ALERT UPDATE 10. February 2020: RCMP Have landed armed tactical teams behind the Unist'ot'en Village and other officers are approaching the gate from the other side. Arrests are being made now. LIVE UPDATES - ALL EYES ON UNIST’OT’EN #SHUTDOWNCANADA
UPDATE 09. February 2020: BOYCOTT, DIVEST and SIDELINE Justin Trudeau and the Canadian delegation attending the 33rd African Union (AU) Summit - they only represent the post/neo-colonial settler-governance of Kanata. There is not a single Canadian mining project the world over, where the local people do not suffer. BEWARE OF ANY DEAL! - just walk away from the Canadians! RCMP Invasion on Unist’ot’en Territory – URGENT Updates Feb 9, 2020
PROLOGUE: The British Crown - represented by Queen Elizabeth II. - and as Head of Commonwealth also Head of State of Canada is together with her lackey Justin Trudeau committing the war-crime of waging an armed war of aggression against people of a different Nation living in peace on their own, unceded territory.
Lots of RCMP officers descend from helicopters near Gidimt'en Checkpoint on traditional Wet'suwet'en territory - MUST WATCH
One of B.C.'s best-known Indigenous leaders has heartily condemned the B.C. RCMP's enforcement of a B.C. Supreme Court injunction on traditional and unceded land of the Wet'suwet'en people.
Under the cover of darkness early in the morning, heavily armed Mounties arrested several people at a supply camp at the 39-mile point along the Morice West Forest Service Road in northern B.C.
According to the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, this "senseless violence" occurred under the watch of the B.C. and federal governments.
"We are in absolute outrage and a state of painful anguish as we witness the Wet’suwet’en people having their title and rights brutally trampled on and their right to self-determination denied," UBCIC's president, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, said in a statement. "Forcing Indigenous peoples off their own territory is in complete and disgusting violation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which the Horgan government recently committed to uphold through Bill 41, and which the Trudeau government has also committed to uphold through yet to be introduced legislation.
"Indigenous rights are human rights and they cannot be ignored or sidestepped for any reason in the world, and certainly not for an economic interest," Phillip continued. "We call on the RCMP to immediately stand down, and we call on the Crown to immediately take responsibility for ending this violence.”
Coastal GasLink Pipeline Ltd. obtained the civil injunction so it can proceed with its $6.6-billion, 670-kilometre project, which will bring fracked natural gas from northeastern B.C. to an LNG Canada plant in Kitimat.
UBCIC secretary-treasurer Kukpi7 Judy Wilson said that her organization rejects "the insulting notion that the Crown and RCMP did everything they could to prevent this".
"There are always options that can be taken by the Crown," she said. "It is never an option to have a pipeline go through the territory of the proper title and rights holders who have not provided their consent.
"Premier Horgan, we have to ask, why didn’t you just go meet with the Hereditary Chiefs when you were invited, and stop this from happening? No schedule is too busy to accommodate a meeting that could have had major impacts on preventing the violence we are all now witnessing.”
The president of Coastal GasLink Pipeline Ltd., David Pfeiffer, stated in an open letter that he found it "disappointing" that Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs sought to have the company's legal permits revoked by the B.C. government.
"We are grateful to the province for their commitment to our project and for their respect for the six years of exceptional effort expended to achieve not only our permits but also the support of our 20 partner Indigenous communities, local communities and the public who recognize the benefits our project will deliver," Pfeiffer wrote.
He also stated that the RCMP action "is not the outcome we wanted".
However, Chief Don Tom, vice president of the UBCIC, said that using armed force to remove Indigenous people from their unceded and traditional territories against their will is "colonialism in all of its ugliness and hypocrisy".
"We are humbled and inspired by the resolute and unwavering commitment of the Wet’suwet’en people to defend their territories from a resource extraction project that will have dire impacts on their lands and waters and accelerate climate change," Tom stated. "I repeat the wise words of Na’Moks, hereditary chief of the Wet’suwet’en, who stated ‘we remain peaceful and respectful because we are on the right side of history.' "
National chief calls for dialogue
Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde issued the following statement:
"I am urging peace and I condemn any acts of violence in enforcing the injunction brought against the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and their supporters. The use of force against peaceful people is a violation of human rights and First Nations’ rights. The RCMP is sworn to uphold Canada’s law, but Canada must respect First Nations laws and Wet’suwet’en laws. Canada’s highest law – the Constitution – affirms in section 35 the inherent rights of First Nations and our right to self-determination.
