RCMP enforcing gas pipeline construction


in Canada, Economics, Politics, The environment

In British Columbia, the Unist’ot’en Camp has been operating for years to try to keep fossil fuel pipelines out of the traditional territory of the Wet’suwet’en Nation.

Anticipating RCMP enforcement of a court order to allow access for the construction of the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline to Kitimat, the Gidimt’en checkpoint was more recently established to protect unceded lands from pipeline construction.

That checkpoint has now been demolished with 14 arrests.

The Unist’ot’en Camp may be the next target for police action.

Rallies in support of the Wet’suwet’en have taken place in a number of Canadian cities, including Toronto, with more being planned.

All this highlights at least three major contradictions. The British Columbia government is trying to be a climate leader, while also trying to develop a liquified natural gas (LNG) industry which may cause more climate damage than coal once leakage from fracking and the rest of the gas network is taken into account. Canada is also simultaneously trying to develop fossil fuel export infrastructure while trying to play a productive role in global decarbonization. Thirdly, the Trudeau government is trying to undertake reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous peoples, while simultaneously being willing to use the power of the state to force fossil fuel project construction in spite of Indigenous opposition.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

. January 8, 2019 at 4:06 pm

The Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) protocol used by the Unist’ot’en is a request of permission to enter the lands of the traditional chiefs and matriarchs. Visitors are asked to identify themselves and their relationship to the hosts, as our ancestors did. Like a border crossing, the protocol questions make Unist’ot’en land a safe place. FPIC ensures peace and security on the territory.

In ancient times and even today in canoe journeys, and community resistance building gatherings, there exist Protocols where visiting peoples have shown who they are in relation to asking permission to enter the Traditional Lands from the Traditional Chiefs and Matriarchs of the hosting lands.

This is a living breathing assertion of the Traditional Laws of the Wet’suwet’en, which have been asserted via protocols like this on the lands for thousands of years, and renewed by today’s sovereigntists.

Free Prior and Informed Consent is now also written into the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

Alena Prazak January 9, 2019 at 1:47 am

Using violence to enforce a court order in favour of the pipeline hardly seems like a firm of reconciliation. To me it seems oppressive and humiliating. I expect better from Canadian leaders and especially our courts. A very disappointing day indeed.

Milan January 9, 2019 at 3:47 pm

Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier Horgan still think expanding the fossil fuel industry is acceptable public policy, and Canada’s whole political and legal system has long maintained natural resource extraction as a top priority.

A lot of the opposition to fossil fuel development has been motivated by the desire to protect particular places from spills, pipelines, and extraction projects like bitumen mines and fracking. It seems to be a lot harder for people to accept the long-term global position that it’s the proper functioning of fossil fuel projects that really endangers us.

anon January 9, 2019 at 4:22 pm

Isn’t this perspective the epitome of using indigenous people only as a legal convenience? Saying they’re opposing projects for the wrong reasons, and that the right course of action has nothing to do with what they decide?

. January 15, 2019 at 1:26 pm

Why the RCMP may not be a neutral player in the Wet’suwet’en anti-pipeline dispute

Criminologist Jeffrey Monaghan says the RCMP has an enduring bias against Indigenous social movements

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