture with a governance structure thousands of years old. We hold that the court injunction favouring Coastal Gas’s pipeline construction, which is the rationale for the militarized and terrifying RCMP attack on Gidimt’en camps, has far less legal legitimacy than the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, which both the B.C. and federal government purport to uphold, and which is being appallingly by-passed.
Amidst a so-called national Truth and Reconciliation project, this attack on Indigenous people non-violently occupying their own territories is both shameful, and a monumental block to any just resolution of Canada’s horrendous colonial past. We are aware that 20 First Nation band councils have agreed to sign on to Coastal Gas’s multibillion attempt to move fracked gas to Asia, including some Wet’suwet’en councils outside the framework of the ancient hereditary chief structure, but we insist there can be no resolution to this internal divide at the point of RCMP assault rifles.
We are also astounded that in the midst of the alarming emergencies afflicting B.C. – lethal heat, fire, flood – climate tragedies all – that the NDP government would sink millions, not to mention its reputation, into such a dangerous and carbon-intensive fossil fuel endeavour, one that threatens its own people and indeed the world. In this sense, the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their followers, in defending their sovereignty against Coastal Gas with their camps and blockades are rendering a service to all Canadians and the planet beyond.
Science for Peace joins with United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in demanding that the B.C. government immediately halt construction and suspend all permits and approvals for the construction of the Coastal Gas Link pipeline in the traditional and unceded lands of the Wet’suwet’en people, until they grant their free, prior and informed consent. We concur with Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, which argues that Canada’s failure to comply with the UN Committee’s urgings puts it in breach of its International Human Rights Legal obligations.
And we support the call of many hundreds of other Canadian organizations for the immediate evacuation of the RCMP from Wet’suwet’en land.