"We will never achieve reconciliation through force. If this is really about the ‘rule of law’ then governments should be honouring the rights and title of First Nations in their traditional territories. The only way to resolve this is open dialogue amongst all parties, including dialogue with and within the Wet’suwet’en Nation. Going forward, we need to work at implementing First Nations laws as equal to common law and civil law.
"The AFN supports the governance and decision-making process of the Wet’suwet’en leaders. Canada and B.C. should do the same.”
- Molly Wickham, whose Indigenous name is Sleydo', has issued a call to action as armed Mounties arrived to enforce a court injunction. CARLA LEWIS PHOTOGRAPHY/WET'SUWET'EN ACCESS POINT
Molly Wickham, a.k.a. Sleydo', has been an articulate spokesperson for Wet'suwet'en Nation members and their allies who are fighting the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
She was also among 14 people arrested on January 7, 2019, when heavily armed Mounties enforced a B.C. Supreme Court injunction at the Gidimt'en Checkpoint.
This morning as the RCMP began arresting people to once again enforce the injunction—obtained by Coastal GasLink—Wickham delivered a stirring commentary on Facebook urging allies to come to the Morice West Forest Service Road on unceded Wet'suwet'en territory to witness what was taking place.
"It's time to rise up," Wickham said. "It's time to stand up for all Indigenous people all across Turtle Island. It's time to make it known that Indigeous people will not be oppressed any longer—that the RCMP can't come in and remove us from our territories, that they have no legitimacy on stolen Indigenous land.
"And we have a right and a responsibility to be protecting our territory, to be protecting our water, to be protecting our future generations," she continued. "The state—so-called Canada, so-called B.C.—they have no jurisdiction on Wet'suwet'en land. The RCMP has no jurisdiction on Wet'suwet'en land.
"They're invading our people again, starting in the wee hours of the morning, arresting people who have been providing food and medical supplies to our camps, who are camped out along the side of the road doing amazing and righteous work. And right now, they're being arrested and they're being removed."
Transcript of Molly Wickham's statement
"It’s 5 o’clock in the morning here and we got word at about 3 in the morning 13 RCMP officers went up to past 27 and are headed to 39. And then about two minutes we were informed they had made their first arrest at 39 kilometres at the support camp where nobody is in violation of the injunction and are just there to witness what’s going to be happening on the territory today—what people are doing and what the RCMP activity is there.
"So they’re starting to clear out that camp, arresting people that aren’t in violating any injunction—that are following Wet’suwet’en law, that are guests on our territory. Guests there on our territory. Indigenous people and nonindigenous people out in the dark here at 5 in the morning out on the territory.
"So we’re calling all of our supporters, all of our people, to get ready, get prepared, get here as soon as you can.
"Come to the territory, to the Morice River Forest Service Road. Come watch what’s happening. Come support us.
"Anybody who can’t get here, it’s time to rise up. It’s time to stand up for all Indigenous people all across Turtle Island. It’s time to make it known that Indigenous people will not be oppressed any longer—that the RCMP can’t come in and remove us from our territories, that they have no legitimacy on stolen Indigenous land.
"And that we have a right and a responsibility to be protecting our territory. To be protecting our water. To be protecting our future generations.
"The state—so-called Canada, so-called B.C.—they have no jurisdiction on Wet’suwet’en land. The RCMP have no jurisdiction on Wet’suwet’en land. They’re invading our people again. starting in the wee hours of the morning, arresting people who have been providing food and medical supplies to our camps, who are camped out along the side of the ride doing amazing and righteous work. And right now, they’re being arrested and they’re being removed.
"So wherever you are, everybody who stands with us, we need you now. We need you to take a stand where you are.
"Stand up and fight back against this kind of oppression, against our people, against our territories. If you’re nearby and you’re close, come to us. Come to territory and be with us and witness what’s going to be happening today and over the next several days.
"I am going to provide another update as soon as I get another update.
