** updated at the bottom
Article 10 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states: Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option of return.
On November 19th, 2019,every party stood in the legislature to applaud as the BC government adopted legislation to implement and align BC’s laws with UNDRIP.
This….is not that.
One month ago today I, along with many others, publicly called for all eyes on Wet’suwet’en in this blog post detailing the ongoing impasse: https://lailayuile.com/2020/01/07/all-eyes-on-wetsuweten/
In this post I explain how the Delgamuukw/Gisday’wa Supreme Court decision made in 1997, acknowledged Indigenous rights and title where no treaty had been signed.
The Delgamuukw case was framed around traditional hereditary leadership.(currently several Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs do not consent to Coastal Gaslinks pipeline on the territory)
Delgamuukw is a chief’s name in the Gitxsan Nation, passed down through generations, and Delgamuukw was one of dozens of plaintiffs in the case, composed of hereditary chiefs from both the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en Nations.
The lands in question in that landmark case, are the same lands in which these screen captures were taken from a live stream publicly aired today during the ongoing RCMP enforcement of the injunction.
Solidarity rally’s and demonstrations have sprung up all over Canada at times shutting down the Vancouver Port, and rail lines back east.
The BC Ndp caucus response has largely been to pretend it’s not happening and scheduled two major press conferences two days in a row to distract press and public when the RCMP injunction enforcement began. (Very little news mainstream coverage was dedicated to the enforcement itself, press didnt seem to get interested until they too were blocked from entry to the legislature)
As I write this, I’m unsure of the status of what’s going on, my info is gleaned from public facebook pages, and the feeds of Ricochet media and Unist’ot’en camp itself, online. There have been arrests today but gate occupants have been peaceful and have asserted many times they have no weapons.
It appears though now, that RCMP have been blocked inside the exclusion zone as detailed by this reporter.
Premier Horgan made a grave error I believe, not in implementing the UNDRIP legislation, but in then declaring it is forward looking only and doesn’t apply to this project or any other underway.
You cannot have it both ways when some of the hereditary chiefs whose rights and title on this territory has been acknowledged by the Supreme Court of Canada….are now at the mercy of a BC court ordering them not to impede the pipeline work. On their own territory where permits are still under review!
This is not going to go away, nor should the NDP caucus expect it to.
And it sets an alarming tone in trying to move forward when the expectation is Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who are still opposed, are not important enough to consider as the ones in favour, and a peaceful resolution to government actually just means they agree to allow the pipeline.
Let me state clearly now, that I oppose the expansion of LNG in BC, along with the LNG Canada project. I always have, long before the NDP took power.
I don’t support this pipeline.
I will continue to write about the folly of such focused dedication to this lng industry. I have detailed the faulty economics and environmental issues here so many times, supported by lng future price forecasts in my most recent post. I even detailed how the seeds for another glut of LNG hitting the market right when LNG Canada opens, are being sown right now..I don’t think this entire project will even be economically feasible when it’s done… if it is even completed: https://lailayuile.com/2020/01/29/lng-lobbyists-policy-why-big-money-is-still-a-very-big-problem-in-bc-politics/
But I can only think of what is happening of the Wet’suwet’en who are opposed , some of whom have high powered tactical rifles pointed at them and their supporters, and how to resolve it.
This government is all in on LNG. They will not stop the project or the pipeline.
Several Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs want RCMP and Coastal Gaslink to leave forever.
I believe further talks between the two will be fruitless, personally.
However, early last year,then MP Nathan Cullen suggested an alternate route be taken by Coastal Gaslink around Wet’suwet’en territory.
Coastal has already moved a small portion of this pipeline once ( the approved southern route) so clearly it can be done.
Coastal does not want to change the route, but I also know Coastal doesn’t want any more issues. They avoided even discussing further alternate routes with the reporter in the link above.
Instead of sending Cullen to meet with hereditary chiefs knowing full well they will not leave or be bought off, premier Horgan should have called Coastal Gaslink to his table. And it can still be done.
Premier Horgan, you are on the wrong side of history on this issue. Even the BC Federation of Labour is calling for removal of RCMP and new discussions as of an hour ago. https://bcfed.ca/news/statements/bc-federation-labour-statement-situation-wet%E2%80%99suwet%E2%80%99en-territory
You implemented legislation to right wrongs of the past and create a new path forward. Ignoring the SCOC court acknowledged title and rights of the hereditary chiefs is not in the spirit of implementing UNDRIP.
I urge you to immediately call on Coastal Gaslink to use another route. They will whine. They will make excuses why they can’t. But you are the premier and you have an opportunity here to back up your big talk on reconciliation.
The Wet’suwet’en territory will be left untouched.
You will have your economically unviable pipeline.
The nations who have signed agreements must have their deals and benefits protected.
And it will show that you too can reconsider that it is not too late to right a wrong underway. That is what leadership is all about.
I call on all who support Wet’suwet’en, to join me in this call for Premier Horgan to call on Coastal Gaslink to use an alternate route.
Call, email, share online. Those with access to the premier, please use your position to urge him to act now.
*This video was shared with me online. The background:
” It was written and recorded on unceded Sinixt tum-ula7xw in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs protecting their lands. This song is addressing John Horgan, David Eby, RCMP, Coastal Gas Link, TC energy and all others involved in this oppression. We invite you to sit down and listen. This is an appeal for you to really ask yourselves if you feel good about invading Indigenous lands and ripping people from their territories. Is this the legacy you want to leave? Is this the best contribution to the world that you’re capable of making? Will your grandchildren be proud of you?
*** UPDATE Feb 16th, 2020***
Andrew Kurjata of CBC did some digging into alternate routes. His twitter thread detailing how and what he researched is here:
And his article is here : https://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.5464945?__vfz=medium%3Dsharebar&__twitter_impression=true
Yep. I was right again. They can reroute. They just dont want to.
” To change the route to avoid Wet’suwet’en territory at this date would require major environmental assessment work, which would not be feasible under the timelines to which we have committed….”
Coastal Gaslink does not run this province. The government is beyond ridiculous trying to get Wet’suwet’en to agree to let the pipeline through instead of telling Coastal Gaslink to reroute. That this government just sided with the company is appalling.
Horgan and Trudeau need to tell Coastal to reroute.
*** update Feb 16, 10 pm.
A significant development..
The Mohawk leader tehonikonrathe says the CN blockade will continue for some time until the Wetsuweten Hereditary Chiefs let them know they have negotiated an agreement or otherwise state they do not need their support.
A very well spoken man. And seemingly a historic moment.