Socialist Action condemns the outright violation by Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and BC’s NDP Premier John Horgan, of the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) rules in dealing with the indigenous peoples on resource development projects on Indigenous lands in BC. Those rules establish:
1. Self determination for indigenous peoples, including the absolute right to say NO to capitalist resource projects.
2. The right to Indigenous traditional forms of governance.
3. Control over their own lands and resources.
4. Control over waterways, railways, highways and pipelines on indigenous lands.
5. Freedom from state coercion, violence or invasion.
6. Freedom from the removal by force or otherwise of indigenous children.
In spite of their declared support for UNDRIP, Trudeau and Horgan have violated, or threatened to violate every single one of those provisions. Their policies continue the historic policy of intimidation, force, economic deprivation and imprisonment, to rob the wealth of indigenous lands for wealthy white capitalists at the expense of indigenous men, women and children. It is a vicious and utterly dishonourable history and it must stop NOW.
We further condemn both governments for supporting massive oil and gas infrastructure projects of the earth-killing oil cartel The Site C Dam and the Coastal GasLink pipeline are supported by both governments, and Trans Mountain pipeline by the Trudeau government. All of these will emit additional vast quantities of green house gases in B.C.
We note that the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination which monitors a convention to end racial discrimination, is calling for suspension of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Site C dam and Coastal Gaslink pipeline. Socialist Action supports that call and further, the cancellation of these deadly projects. No More GHG infrastructure.
The UN Committee wrote in December that it is concerned about the approval and construction of the three projects without the free, prior and informed consent of impacted Indigenous groups.
It also said it is disturbed by law enforcement’s “forced removal, disproportionate use of force, harassment and intimidation” and “escalating threat of violence” against Indigenous people.
Socialist Action agrees, and fully supports the brave resistance of the Indigenous peoples against these criminal projects. No cops or military on indigenous land!
A week ago, a B.C. court ordered the Wet’suwet’ en people not to come closer than 10 feet any workers building the Coastal GasLink pipeline on their land.
The ruling would result in the Wet’suwet’en people having fewer rights on their
own land than the (overwhelmingly white) gas line workers. This too violates UNDRIP rules. The hereditary chiefs have simply denied the right of the court to do any such thing.
Socialist Action fully supports their decision.
On Jan. 7, 2019, RCMP enforced an injunction ordering people to stop preventing Coastal GasLink workers from accessing a road and bridge. Fourteen people were arrested.
The project builders say they’ve negotiated benefit agreements with many of these bands. But such agreements are with Band Councils created by the Indian Act, a white man’s law. It is to these councils that the settler governments dole out grants, making the councils beholden to the white settler governments’ inadequate financial grants, and subject to capitalist manipulation and implied threats.
The hereditary chiefs, who according to the tradition of the Indigenous peoples are the true keepers of the land, were not included . This too violates the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) which Canada supported but has yet to enact. UNDRIP states the Indigenous peoples are entitled to practice their traditional forms of governance.
In the context of last year’s RCMP attack, and the recent BC court injunction, Horgan’s statement yesterday that the pipeline will proceed on schedule, insisting on “the rule of (capitalist ) law” and the RCMP exclusion of the press from the indigenous blackade area, the Wet’suwet’en anxiously await the cops’ response. They have declared they are peaceful and unarmed and call on the police not to use weapons or force
A recent report by the British newspaper, The Guardian, indicated that during the RCMP assault on the Wet’suweta’en blockade a year ago, snipers had been deployed, ready to open fire on the unarmed Indigenous protesters trying to defend their own land. The paper also reported that the RCMP had discussed seizing Indigenous children and turning them over to state welfare agencies, specifically prohibited by UNDRIP, but practised for decades until recently in Canada.
A major show of support occurred on January 11 in downtown Vancouver for Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their supporters.
“I think we’re all very confident in our position,” a Wet’suwet’en psychologist told Global News.
“We have been given clear direction from our hereditary chiefs that we are to uphold our Wet’suwet’en law. They are the title holders of these lands, so until they give any express consent or permission we won’t allow trespassers back into the land.
“I think people are definitely uneasy about the potential for violence,” she said. “We are non-violent in our occupation of our territory, we are unarmed. We are simply upholding our rights and titles to these lands.
The world is watching,” she said. “This is Canada and B.C.’s chance to do the right thing and really work to rectify that relationship.
“We will not tolerate any kind of aggression against our elders, against our knowledge keepers, against our sacred people,” Grand Chief Stewart Philip with the Union of BC Indian Chiefs told the crowd.
“We need to be vigilant, we need to stay in close contact with the Wet’suwet’en people on the front lines.
David Suzuki, who attended rallies following the RCMP operation last January, said the Wet’suwet’en’s fight is part of a larger battle taking place in Canada.
“What is going on now is a battle against corporations and the capitalist system, where they are determined to extract every bit out of this planet, regardless of what the consequences are,” he told the crowd.
“How the hell have we gotten into this mess?”
Socialist Action calls for:
1. “SELF DETERMINATION FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES IN CANADA. Self- determination includes the right to say NO.
2. Complete indigenous control over their resources,
3. Complete indigenous control over their means of self governance, including following the leadership of the hereditary chiefs,
4. No police or other armed forces of the Canadian state on indigenous lands.
5. Full control by Indigenous people over access to their land and resources.
6. End the jurisdiction of capitalist courts on indigenous lands.
7. Stop these massive hydrocarbon infrastructure projects.
8. Build clean energy infrastructure, including full respect for UNDRIP rights where indigenous peoples are potentially involved.
9. Nationalize all hydrocarbon companies and properties in Canada and convert their tools, equipment and resources to green energy generation as rapidly as possible.
Contact Socialist Action in BC
250 589 3650 mobile Garyporter24@gmail.com