"And light your sacred fires. We need your prayers. We need you to call on your ancestors and call on all the ancestors that every fought and stood up for their territory—everybody who ever fought and stood up for their children and their land and their people. That we could here today still fighting. And that we’ll be here today and tomorrow and forever, still fighting.
"And we’ll never, ever, ever give up."
1/2 URGENT UPDATE from Molly Wickham at Wet'suwet'en Access Point on Gidimt'en Territory as the RCMP raid was getting started
ALL EYES ON WETSUWETEN TERRITORY!#WetsuwetenStrong
2/2 URGENT UPDATE from Molly Wickham at Wet'suwet'en Access Point on Gidimt'en Territory as the RCMP raid was getting started
ALL EYES ON WETSUWETEN TERRITORY!#WetsuwetenStrong
The B.C. RCMP has issued a statement saying an "exclusion zone" was created on January 13 "to prevent further escalation of the situation and to mitigate safety concerns over hazardous items placed on the roadway".
It's now a full exclusion zone.
"As of February 6, 2020, the RCMP will not allow access to anyone who is not part of the enforcement team, with some exceptions for Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and Elected Council members by arrangement with the Senior Commander," the RCMP stated. "The exclusion zone's purpose is to temporarily create an area where police and Coastal GasLink work can safely operate to deploy heavy machinery and equipment needed to clear hazards and re-establish access as intended by the Court."
The Gidimt'en Checkpoint Twitter feed has reported that Wickham has been prevented from travelling to the arrest site.
Livestream from this morning outside 44 as RCMP agents stream by in a convoy after denying Gidimt'en heriditary chief Sleydo (Molly Wickham) from accessing her own territory. (pt 1/3)#WetsuwetenStrong #DefendtheYintah #YintahAccess #WouldYouShootMeToo #NoPipelines
Wet’suwet’en Raids: Canada Chooses Colonialism Again
A future of reconciliation is now squandered along with our billions propping up LNG.
By Andrew Nikiforuk - 06. February 2020
It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.
— Albert Camus
Whenever Canada has a chance to depart from its brutal colonial past with First Nations, it automatically lapses into bad habits.
On Thursday, the RCMP and the Canadian state came to a moral crossroads on a snowy country road and looked briefly down a pathway to reconciliation. Then it said, “Fuck It.”
A highly militarized police presence once again used force against Wet’suwet’en protestors blocking the construction of a $6.6-billion methane pipeline needed to feed a grossly uneconomic $40-billion liquefied natural gas project.
In so doing the police made a mockery of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
It is not a complicated document. As criminologist Jeff Monaghan notes, the declaration expects “that conflicts like this will not be resolved violently or militarily but with negotiated solutions. The document directs us to do peaceful negotiated solutions that respect everyone’s rights, and equally.”
That didn’t happen.
As reliable agents of the Canadian state and defenders of resource extraction, the RCMP let it be known that the Trudeau government puts highly subsidized methane projects ahead of reconciliation and UN declarations.
Let’s be clear: in Canada, low-priced natural gas matters more than unresolved land claims.
By implication the government also told the nation that it puts uneconomic LNG projects ahead of climate change, given that serious methane leaks from the shale gas industry are now accelerating that chaos.
It, too, advances LNG ahead of the destruction of the arable lands and First Nations treaty rights in Peace River.
In that precious part of B.C., the shale gas industry continues to frack, industrialize and fragment that landscape with impunity, because only rural people live there, after all.
The hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation are not asking for much: they want Indigenous rights and title respected and acknowledged by the B.C. and Canadian governments.
The chiefs tried to negotiate with the B.C. government over the recent enforcement of a court injunction but got nowhere with Premier John Horgan.
The recent negotiations predictably failed for an obvious reason: the B.C. government has become a salesman for LNG at home and abroad.
The shale gas industry has secured better representation in the B.C. government than ordinary citizens who actually pay taxes.
But what about the 20 First Nations that have signed on to the project, you might ask?
Yes, they signed and the negotiations were colonial. It was sign or get nothing. Many nations signed under severe constraints. Nor were they presented with economic alternatives.
As legal scholar and expert in Indigenous rights Dayna Scott has noted, Indigenous leaders are faced with a “false choice. They’re being asked to choose whether or not they want to sign a deal and get some benefits for their people for a pipeline that’s going to go through whether or not they agree to it.”
