Filed under: Action, British Columbia, Indigenous, Solidarity
Supporters respond to the International Call for Action by blockading Highway 17 and preventing the morning sailings of BC Ferries, in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en sovereignty and in opposition to the threat of a violent RCMP invasion.
Swartz Bay, BC (Tseycum Territory) — In response to the recent call from the Wet’suwet’en for solidarity actions that “shut down rail lines, ports, and industrial infrastructure” this action has targeted BC Ferries because of the corporation’s deepening integration with the Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) industry. BC Ferries has proposed ‘upgrades’ to two of its ferries that will make them reliant on the very product that Coastal GasLink (CGL) threatens to bring through Wet’suwet’en territory. We emphasize that provincial infrastructure cannot be built or maintained through the colonization and destruction of the territories and waters that the Wet’suwet’en have governed since time immemorial.
In November, BC became the first province in Canada to adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). This Declaration requires that governments and industry acquire the “free, prior and informed consent” of Indigenous Nations prior to engaging in projects on their territories.
This month, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination issued a statement calling on the federal government to immediately cease work on the CGL pipeline, to withdraw the RCMP, and to prohibit the use of lethal weapons and force to evict the Wet’suwet’en peoples from their lands. The territories that CGL threatens fall within the jurisdiction of the Hereditary Chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en. Wet’suwet’en territory is untreatied, Canada has no legal basis for its jurisdiction over the territory, and the presence of paramilitary forces is an act of occupation.
Early in the morning on January 20, supporters of the Wet'suwet'en Nation blocked several BC Ferries at the Swartz Bay Terminal. The Wet'suwet'en are facing iminant violence from the RCMP, and their requests for nation-nation meetings have been denied.Several BC Ferries are powered by LNG, fracked gas from the same region that would be fed through the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline to supply the LNG Canada facility.This action was a response to the recent call from the Wet’suwet’en forsolidarity actions. Support the Wet'suwet'en Access Point on Gidimt'en Territory and Unist'ot'en Camp
Posted by Grassroots Rendering on Monday, January 20, 2020
Under their Nation’s sovereignty and authority the Hereditary Chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en issued an eviction notice on January 4th to CGL demanding that their staff and contractors leave the territory and cease all operations. They have also stated 5 clear demands including to “respect our laws and our governance system, and refrain from using any force to access our lands or remove our people.”
Given the violent actions of the RCMP during the January 7th, 2019 raid on the Gidimt’en Checkpoint and the recently uncovered documents demonstrating their authorization to “use as much violence toward the gate as [they] want” and to “sterilize [the] site,” international concern is growing that such violence will occur again. In making preparations to use “lethal overwatch” against peaceful land defenders the RCMP is continuing its long history of colonial violence.
On January 15th, a press conference was held where the BC Civil Liberties Association stressed that protections under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – particularly regarding limiting public media access – must not be taken lightly, and that the violation of such Charter rights must not be violated with ease at the discretion of the RCMP. BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) Treasurer Paul Finch also pointed out that the RCMP’s exclusionary checkpoint is not something that the public would accept if it were located anywhere else, as today’s demonstration undoubtedly reflects.