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Last week, the Kapawe’no First Nation in northern Alberta announced that up to 169 unmarked graves had been found near the site of a former residential school. This announcement brings the total graves confirmed by ground penetrating radar to around 2,325, out of a suspected estimate of over 6,000. Each one of these children that was taken too soon from the world must serve as a reminder of the devastating nature of colonization, white supremacy and empire. We hope this continuing horrible news can also strengthen our resolve to reconnect and rebuild the communities empires seek to erase.
A search using ground-penetrating radar (GPR) at the site of the St. Bernard’s Indian Residential School near Kapawe’no First Nation has turned up 169 possible unmarked graves.
— Lori Campbell🔶️ (@campbelllor) March 6, 2022
In this week’s column, we provide some updates on the legal situation for prominent “freedom” convoy organizers.
We also give an update on solidarity actions against RBC and updates from the Yintah following the massive sabotage of CGL equipment on February 17th.
Finally, we provide a small roundup of policing-related news from across so-called Canada.
The Convoys Dwindle and Face the State Legal System
Bail hearings for most of the prominent “freedom” convoy organizers have nearly wrapped up. Chris Barber was allowed bail but is not supposed to attend or encourage convoy events, while Pat King was denied bail. Among the reasons for that decision was surely the fact that after being ordered to surrender his firearms back in 2016 he went out and purchased another one, and continued to hold onto it after his license was revoked. Tamara Lich was also denied bail but has opened a review alleging bias from the judge since she was a liberal party candidate at one point. Tamara and Chris had the same presiding judge. Now Pat King is trying to fundraise money for his own bail review. It also seems Tamara was given a no contact order between her and other organizers but we were unable to confirm if that applies between all organizers listed or just her and the organizers listed.
An Ontario member of parliament has announced he will not be seeking re-election. Randy Hillier, a MP of 15 years that was removed from the Conservative party for comments even too racist for their public image, made the announcement on his social media. Hillier joined the convoy in Ottawa, posed for pictures with multiple fascists as well as made an appearance on an openly anti-Semitic live stream/podcast. He also posted a picture of jerry cans and artillery shells with the caption “let freedom ring” during the Ottawa occupation.
96. Randy Hillier, a friend of Jeremy MacKenzie and the Diagolon hate group, has also posted the leak including visible phone numbers. pic.twitter.com/5lgxUeOTSL
— Kurt Phillips🧛♂️ (@ARCCollective) February 20, 2022
In his announcement Hillier talked about Canadians awakening and uniting in an effort to repair the fabric of the nation. He also spoke of public institutions no longer serving the people and his return to “traditional grassroots activism.”
During the convoy hackers obtained two caches of information, one on GiveSendGo donors and the second being leaked emails from the account of the “adopt-a-trucker” campaign founder Chris Garrah. Analysis of the information has led to infographics distributed by social media showing the density of donations by postal code. The information has also led to the identification of a few cops that donated to the convoy. Preliminary analysis of the leaked emails has found that the organizers of the convoy to Ottawa had at least three different plans varying in legality and degree of impact on the city. It seems likely that Garrah’s emails contain more useful insights, however, it has been difficult to find any additional reporting on it at this point. To keep an eye out for further analysis, we’d recommend checking out Aric Toler’s twitter or Bellingcat.
As for the convoy movement itself, it remains unclear if it will continue and what they will do next. Protests and small convoys continue throughout the country, with the exception of a large one in Victoria, and old anti-mask movement leaders appear to be trying to hold bigger events.
Wet’suwet’en Updates: Night Demo Visits Home of RBC Quebec President, No Sabotage Arrests, Increased RCMP Presence on Yintah
On the evening of February 23rd, a festive night demo visited the Montreal home of RBC Quebec President Nadine Renaud-Tinker. In a communique that publicly shares her home address, the group explains:
While Indigenous land defenders and settler accomplices resist wave after wave of colonial assaults to defend the Wet’suwet’en Yintah and the Wedzin Kwa river, investors like RBC comfortably profit off of the ongoing genocide of First Peoples and the destruction of unceded land for capitalist extractivist projects. Let’s remember that the Royal Bank of KKKanada leads a group of 27 banks providing the 6.8 billion dollars needed to build the Coastal GasLink Pipeline. It has, since 2016, contributed more than 200 billion dollars to the fossil fuel industry.
Though it is neither possible nor desirable to recreate the cruelty financed by president Renaud-Tinker on Wet’suwet’en land, militants wished for her to also experience the feeling of seeing unwelcomed visitors at her doorstep. They stayed for more than an hour, chanting slogans and dancing to music. The energy was high and comrades didn’t shy away from expressing their dissatisfaction, before leaving safely.