Now consider the position of Hereditary Chief Na’Moks (John Ridsdale). He is not willing to settle for mutual benefit agreements or the modern equivalent of beads and trinkets:
“They wanted access to the land, and we said you’re not getting access, you’ll never get approval, not from the hereditary chiefs and not from our people.” A colonial mind, however, can’t fathom such arguments, because it still refuses to come to terms with the nation’s dirty past.
For the most part Canadians remain an arrogant mining people with little regard for the truths of our colonial history. Most still think we have nothing to acknowledge, let alone make amends for.
These deniers or doubters should read the indomitable Bev Sellars, former chief and councillor of the Xat’sull (Soda Creek) First Nation in Williams Lake. Her searing book, Price Paid, presents the issue of reconciliation in a clear and telling metaphor.
Imagine you owned a nice home. Then you graciously shared it with a bunch of white guests from across the seas. Without even saying thanks, these guests took over more and more rooms in the house. Soon they imposed their own laws and even banned the owner’s original customs. Eventually the invaders kicked out the original owners and left them to die.
Until every Canadian can visualize that colonial abuse, until all of us can feel that in our guts, there will be no reconciliation in this country.
Those still unconvinced by Sellars’ metaphor should pick up James Daschuk’s brilliant Clearing the Plains.
We all know that the American government thought they could murder Indians into submission. The Canadian government took a different approach: it pursued a policy of planned relocation, starvation and disease. Indian agents stole funds and raped Indigenous women. Anyone who resisted was hanged. Then came residential schools.
The Canadian state’s willingness to ignore reconciliation is even more galling when you consider its colonial defence of the preposterous economics of LNG and fracked gas in northern B.C.
In Canada, LNG development has become an absurd Soviet engine that ignores costs and environmental damages.
But being Canadian, it drapes itself with the plastic word “responsible.”
“Responsible” subsidies for the foreign-funded LNG industry now include low royalties; nearly $1 billion worth of royalty credits; discounted electricity prices; reduced corporate income taxes; free water for fracking; reduced carbon taxes and the deferral of provincial sales taxes during construction. The Canadian government even invested $275 million in LNG Canada!
These subsidies, however, still can’t make LNG economic. In 2018 the Canadian Energy Research Institute examined the economics of LNG.
It concluded that Western Canada LNG would be $1 to $3 more expensive than the current spot price in Japan of $8 per million (BTU) and needed more subsidies and tax credits.
CERI then calculated what the LNG industry would need in terms of future prices to remain economically viable: a market price of $8.99 per million BTU or higher in Asia to break even. Or an oil price of approximately $80 or higher to break even under long-term LNG contracts.
Those conditions don’t exist and show no signs of coming into being.
A global LNG supply glut has collapsed prices in Asia to as low as $5.5 per million BTU in Japan and India. Analysts say the glut could last years.
Meanwhile oil prices, which influence LNG pricing, remain in the doldrums.
Unless the Canadian and B.C. governments are prepared to give away LNG, neither Coastal GasLink nor LNG Canada are economic at this point in time.
These appalling economics explain why Chevron pulled out of the Kitimat LNG project last fall. At the same time, Chevron wrote off $11 billion in underperforming shale gas assets in Appalachia due to low prices and overproduction.
Throughout North America’s oil patch, the shale boom has collapsed as more companies go bankrupt and investors refuse to loan more money to companies whose costs exceed their revenue.
Given the volatility of commodity prices, reconciliation should come first.
Even if there was a decent economic case to be made for LNG (and there isn’t), the indecency of our past morally demands that we do the right thing, and respect Aboriginal title.
And let’s not strut like peacocks and talk about the rule of law as Horgan has done.
In Alberta, oil and gas companies now break the law every day. They owe $172 million in taxes to rural municipalities and millions more to landowners for unpaid surface leases.
Does Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrest the offending white collar criminals and charge them with breaking civil contracts? No. He actively excuses their behaviour.
So there is one rule of law in Canada for insolvent resource extractors, and another law for First Nations, rural municipalities and landowners.
Fortunately, the Wet’suwet’en respect laws that are thousands of years old.
They plan on upholding them.
So should we.