Following the recent sabotage of a Coastal GasLink drill site, increased RCMP repression and surveillance is already being deployed on Wet’suwet’en territory, and our solidarity is more important than ever! Stay tuned, the fight continues! #AllOutForWedzinKwa
Last Wednesday night a crew of two dozen anticolonial militants paid a visit to RBC Quebec president Nadine Renaud-Tinker's home in a the bougie neighbourhood of Westmount in so-called Montreal. Check out their reportback here:https://t.co/2vCR73vFbv#AllOutForWedzinKwa pic.twitter.com/22e1Dh8KI8
— submedia (@submedia) March 1, 2022
On Gidimt’en Yintah, RCMP and private security have been maintaining an increased presence following the February 17th sabotage of millions of dollars of CGL equipment at their drill site on the banks of Wedzin Kwa. Some report that heavily damaged machinery has begun to be transported off the territory. Despite police claims to have assigned 40 investigators to the case, happily no arrests have occurred more than 2 weeks after the action.
No statement of support for the action has come from Gidimt’en Checkpoint. However, the action has not been denounced either, despite immense public and state pressure. The scale of the financial damage done at the site is massive – initially estimated at $6 million. This damage amount is astronomical compared to most acts of sabotage carried out in Canadian history, and cops are frothing at the mouth to make arrests. Publicly supporting it could be very dangerous and complicated for groups on the ground on the Yintah.
May the mystery of the sabotage remain unsolved, and the fight against CGL continue.
Police Brutality and Intimidation Across So-Called Canada
The Media Co-op released its monthly report in police-involved deaths across so-called Canada this week, finding that at least nine people were killed by police or died through police actions in February 2022.
Of those, only one has been publicly identified: Latjor Tuel, a Black Sudanese man, who was shot and killed by Calgary police while in mental health crisis.
Following a meeting with Calgary Police, Latjor’s daughter released a statement online that read in part:
I would like to state categorically that I and my immediate family are not in the mindset or position to move forward. We are still in mourning and are in no position to forgive or forget. We await the conclusion of the investigations of the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team and will canvas all avenues to ensure that justice is served. I asked the Police Chief why my father was shot 4 times and left at the same spot to die in such an inhumane manner. Why was my father left at the same spot for hours… We are yet to receive reasonable responses to this injustice. My family were not satisfied with the results of the meeting, and were asked to leave before the meeting concluded with the leaders of the South Sudanese community and the Deputy Chief and other officers of the CPD.
About 50 people gathered for a solidarity rally held by the Council of South Sudanese Community of Manitoba at the Manitoba Legislative Building on March 5th.
In Edmonton, police came under scrutiny this week after an Edmonton City Councillor was investigated for ‘liking’ social media posts of “known critics” of the Edmonton Police. The investigation was prompted by a complaint from the president of the Edmonton Police Association, and included screenshots of tweets by those who they consider to “(misrepresent) facts about the EPS and its members.”
About 50 people gathered on the steps of the Manitoba Legislature on Saturday at a rally in memory of a Sudanese man killed by police in Calgary last month. https://t.co/gkYdHCugBI
— CBC Manitoba (@CBCManitoba) March 6, 2022
The result of the investigation was a dismissal of all allegations, and a ruling by Edmonton’s Integrity Commissioner that the complaint had been an attempt to intimidate the city councillor. Others were most struck, however, by the implication that Edmonton Police keep a list of known critics of their activities. Whether or not there is a concrete “list,” it is clear and unsurprising that Edmonton Police monitor the activity of those who are critical of their actions, and are willing to take steps to silence their critics.
The president of the Edmonton Police Association @AFPAElliott confirmed they maintain a list of "critics" of the EPS, and thinks that #yegcc councillors should be prohibited from interacting with "known critics".
They tried to silence @michaeljanz.
This is absolutely chilling. pic.twitter.com/rt87Jq7WA9
— Troy Pavlek (@troypavlek) February 28, 2022
Now being as good a time as ever to harness our rage against all forms of policing, it bears remembering that the International Day Against Police Brutality is coming up on March 15! See if an action is taking place in your city or plan your own!
Honour Their Names opens March 15 – Int'l Day Against Police Brutality! Art & organizing space hosted by #JusticeForJared with support from @BLM_Van, @defund604, @gallerygachet, @BCLawUnion, @pivotlegal, TORO & @VinesFestival.
Details: https://t.co/jTjWHsj52v#IDAPB #IDAPB2022 pic.twitter.com/Q1jXTAN88G
— Defund604Network (@defund604) February 25, 2022